My lover wants to gut me.
“Let me go,” he breathes, voice tempered steel. Iron on the edge of bending. “Just one arm. Then run. I won’t hurt you. I’ll stay put and you can–”
“No,” I say and run my hand over the springy black curls low on his stomach, just above the hem of his jeans. I need more of him. I need to know more. “No, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here.”
I meet my love as beasts on the road.
Not singular–beasts, unnameable writhing things, all teeth and snarling and rubescent eyes. I’m on my way to my night shift when my headlights scrape up a horde of quadruped bodies, a tangled mass writhing around something beneath the back of a truck like a mating ball. Too big to be dogs, too small and numerous to be grizzlies. The harsh white lights catch a myriad of eyes and light them self-luminous red. The multitude and color startles me to press on my brakes, swerve onto the shoulder. But when I look back, the squirming sprawl is gone. Where they were, a man stands, peeling a buck off the misty highway road. From my vantage, I see another flash of red, a microscopic ember. I knuckle my sleep-deprived eyes and wonder if he’s bleeding; that’s what the red must have been.
I get out, use my phone’s flash to walk over to the driver. There’s no traffic this late at night besides me heading into town and maybe one or two people heading back home for the night. “Hey, you ok?” I ask. I track the light up from in front of me to the buck. It’s a mess of meat and tattered hide but puffs of air blow from his open mouth. I move my light up, just below the man’s neck so I don’t blind him. “Damn. Didn’t go through the windshield, did it?”
He’s heavyset, muscular if the stretch of his work jeans means anything. Under his gray-green utility jacket, the beige henley pulls across his pecs. A good head and shoulders taller than me. He’s got the buck by the hide between its shoulders and a hand fisted around its white tail. It’s still kicking but weakly as he lifts it into the bed of his truck. I’m so distracted by the sheer shape of the man, I almost miss the patch on his jacket: park ranger.
“Didn’t hit it,” he grunts. “Just moving it.”
The buck makes a sort of wheezing bleat as it shifts in the truck bed, panicked and in pain. I wonder why he wouldn’t kill it first before loading it. It’s not going to live and its not salvageable as meat. He slams the tailgate shut, cutting off my view of the creature.
“I didn’t know we had rangers out here.” I squint to see if there’s a name tag on his jacket but can’t see anything with how he’s turned. We live in a nowhere town at the edge of a national preserve. Forest, rivers, mountain terrain. Pretty but not enough to get us visitors. Didn’t know it warranted a ranger.
“New post,” he says, hands on the top of the tail gate. He’s still, watching me.
“Ah. You must not live in town then. I haven’t seen you there.” I angle my phone light up to see his face. It’s as I expected: hard, chiseled features sharpened by a trimmed beard. Age has touched his face in small ways, wrinkling the corner of his eyes, forming a divot where his jaw flexes. The texture of his skin looks grainy, freckled by too much sun. The most striking feature is the scar that makes a u-shape from the corner of his jaw, across his mouth and down his neck. The tissue rises near his Adam’s apple and, for a warm moment, I imagine putting my mouth on it, feeling the stringy tension of his neck muscles and that long scar under my tongue.
“Ranger cabin’s up the Blue Veil trail.”
“Oh. Cool.” I clear my throat, pushing out a puff of steam into the cold air. A good ten miles into the preserve. I didn’t even know there was a cabin out there. I point my light down when I see the red in his eyes begin to flare.
“Why are you out so late.”
“Work. Night shift.”
“You work nights even if you’re in school.”
I squint an eye at him. I know I look young so it’s no surprise he thinks I should have a curfew. “I’ve been outta school for awhile.”
A grunt, unconvinced.
I look him up and down, turning my body to head back to my car. “Thought you might be hurt but I’m glad I was wrong.”
“Why would you think that.” None of his questions sound like questions, no inflections at their ends.
I take a step back, scratch my brow. “You…I thought you had some blood on you is all.” I tap the corner of my eye. “I think it was just your eyes.”
He stares at me in the darkness, the brakelights barely catching his contours. “Cataracts.” The strangeness of the answer doesn’t have a chance to settle because he steps towards me all of sudden, making my hair stand up on end. Then he turns, heading for the driver-side door. “Have a good night.”
He drives off before I manage to walk back to my car. In the moonlight, the buck’s rack rises and falls in the truck bed and it tries and fails to stand. The slow death fades into the evening fog and when the rear lights finally vanish, a new cold rushes over me.
In a town as small as this, a little investigation is all it takes to piece things together. From the grocer, I learned his name is Ray Serna. From my boss, the gas station manager, I learned he’d been stationed at the park for two months now and came into town every three weeks for supplies. No wonder I hadn’t seen him till that night. He took his park job seriously; it was almost sweet.
I let a solid week pass before I decide to pay him a visit. I take a housewarming gift, a slab of a bison ribe-eye, because what red-blooded man doesn’t like meat? I arrive in my beat-up Cherokee to an empty cabin. No smoke issues from the chimney and the tire-tracked gravel is void of the truck I know he has. The sky is black-blue, bruised freshly by a passed sunset. I take the wrapped meat under arm and walk up the porch to the door, knock and call out, just in case. I twist the knob and the door opens easy as anything. I think he wouldn’t mind me putting his gift away. Rangers are practical and leaving ribeye out on his porch is anything but.
The cabin is typically spartan, small and cozy but lacking any sort of identifying decor. There are pictures on the wall of the first rangers that worked the park, mediocre landscape paintings and light squares on the wood walls where pictures once hung. Smoke and pungent old oak fill the single room. Once the meat is in the fridge–my name and a little welcome note scrawled on the butcher paper–I nose my way around. Near his bed is a stack of yellowed dog-eared books on local animal and plant identification, a few thrillers, and a detailed map of the preserve. One book lays open, face down. Animal anatomy. When I turn it over, I see a skeleton of an elk, lovingly illustrated. He must’ve found a corpse out in the woods. I replace it as I found it and paw through his drawers. The top drawer is half-stocked with neatly folded underwear, socks and the other half is an organized cache of ammo. I glance around but don’t see any gun racks. Must have a gun locker somewhere or else he keeps it in his truck.
The last thing I inspect is an old desk, another piece of furniture that probably hasn’t lef this cabin in a few decades. This is stacked with boxes of files; records of patrol times and water levels, copies of fines and citations, and old missing persons reports. The missing persons box looks the most recently perused, various cold case files spread across the desk. Did this ranger think he could find some of them? So he was an optimist under that gruff shell.
I shut the lids to the boxes carefully and move to his hamper. There’s a dark blue flannel draped across the top of it that I can’t resist. I pick it up and drape it over me. The flannel dwarfs my shoulders, hangs well past my hands. I fall back onto the bed, balling the fabric up and smothering my face with it. It smells of sharp sweat and mud and something pungently woody. Humming, I breathe in the musk and shove a hand down my jeans, bathing my fingers in wetness. I jerk myself off too fast, arching off the bed as I build myself up to orgasm. When I come to, I withdraw my soaked hand and rub it into the flannel, breathing in our combined scents. Yea, I think. He’d smell good with me on him.
It’s difficult to observe a park ranger without him knowing. It’d be doubly difficult if he is what I think he is. Luckily, I’m no fool. I drive up a parallel trail after I get a few hours of sleep, hike my way into his neck of the woods. His routine is the same every day I watch him and I watch him for a week solid. He attends to his chores around the cabin, drives off to make his park rounds and returns for lunch before setting off again. I watch him chop wood, his hair darkening with sweat, skin growing glossy in a way that makes me run my tongue over my teeth. He ends his work day around seven or so, starts his fire for the night. Orange light glows through his uncurtained windows as he mills around his kitchen, making dinner then shucking off his clothes to shower. I watch him bathe, fill out paperwork in nothing but his boxers, fire-warmed body soft as a petal in the hearthlight.
I’m waiting for him to slip up again, to show me those fanged shades he’s keeping secret. But I see nothing out of the ordinary. Just a solitary man. Or else a very good pretender.
On my last day of recon, I wait until he leaves to make his park rounds then slink into his cabin. There has to be something, some sort of evidence, a single track to set me on the right scent trail. It takes me three hours of searching–long enough for me to start straining my ears for the rumble of his pick-up’s approach–before I find it.
The photo is facedown in the side table drawer, beneath several folded blankets. In it, is a picture of a group of rangers amidst a birthday party. The ranger in the center wears a party hat and holds a new rifle with a shiny red bow stuck on it. Behind him is colorful paper signage that reads HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY. But the birthday boy in the picture is not the Ray I know. In fact, it’s a whole other man, different ethnicity and older. I smile and return the photo to the drawer.
Pretender it is.
He visits me a week later. Night again, this time at my work. Don’t know how he knows I work at the gas station since I’ve never seen him there before but he shows up all the same. In the harsh fluorescent light, he looks bigger. More real. A quiet impenetrable giant with a tangible reserve of secrets. Unshrouded in mist, there’s real substance to him. Little scars and wrinkles I didn’t catch before, stray threads of white through his dark brown hair and beard. He’s in the same outfit as he was before, standard winter clothes but he’s got a black baseball cap on this time, the brim cutting a shadow across his brown eyes. He sets his hands on the counter and looks down at me. I have the faint urge to grab the shotgun underneath my side of the counter but keep my hands flat on the surface.
“Got your gift.”
“Took you long enough to notice,” I say, giving him my most charming crooked smile. “Sorry for the late present but better late than never. You eat it yet?”
“…no.” Everything he says is begun by a sort of considerate pause, as if one wrong word could be dire. His gaze settles heavily on me and I feel suddenly aware of my skin under my shirt and flannel, the tight, sweaty restriction of muscles tensed. He tilts his head minutely, says, “That’s why I’m here.”
I glance at his hands again. Ferociously thick fingers, knotty knuckles that could dislocate my jaw with a single punch. “To…not eat it?” I ask, confused.
He breathes out through his nose like a bull, mouth flirting with a scowl. “Eat it with me.”
My confusion dissolves into a jagged suprised pleasure. In the backcountry, men like this don’t know what to do with men like me. But I like this game, testing his attraction against his rage, his fear. “You asking me on a date?”
“Dinner,” he says, brute forcing the single word. “Tomorrow night.”
“Hmm,” I lean a hip on the counter. “If you don’t mind strange boys in your cabin, then I don’t mind ranger-cooked ribeye. I’m Lake, by the way.”
I hold out my hand, waiting for Ray to fight or flee, swat my hand away or cough and excuse himself. I don’t look like what boys are supposed to look like around here but I don’t care. There isn’t a word in his language he knows for what I am but if he’s extra good I might tell him.
He takes my hand, swallowing it in his calloused palm. A sharp bolt of excitement runs up my spine to the top of my head. I wish I could know what he was through touch alone but I can’t.
“Lake,” he says like he’s trying it on for size. “I’m Ray. Seven work for you.”
I laugh at the non-question, shake his hand once, decisively. “I’ll be there.”
The unlit forest swallows up the trail in front of me, reducing my vision to barely a footstep ahead of me. When I finally turn a cluster of trees and see the warm glow of the cabin, my chest expands with anticipatory warmth. I knock on the door then pocket my hands in my leather jacket, resting my weight on my right hip.
When Ray opens the door, he doesn’t smile but his eyes crease with amusement. He offers to take my backpack and steps to the side. “Come on in.”
Dinner goes well. I watch him cook from my seat at the table, absorbing the thick, excessive weight of him from a distance. His muscles bunch beneath a clean white tee, a dark transparency forming at the small of his back just above the hem of his jeans where the wood stove is making him sweat. Looking at him makes me want to sink my teeth into him until he cries. Soon, maybe.
We split the thick ribeye and have it with a side of roasted parsnips and garlic mushrooms. I do most of the talking, telling him about growing up in this small shithole of a town (shitty, lonely), what I do for fun (smoke, road trip, concerts). He offers his own contributions to the conversation in a voice I learn is deep and smooth as polished mahogany when he strings together more than two words. He grew up on a forested coast where salt coated the bark and black mountains jutted out of the sea. He lived with a single mom and two sisters until he was 16. Before he was a ranger, he volunteered as a firefighter. Before that, he worked on a ranch. Detailed but innocuous backstory. I almost believe him.
“I’ll be here for at least two years,” he says. “I wanted a change of scenery from my past park.”
“Couldn’t have been any worse than this,” I say, nursing my beer.
He shrugs. “I prefer the woods to the desert.”
“How long have you been here so far, did you say?”
His dark eyes take on a sharp focus before he answers, a look that sets my teeth on edge. “..little over four months.”
“Huh,” I saw, taking a sarcastic sip. “That’s not what you told my boss.”
“You told my boss it was two months. Not really confusable numbers are they, two and four.”
“He must’ve misremembered,” he says briskly. His back straightens from a relaxed slouch. “I’m sure I told him four.”
“Ray,” I say with a mock pout, setting my empty bottle down. “Let’s stop this, huh?”
He sets his own beer down, both hands symmetrically laid on the table. His right hand brushes the edge of his steak knife and the contact is like a trigger pulled. My nerves fire off reams of adrenaline. I stand and sidle to his side, circle behind him. My hands glide up his shoulders to rest on either side of his neck. He’s ramrod straight now and the knife is under his hand, ready to be picked up and wielded.
“I told you who I am.” I bend to whisper in his ear, focusing on the breadth of his shoulders, the shape of his thighs under his jeans. Touching him makes me feel like the animal I am. “So. Who are you?”
The knife is in my eye before I even register him moving and something like a barked scream jolts from my throat. I must have drank a little too much if I didn’t see it coming. I also didn’t think he’d do it. Even with all that carved cliff face ruggedity, he seemed a touch soft. I sigh and loop an arm around his neck, using a rare strength I reserve for hunting alone. He fights me for a good while, kicking his dinner table over, plates and all, spilling a fizz of beer on a threadbare old rug. I lock my arm around his throat until he slumps unconscious, until his blunt nails fall away from the welted tracks they’ve made down my arms. The massive, commanding bulk of him softens and I take a moment to bury my nose in the softness of his dark hair.
“That’s okay,” I say, a gout of blood streaming from my punctured eye, bathing us both in a long river of red. “You’ll tell me yet.”
Midnight rolls in cold and inky and the ranger comes to, bound and furious. He’s splayed out like a giant meaty X. On instinct, he yanks on the paracord knots tying him to the wooden bedframe, violently as a wolf in a snare. I sit on his desk, files in hand, watching him struggle with one normal eye and one blank. My eye is almost healed, the popped watery orb back in its proper shape but missing iris and pupil.
“It’s easier with girls, you know?” I lift a paper in the air so he can see it from the bed. It’s the dossier of a young woman, an experienced mountain climber, who went missing six years back. Apparently her name was Grier but I didn’t ask at the time. “People expect girls to die. No one comes running when a woman goes missing in the woods. It’s almost like cause and effect. A natural law, like gravity. No surprises. No urge to search for very long. A girl goes into the woods and dies like the sun goes into the sky and then sets. A tale as old as time.”
“And they don’t expect someone like you to hurt them,” he grits out.
He means someone who looks feminine. Round, soft. He must be trying for nice. I set the files to the side, humor him. “No, they don’t.”
I slide off the desk and knee my way up the bed, crawling over him until I settle my weight on his stomach. The ranger glares up at me. I set my hands on either side of his head, my long black hair curtaining away the light from the fireplace. “I’ve taken some men, too,” I say quietly. “In case you think I’m a misogynist or something. I like men. But people search a little longer for em’ when they go. A little more troublesome, you see.”
“So.” I raise my index finger between us–chewed, blunt, polished black–and let him watch as it grows into a black talon. “How did you know?” I curl it under the collar of his shirt, and begin to pull down. “Or do you make a habit of stabbing all your dates in the eye?”
“Why should I tell you anything.” Flat, cool, collected. I smile mildly and draw my claw down, splitting his shirt in half. Beneath the fabric I see two things that immediately irritate me. Around his neck, a plain band of beads made of seeds and carved bone. An amulet. A beacon. A beacon for beings like me. He was not the beasts I saw on the road. The beasts on the road were me. A reflection from the mirror of his fucking amulet. Fucking bait.
I yank the necklace off, toss it to the side so hard it cracks in two. The second thing I see I can’t remove: tattooed wards down his sternum. They’re applied in red ink, hardly visible on his warm deep skin but visible doesn’t matter. I can feel them, a defiant gravity glowering up against me in warning.
“You should let me go,” he says, a hint of smugness in his tone. “You can’t kill me.”
He’s right but I simply cock my head and smile. Take handfuls of his darkly thatched pecs in my hands and squeeze, startling a gasp out of him. “I can’t kill you, no. But I can hurt you.”
“Fucking…just let me go and get the fuck out of here,” he says, voice under painful control like there’s an invisible hand wrapped around his throat. But there’s no fingers on his windpipe yet, just on his nipples, pinching, twisting.
“Why? You’re a hunter.” An annoying volunteer do-gooder meant to keep my kind in check. “Aren’t you just going to keep hunting me?”
He twists under me, teeth bared. I pinch harder until he answers. “Yes.”
“Do you even know what I do to people? Why? Shit, do you even know what I am?” I don’t actually expect him to know. I hardly know; cegua, bhaoban sith, chedipe, raven mocker, batibat. Magic and evil has no fidelity to lore or myth. Monocultures are rare and so are pureblooded beasts whose names offer clean taxonomies, easy measures of defeat. We are a blend of our ancestors’ suffering and misdeeds. A mingling of myths from a myriad of mothers’, offspring of grief and spiritual violation. Seeds of our fathers’ greed and bloodlust brought to bloom.
“You’re fucking evil,” he growls, jerking his arms hard against the paracord bindings. “And you need to be in the ground.”
I bark a short laugh, reaching to give the taut rope a twang. “You know what I think’s really gotten your dander up? It’s that you like me.” I rub my face into the dense curls between his pecs, inhaling the layers of sweat and smoke and spice. My skin begins to buzz and float with arousal as I scoot down his waist, settle on his knees so I can nose against the fly of his jeans. When I look up, he’s got his bottom lip rolled into his mouth, searing eyes wide and unblinking. I bring my fist up between his legs, run my knuckles on the denim seam of his crotch. He tries not to make a noise but I hear it in his chest. “Yea. Hell, I bet you like all of us. Have you had us before? Caught in one of your traps, maybe. I bet you do whatever you want before you put us down.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
“Nah. You want me. I bet you think about us eating you. You see our victims and wish it was you in our teeth instead.”
“No one fucking wants you, you fucking animal.”
“What a nasty temper.” I dig my claws into his jeans and wrench the fabric in one violent move. The fibrous sound of denim tearing makes him jump. His erection jerks in his grey briefs and a gush of saliva fills my mouth instinctually. Must be his first time with a monster without having the upperhand. I run my hands up and down his powerful thighs then stoop to nuzzle into the base of his cock through the fabric. “I could make you suffer. A little revenge for all my kin you’ve probably exterminated. I could do a lot before your ward kicks in,” I say, tongue flicking off my teeth. “Make you beg. You’re such a good performer, after all. Played it so cool.”
I mouth around his cock, the bulge of his balls, soaking the fabric. A line of muscle pops from his jaw where he’s clenching his teeth, his lip bloodless from biting it. His cheeks have flushed a warmer shade above the neat line of his beard. Fuck, I want I want I want. Tendrils of heat unspool in my stomach and my clit pulses in place of my heart. My skin writhes over my bones, wanting to split, part and bloom into another darker, fiercer shape. I tug down his briefs and his cock slaps back against his furred belly, the swollen head gleaming.
“So if I put my mouth here,” I say, laying my cheek against his navel, his cock just a tonguespan away, “you don’t mind?” I open my mouth wider, let the heat of my breath hit his dick. He sips in a little air, gaze glassy. “Because you don’t want me.” I open wider, let my canines lengthen into serpentine points, my tongue extend into a wet welcoming trail. My drool smoothes the hair of his belly into wet swirls. “You don’t want me at all. Right?”
His hips jerk forward suddenly and there’s just enough slack in his bindings to close the distance between his cock and my mouth. As a reward for us both, I swallow him down without any hesitation, savoring the blunt, shapely crown on my tongue. A weightless, warm feeling fills my cunt, expands up into my belly and nipples. He goes from hard to rigid, one long vein swelling into a thrumming seam. His entire body arches off the bed in a beautiful bridge of muscle. When I look up at him, he’s furious. Furious to take what I’m giving, furious he loves it. A little reservoir of tears shines in the corner of his eyes.
I pull off, letting salty precome and saliva form a long web between us. “I’m going to let your legs go,” I say, petting the pronounced gutters of his groin. “Try anything and I’ll bite straight through your femoral, got it?”
When he wrinkles his nose in a silent snarl, I slice through the paracord around his ankles with a single talon, one then the other. He doesn’t move, just draws his legs up, closes them. I rip his underwear off with a grin. Grip his thighs and push them back against his belly, hands sliding up to the ditch of his knees where I press them against his chest. He groans, wincing at the flexion and exposure as I survey the soft weight of his balls, the meaty curve of his ass, the tense hair-choked hole. A banquet, all for me.
“Touch yourself while I get you ready,” I say, shedding my own shirt and jeans with too-eager clumsiness, wetness darkening the crotch of my denim. It’s a relief; the cock I’m wearing has left an imprint in my thigh where it’s been pinned down by my pants. After I adjust the straps, I grab my backpack and pull out a new bottle of lube, flicking the cap open and generously drizzling it over our cocks and his tender hole.
“Why the fuck do you need that!” he grits out, staring down at my strap-on in disgust. “Can’t you just change yourself?!”
I laugh, pump the black silicone shaft, pet the leather straps that cut in the meat of my hips. “Sometimes. But this is easier for me. Some of us are better at changing than others. Like here,” I touch the rough band of scar tissue under my soft pecs. “I cut these off but they still come back. There’s a particular shape this body likes that I don’t. But we all work with what we got.”
When I settle my face between his bent legs and see he’s still not moving, just staring at me, humiliated and angry, I bite into the underside of his thigh with no meager force. Searing blood founts into my mouth and down onto the bedding, sweet and new. He screams and thrashes but I hold him down, sucking on the wound I’ve made gently. “Don’t forget you brought me here to kill me. I’m being nice because I’m in the mood but moods can change.”
He nods and grabs hold of his waning erection, pumping it out without pleasure. Smiling, I return to what I really want, the dark, tempting ring of muscle pulled in tight between his cheeks. I kiss the firm mound of his taint then chew around the little iris, massaging the heavy hamstrings closing around my head. The musky intensity of his skin makes my hackles rise and I feel the beginnings of metamorphosis in my body: bones sharpening and shifting ever so slightly under my skin, my jaw loosening for an incoming meal.
He murmurs my name–Lake, Lake, Lake– and begs for me to stop. I smile into his skin, charmed by the humanity of being called upon, pleaded with. I drill my tongue into the slick hole while the ranger starts milking himself more deliberately, each twisting tug making a moist crackling sound. When he starts to shiver and make little noises in the back of his throat, I swat his hand away.
“Come and I’ll feed you your own liver.” I pin down his thigh with my knee, his other thigh with my hand. Start rubbing the slick knot of muscle roughly with three fingers, claws withdrawn. I massage until he gives up and relaxes. I breach him with one finger to the first knuckle and after a few minutes, the rest follow. Knuckle by punishing knuckle. Tearing him in two might be fun but it’d be brief and I’m finding I like the face he makes when he surrenders. The self-loathing ionizes the air and I breathe in the hate like it’s a personal cologne.
“What’s your name, anyway?” I ask, removing my fingers and knee-walking my hips up to his. “Your real name.” The head of my cock kisses the hair-framed pink of his hole and my cunt clenches like a fist. He’s crying openly now, silently but his mouth is wide open like he’s scared of what’s happening inside him. When he still doesn’t answer, I hover over him, kiss his peaked brown nipple then sink my fangs into the meat around it.
“Fuck!” He thrashes under me and I unlatch, licking the blood from my lips. “You f-fucking bastard, it’s Micah! Micah!”
Names mean something to people like us. A name is power. When we hold it, we don’t let go.
“Okay, Micah,” I say and hazard a kiss. He clamps his lips shut but I know he’ll taste the blood, anyway. Savor the work I’m doing on his body. “Don’t be afraid to scream.”
I ram into him and my skull fills with a seashell roar. He’s not screaming but his head is thrown back, mouth gaping, eyes wide. The tendons in his throat rise and twitch from strain and I think about running my talon across them, snapping the fine stringy ligaments one at a time. Uncontrollably, I drive my hips deeper then slide out and back, punching a rhythm into him even as he fights to weld me in place. My pubic bone mashes into his hamstrings, our hips socketing together wetly.
“You’re taking my dick so good, Micah,” I murmur, pounding into him just short of bone-breaking force. Time clinches in around us as I move, my brain embering with lust. The muscles in his abdomen bunch and relax, his hips beginning to churn to meet mine. Starting to need me. Dying for me to fuck him even though he’s probably screaming curses at himself, at me. I want to eat him, bone and gristle all.
“Look at you. You’re in the wrong line of work, hunter. You should be my bitch. My personal full-time hole.”
“Fuck… you,” he cries, enraged. His cock has leaked a crystalline puddle in the furrows of his flexing stomach and I stare as it runnels through his abs. I can feel my own fluid, sticky and hot, traveling down my thighs.
“I told you not to come,” I say with steel in my voice even though I don’t care. He’s scared of how good it feels and that’s even sweeter than obedience.
“I’m not, I don’t–fuckfuck, I don’t–,” he moans and there’s a hint of terror in voice, confusion as his whole body shudders with each thrust. I tilt my hips up and Micah gasps. His face crumples inwards and his hole clamps around my cock as he comes. Milky white strands spurt and spash across his belly and I fuck him through the arc of his orgasm. Come slips between our stomachs as I plaster myself against his shivering body, licking a wide path from his throat to his mouth. I bite his lower lip and he whines, a high coarse sound and I catch his mouth while it’s open. Sweep my tongue against his, taste the enamel behind his teeth, the beer, blood and the meaty flavor of saliva like a second supper. There’s no strength in him at first but finally he moans and sucks on my tongue, the wrinkled tension in his face smoothing out. Tracks of tears shine across his temples.
When I pull away from the kiss, he blinks in a daze and then jolts, gaping up at me with a new fear. I tilt my head, confused at the odd expression. Looking to my left, I assess myself in the window nearby and understand: I’m me.
My human skin swims around me in loose weightless gossamer skeins. He finally sees my underneath, the fibrous inky musculature and membranes the color of new cuts. Me, skinned of all pretense. “It’s okay, Micah,” I murmur, lording his name over him. It’s hard to speak without a proper mouth; I’m all wolven jaws and arachnid fangs in this shape, a spackling of milky eyes he can’t look away from. “We’re not done yet.”
You expect fullness after a good meal. Calm after a successful hunt. But having all that sweet, lustrous muscle bound for me to play with only seemed to make it worse. That he was a hunter, too, doubly so. And that he hated me so purely, with the sharpness of a newly polished knife, well, I was in love.
An infuriated tic in Micah’s forehead firms into a prominent vein as I ride his face. His mouth is all demanding liquid strength as he nurses my clit, jabbing his fingers into me like he can cause me any sort of pain. I have his arms loose now, just one leg tied to the bed. I like when he locks his thighs around me like he can crush my ribs. Or when he tries to scrabble for my throat to choke me; its adorable.
It’s the sixth night we’ve been together and he’s obedient with exhaustion. I’ve only been feeding him a little at a time, keeping him in a state of pliable weakness; I can’t imagine ever letting him up again. I put my hand over his heart and lean back on it, feeling the ripe little organ that’s working for both of us now. He makes a troubled sound beneath me and I feel his chest stutter. I get up on my knees and he sucks in several desperate breaths, face riddled with my come. I slide down his body, lick up my mess with a long black split tongue that he winces away from. When I’m done I sniff his mouth, palpate a gash I tore into his hip.
The same senses I use for predation cross over into more useful applications now. I can smell when he’s turned on, when a wound I’ve made has started to heal or turned bad. I can taste in his breath when his body takes the first steps towards starvation. I can hear his heartbeat when it’s soaked in terror or bright with desire. His state as it is isn’t the best but at least he’s not dying. His body is matted with semen, sweat and salty tears. The places where I haven’t scratched into him are yellow and violet with bruises, red with newer impacts and spots I’ve deigned to suck.
“You’re so fragile.”
“I’m not,” he says, apathetic. “You’re just a fucking beast.”
“True,” I say and slip my fingers inside him and curl. There’s no friction at all, hole still lube-drenched and open. ”But I don’t want to break you. I love you.”
He scoffs, a sour smile hinting underneath his soaked beard. The sudden new emotion makes me scrub my thighs together . “I think you should fucking kill me already. That’s what you’re going to do anyway, isn’t it?”
“No. I just said I love you. Didn’t you hear me?”
“What the fuck are you talking about, you pscyho?”
“I mean I want you alive. By my side. I mean I want my claws and my come all over you at all times.”
He laughs, cold and crisp. “I should have killed you that night.”
“Yea.” My arousal makes my skin separate from muscle and I slither out of it, all red and black and white. He can look at me now, this part of me, the marrow of me, without flinching away. “But you didn’t. And I didn’t. That means something I think.”
“It doesn’t mean shit.”
I kiss his forehead, a press of inch-long fangs against thin feverish skin. “It means everything right now.”
I glide on top of him, an articulation of shattered skeleton and liquid nightmares made tangible, serrated. He knows the routine now and spreads his legs, crudely cups his balls and lifts them for me. So well-trained already. It would be a waste to let him go to the worms. I tug his thighs apart and down line myself up above his half-hard cock, an intersection of us I haven’t yet explored.
“Hey, shit, wait, wait–!” He starts, his free hand going to shove at me but it only slides through the thready muscle of my body. When I swallow him, it’s not with a cunt but something else; coils of the very substance that comprises my true self vines around his hips, his hardening cock. A tendril of me snakes down his urethra and slithers around inside his shaft. He sobs and jerks his hips, kicking ineffectually as I absorb him into me. I’ve never done this before and so I begin to groan even though I have no lungs like this. I heave rising growls as a star-bright pleasure lights up every thread of my being. This, this is what I wanted. What I always wanted.
“Oh gods,” he pants, voice thin. “Oh fuck, don’t, pleasedon’tdont–!”
How can I not make you mine? It’s impossible now, not to keep him or tear him apart so no one else can.
“You’re going to stay with me,” I grind out, my voice taking on a chorus of baritones. I wind my claws around his free wrist, force it into the bedding. With my other hand, I begin tracing a path around the perimeter of his warded tattoo. “Even if it’s like this. Even if I have to keep you in pieces.”
“Fuckfuckfuck, okay, I’ll stay! I’ll stay!”
I wasn’t expecting an answer, especially not agreement. I fuck him until I feel his hips crackle, the fascia in his joints straining under the pressure of my body. I hunch around him, slither my tongue down his throat to taste the beginnings of bile and come in a ripple of violent contractions. An electrical simmer floats up into my head then snaps out in little lighting strikes to the ends of every coiling extremity. He gurgles and chokes and I let him breathe only when his eyes begin to roll back into his head.
When I release him and he finds his voice again, he’s hoarse and red-eyed. “I’ll stay,” he says, shaking from the intensity of my climax. “B-but I want something in return.”
The forest alongside the highway is barren of leaves, a vast brambling tangle of moon-white and twisted bones. The pickup rumbles steadily through the misty evening gloom, the headlights setting off the chipped white line on the dark road.
“You sure we’re headed in the right direction.”
“I’m sure,” I say and nuzzle against his shoulder with a sigh. To his credit, he doesn’t stiffen when I touch him anymore. Almost like he’s used to me. Like he might like me.
“How do I know you’re not bullshitting me. Asking you to kill your own kind…no normal person would just be okay with that.”
“That’s so sweet you think I’m a normal person.”
“Shut the fuck up. You know what I mean.”
“They’re similar to me,” I say, amused, “but they’re not ‘my kind’. We’re all our own kind. And killers have no kin.”
“Beasts will be beasts, I guess.”
“You’ll learn what kinda beast I am soon enough,” I say, running my hand over his chest, making him jerk in pain. It’s still raw where I removed his tattoo, the stitch-cinched skin pulled tight. “Keep driving,” I murmur, nuzzling into his shoulder. My skin ripples beneath my jacket as my appetite blooms a single searching seedling. “We’re almost there.”