The house was like any other in the neighborhood…one of those ultra-modern affairs that speak of both comfort and wealth. Apart from her distinctive little touches, there was little to distinguish it from the two which bordered on the sides. The lawn was well kept, the trees were trimmed low and the water in the pool was undoubtedly sparkling clean. He would expect nothing less. She liked everything to be in order.

By now he felt that he knew her…although not as well as he would come to know her by the end of the night. He had been following her for weeks. He knew her schedule. He knew her habits. He knew almost all there was to know about her…or so he thought. Once he had been tempted to approach her in the grocery store, but that wasn’t a part of the plan and he had to stick to the plan. Without the plan there would be mistakes, and mistakes could not be tolerated.

He did a quick mental check to make sure he had all that he needed. It was an unnecessary step but he prided himself on being thorough. Not that there was much danger here. Perhaps somewhere else the sight of an unknown male sitting alone in a parked car would have already resulted in a call to the authorities. But this was one of those utopian residential areas where the privileged class kept to themselves and thought that their money bought them the right to safety; where strangers would be let into the house once they wore the right uniform and said the right things. Bad things didn’t happen here. They couldn’t happen here.

More than once he had found himself wondering why she lived alone. She was an attractive woman. Surely she could have her pick of willing partners, but the only person he had ever seen coming or going was the girl. Perhaps she too had been lulled by the false sense of security that came with expensive alarm systems; systems that were all too easy to disable once you had a little knowledge and a lot of practice. It wasn’t safe for her to live alone. He would have to tell her that. There were too many dangerous people out there…people like him. The irony that it was Halloween night wasn’t lost on him. It was a night for monsters after all.

Finally the lights in her bedroom window went out. There was need to rush…no need to ruin things by being too eager. She had trouble falling asleep. He had seen her buying sleeping pills twice and he figured he had at least an hour before they kicked in fully. Then he would be free to do his work in peace without any nasty surprises. He hated surprises. He hated waiting, but he knew that patience was a vital part of the game. All good things come to those who wait after all, and things had been very good to him.

It was time. He got out of the car, strapped his bag to his back, and took one last look around. Everything was dark and silent, just the way he liked it. All the happy people were fast asleep in their happy homes, kids slumbering deeply as they crashed from all that Halloween candy. Just us out here he thought, and uttered a low chuckle before moving around to the part of the wall he had scoped out days before. There was a chip in the concrete, small enough to not be very visible but big enough to provide an excellent foothold. He was over the wall in seconds. This was going to be a good night.

~~~~~~~~~~

Cason O’Donnell finally managed to extricate herself from the dream she’d been having and groaned when her watch gleefully informed her that it was barely 11:30 at night. She made a mental note to swear off pepperoni pizza and horror movies right before going to bed. It might be her favorite but there was something seriously wrong with the sight of woman who seemed to be sporting the head of a Great Dane, while her child looked like a mutated version of a Doberman Pinscher. Just thinking about it made a little shiver run down her spine.

Her left hand was numb and, trying to move it, she realized that it was imprisoned by a cascade of dark hair and a softly snoring head. The moon was high in the sky and it allowed her to see the outline of a strong jaw, a proud nose, and sculpted eyebrows. She used her free hand to lightly trace the exposed skin and was rewarded by a slight shift and a brief sigh. She smiled wickedly. There was no reason for her to suffer alone, and she knew that the nude woman next to her wouldn’t mind being awoken…for the right reason.

She shifted her body so that she was on her side, her length mirroring Blake’s under the covers, and pushed up on her elbow. She planted a soft kiss on one delicate shoulder and languidly followed a path to Blake’s neck. She lingered there as her hand snaked around Blake’s lower back and pulled her closer. She could tell from the change in Blake’s breathing that she was awake, but was feigning sleep. So she wanted to play? That was fine with Cason. She gripped Blake’s already erect nipple between her fingers and squeezed, while biting down on that oh so sensitive spot on her neck. She was rewarded by Blake’s body tightening under her and the sight of eyes so light brown they were almost golden.

“Is there something you want?” Blake’s voice was still husky from sleep.

“Uh huh, and I think you’re just the woman to give it to me.”

“Is that so?”

“Definitely.”

“And what would this thing be?”

“I’m sure you can figure it out.” Cason took Blake’s hand and guided it to the wetness between her legs. The truth was that she couldn’t be next to a naked Blake, even to sleep, and not get wet. She heard Blake’s breathing hitch and released a gasp of her own as coated fingers rubbed against her.

“Lie back.”

She did was she told and uttered a petulant groan when Blake removed her fingers. The responding laugh was rich and throaty.

“No pouting my darling. Unless you’d rather I just go back to sleep?”

It was an idle threat. Cason knew that Blake was just as worked up as she was, but she allowed her to have her way. Blake kissed her. Cason could never understand how someone could be so gentle and yet infuse a simple touch with such passion. She arched her back as Blake’s tongue made its way across her neck and down to her shoulder, pausing on its way to lather each delicate spot with attention. Blake’s hands had not been idle, caressing the pebbled flesh of her nipples which were by now straining for a warmer touch. Blake complied and took first one and then another in her mouth, teeth grazing gently. Cason cried out and her fingers clutched at the sheets around her. Blake continued her journey southward, nipping and then soothing the pain with cool, wet strokes. After what seemed to Cason to be an eternity, Blake finally reached her destination; that throbbing bundle of nerves lying nestled between her thighs.

With the first caress of a practiced tongue, Cason lost all ability to remain coherent. Blake knew the language her body spoke and was a master linguist. Soon soft licks gave way to increasingly fast strokes and Cason felt the pressure starting to build within her.

“Oh…oh baby…I’m going to…”

And then Blake thrust two fingers inside her, with almost bruising force, and the world before her exploded in display of pleasure. When she came back to herself Blake was still moving within her walls, although she had eased into a slow ebb and flow.

“That was amazing…as usual.”

“It’s not over yet.” Blake said, while nuzzling her neck. Surely Blake didn’t plan on making her come again. She was almost totally spent, but that wasn’t what her lover had in mind. What she intended became quite evident when Blake straddled her and slowly thrust her hips. Cason felt another burst of arousal as Blake’s moisture coated her stomach. Blake was putting on a show for her, leisurely running her hands up her body, relishing the feel of her own skin. Cason would have gladly paid for the privilege.

“You like?” There was an amused glint in Blake’s eyes.

“Very much so.”

Cason proceeded to prove her liking by taking one of the offered breasts into her mouth and sucking hard, her fingers raking down Blake’s back. Blake could give it slow, but she liked it rough, as evidenced by the strangled cry she uttered. Cason continued her ministrations, triumphantly noting that Blake’s hips were grinding against her with increasing urgency.

“You need to come, don’t you?”

“Yes, so bad. Make me come baby. Oh…please…make me come.”

Cason was never one to deny a request from the woman she loved and, in a move that mirrored Blake’s earlier actions, she thrust her fingers hard into her lover. Blake threw back her head, her hands clinging to Cason’s shoulders, as her hips pumped furiously. Cason kept up with her, matching each thrust with one of her own. She was completely mesmerized by the sights and sounds of Blake riding her, her fingers buried deep between her thighs. Seconds later she felt Blake’s body go rigid as her release washed over her. She still didn’t let up, coaxing a second powerful orgasm before she took pity on Blake and allowed them both to sink into the bed.

“You okay darling?” Cason lovingly caressed Blake’s sweat covered cheek.

“Better than okay baby. Ecstatic. One might even say euphoric.”

Cason laughed. “Well it’s nice to know that it was as good for you as it was for me.”

“Uh huh.” Blake looked thoughtful for a moment. “You know, it could be like this every night.”

“Oh really? You want me to spend every night here? And what am I supposed to do with that nice, expensive apartment that I’m paying for? Hmm?” Cason couldn’t keep the teasing tone out of her voice. She didn’t doubt that Blake loved her, but she also knew that Blake had a very real phobia of commitment.

“Give it up.”

Cason noticed the pensive look on Blake’s face. “Wait…you’re serious?”

“Very. I’m getting tired of going to bed and not having you next to me.”

“You’re really asking me to move in with you?”

“Only if you say yes.”

There was no hesitation. “Yes, but we’ll talk about it in the morning. For all I know you’re high on all that great sex right now.”

“I’m not….”

“Shush…I know.” Cason kissed her softly, and then decided that one wasn’t enough. She felt Blake’s body stiffen under her hand and immediately stopped.

“Everything okay baby?”

“Fine, just a little cramp. And I’m hungry.”

Cason smiled. Blake had the appetite of a lumberjack. “Didn’t you just have your fill?”

“Never. I’m always hungry for you, but you do drain my energy so. I was thinking more along the lines of a midnight snack. Want anything?”

“I’ll come down with you and rummage.”

“No!” Blake was a little too quick with her response and Cason raised a querying eyebrow. “Now what kind of girlfriend would I be if I let the fair maiden get out of bed in the middle of the night? Just tell me what you want and I’ll bring it up for you.”

“Hmm, do we have any more of those chocolates we bought last weekend? The ones with the caramel?”

“I think so, unless you ate them all already.” Cason considered flinging a pillow at her and decided that she’d probably miss anyway.

“I did no such thing. The box should be in the fridge. Oh, and Blake?”

“Yes?”

“Grab the chocolate syrup while you’re down there.”

It wasn’t until after Blake had already gone downstairs that Cason wondered why she had bothered to put on her robe.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sean McDonald was awake in his room. This was much more of a regular occurrence than his parents knew. He wasn’t up to any mischief, but they had strict rules about everything, including bed times. Sean knew all about the eight hours of sleep policy but his own body could survive on much less. Many nights he would stay up for hours with the lights off, just looking at the stars, content to think his own thoughts. He supposed that some would call him delicate or sensitive, perhaps not the best adjectives for a boy of fourteen. Certainly there had been some name calling when he had first started at this high school, but that was only until…well, it was better not to think about it. There were other things much more pleasant to ponder.

And so it was that Sean managed to see a figure, dressed in all black, scale the wall and run across the lawn to his neighbor’s front door. He was a smart boy and knew instinctively that one man on his own was hardly likely there to commit a burglary…not in this neighborhood. His intentions were undoubtedly much more sinister and Sean felt a knot of hatred form in his belly. He considered calling the police, as a good boy should, and his hand hovered over the phone for a few seconds before he lowered it again. Even if they caught him and put him in jail, he’d be out again eventually. His kind always managed to get away somehow. No, there was a better way. Justice would be served.

~~~~~~~~~~

He stood in the doorway and tried to shake off the feeling of being watched. There was no one there and he berated himself for what he saw as a sign of weakness. His nerves were iron bars and he wasn’t about to let one bend now. There was enough light from outside to make out vague silhouettes, but that was fine by him. He was good with his hands and could pass as almost any type of repairman. He’d had his chance to learn the layout of the house already. He closed the front door as quietly as he could and rested his bag beside him, careful not to overturn the bowl with the remnants of trick or treat candy on the side table.

He supposed that he could make do with whatever tools he found at his hunting grounds, but he wasn’t the type to just make do. No, his tools were like his children…each and every one made to his specifications. He was proud of them. Often times he would simply take them out, arrange them neatly on a table and let the memories of their work come back to him…sometimes a caress here or a gentle cradling there. They were like him, perfect at what they did. They never let him down.

He bypassed the stairs for the moment. He knew the bedrooms were up there but he supposed that he had his own little fetishes. He liked to look around first…to touch and to smell, and to let his senses drink in as much as they could about his prey. He was about to start his exploration when a muffled noise from the back of the house stopped him in his tracks. He tried to recall which room was back there…not a guest room…no…the kitchen. She must have just come down. His eyes narrowed in annoyance. This was not the night for her to break her patterns. Still, it could be salvaged. He would have preferred to see the look in her eyes when she woke up and saw him hovering above her, but he could make this work. He slipped the gun out of his bag and crept down the corridor.

He abhorred guns. They were so cold and impersonal. There was nothing with which to get the hands dirty. Nonetheless, he found that they had their uses when it came to eliciting co-operation…and fear. It was the fear that he thrived on. It was what he lived for. It was what others died for. There were no voices in his head. He didn’t believe that he was an instrument of anyone’s righteous vengeance. He simply needed their fear in order to survive, to grow stronger. He often wished he could keep his playthings longer, to feed off their fear longer, but that might invite too many unnecessary risks. He was good at avoiding risks, had made it into an art really.

The kitchen light was on. He stood with his back against the wall and debated his next move. Should he make a noise and grab her when she came out to investigate? Or should he just march in, gun aimed between the eyes? Those precious eyes…those eyes looking at him with terror and desperation. It was the eyes that made the decision for him. Her back was turned when he walked into the room. Years of training had taught him how to be completely silent, but still her body went rigid, as though she sensed him there. He wasn’t surprised. The hunted often sensed the presence of the hunter, just as they knew there was no hope of getting away. He felt his heart start to race as she began to turn, not out of any anxiety but rather out of anticipation.

He was destined to be disappointed. There was no fear here, only what he would swear to be contempt. Didn’t she know what he was? He got the idea that she thought of him not as a threat but an insignificant annoyance. He would take his time with her…much more than he usually did. He would make sure that she cracked. She crooked her head in an almost animal-like gesture and seemed to be studying him in much the same manner as one would observe an insect that one hadn’t chanced upon before. It was disconcerting and, for the first time that he could remember, he found himself faltering.

He became aware of a rustling and then movement behind him, but that wasn’t possible. No one else was supposed to be here. He had studied her routines…knew them better than his own.

“Honey? Why are you ….?”

He was startled by the voice and in his panic he spun around, arm outstretched, catching her across the side of her face. He hadn’t meant to. Pain was for later, on his own terms, but he was fast feeling as though he had little control over this particular situation and it was unhinging his deadly resolve. Such mistakes were unacceptable and, even before he heard the growl he knew it was an error that would cost him dearly.

~~~~~~~~~~

She would have let him live. She already knew what he was…that he fancied himself a predator. What did he know about the hunt? She felt a laugh welling up inside her. Did the silly cub really think that she had been unaware of his presence all these weeks? She had known of him from the start. She would only have scared him a little for daring to trespass on her territory. Who would believe him anyway? They would lock him away in a padded cell and throw away the key. That would have suited her just fine. Killing was so…messy. But her love had come downstairs against her wishes and now he had touched what was hers. He had drawn her blood. For that she would happily drink his.

She glanced out the window and caught sight of the moon, bright and full. It was time. She had long ago learnt to control what slept within her, and was no longer dependent on the lunar cycle. Still, there was something in the silvery light that drew her. She could feel the change coming upon her…the intense pain, and the freedom. As the last of her bones broke and set itself into place she howled for the others. She did not need their strength or their numbers but it was the principle of the matter.

~~~~~~~~~~

Susan Jamieson was sitting with her husband Terry. The kids were in bed and she was curled against him in the sofa. He was a great fan of what he called ‘the classics’ and brought out his collection every Halloween for an all night movie marathon. Bela Lugosi was currently bent over some buxom blond on the TV screen but Susan really couldn’t care less. Instead she was lost in thinking how lucky she was. Terry was a good father and an even better husband. He was the kindest, most gentle man she had ever known and she was hopelessly in love with him. She was making ready to move closer so she could draw even more heat from his body when they heard it.

When Terry turned to her, his eyes darkening to match hers, the only emotion she saw was fury. They knew what the sound meant. Their alpha’s mate had been attacked. It was a transgression not taken lightly by the pack. One by one they emerged from their respectable homes…lawyers, bankers and working class heroes who had moved up in life. The streets were filled with much snarling as they converged, so much so that any errant passerby would either flee, question his sanity, or possibly both. It was time for the hunt.

~~~~~~~~~~

This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening. It had to be some sort of sick nightmare that he had stumbled upon. He was home in his bed, not running for his life from room to room while a creature that wasn’t supposed to exist was snapping at his heels. All he knew was that he had been transfixed by the sight of the other girl with blood streaming down her face where he had hit her…and he had turned back to the sight of…of…that. He had emptied all his bullets into the creature’s chest and all it had done was to incur even more of its wrath.

The downstairs of the house was a mess. What he hadn’t thrown over or pulled down in an effort to create an obstacle course had fallen victim to the creature’s rampage. He had been running blindly with no thought other than to get away. He had no idea where the girl went…probably back upstairs. The one time he had managed to get to the stairs, he had almost been felled by a large…well…paw. He barely noticed that his frenzied attempt at escape had led him right back to the kitchen but, as he slammed the door shut and turned the lock, some remaining shred of sanity realized that this could be his salvation.

There was only one barrier left between him and freedom…the sliding doors leading out to the back yard. Just one more little push and he would be out of this cursed place, and then he could erase every memory of ever having been here. He would leave…start over…look for new hunting grounds. By this time tomorrow he would be well on his way to re-inventing himself. The wooden door behind him wouldn’t last much longer. Already it was splintering. He steadied his mind and readied his body for the rush. All he had to do was get out there, run around the house and jump the wall…easy enough. Then he would be free.

Just as his hand was reaching for the door, he saw a dark shape materialize at the far end of the pool. A dog perhaps? But she didn’t have a dog. It didn’t make sense…then again so many things about this night didn’t make any sense. With mounting terror it finally dawned on him that that the growing silhouette wasn’t that of a dog but rather of a wolf. Whoever heard of a wolf roaming the suburbs, and how did it get in? Before he had a chance to ponder this, the first shape was joined by another; a smaller replica of the thing that had chased him through the house. Then another…and another.

It was at this point that his mind finally let go, as did his bladder. He forgot about being strong. He forgot about being the hunter. He was so awed by the sight that he stood there motionless, oblivious to the fact that the beast behind him had finally broken through the door and was roaring its displeasure at having been made to wait. But he quickly remembered when the first rip of claws assaulted his back. He screamed from the pain. It was the first of many for him that night.

~~~~~~~~~~

In the morning there would be time for cleaning up the blood. Evidence would have to be hidden. Traces would have to be eliminated, if any could be found. Not that there was likely to be much effort placed into searching for a killer of innocent women. The police would probably just be happy that another monster had vanished. But that was later…not tonight. Tonight the beast was hungry, and it was feeding time.

 The End