Her breathing was slow, deep, echoing within the caverns of her chest. Her mouth watered; her hair flowed in the air around her. Floating, hovering above her chin. Blonde. Smooth. Waves of fireflies haloed near the surface of her flesh. She was still. She was still. She was still. Waves of blonde pasted over her eyes. The dark water bent and twisted in her wake. When her voice rose, it rose gently. She was careful with the melody, kept it confined. Kept it warm. The moon had risen and fallen many times since the last time she’d fed. Her stomach was devouring itself, her blood screamed. When her voice rose, the notes reverberated off the trees; the tress still hers to command.
“Hey. Hey, miss, do you need any help?”
The words of the men pieced through her ears. The ears were small, too delicate.
“Fuck, dude, maybe you should call an ambulance.”
“Are you – like – sick, or something? Miss?”
The ground was red before the men could scream. She feasted angrily, her neck craned and downward. Her shoulders and knees twisted. The blonde waves swam above her, avoiding the stain. She moaned as her stomach began to quiet. When she was young, she had never lapped up the remains of the bodies, she had never been starved. Any time hunger approached; she had been gifted the means to peace. She had wanted for nothing, searched for nothing. Nothing. She had learned to hunt after the earth aged. She had been taught craving.
A deep growl singed the back of her neck and throat. She let her teeth grow, the blonde falling away. For a moment, she nearly relaxed. Her eyes widened and glowed. The night exhaled.
Her eyes all at once strung, burned with a harsh flash. She cried out, her neck snapping to fall against her back.
“Turn off your phone, it sees us,” a voice yelled.
Her hunger was forgotten as she darted away and into the brush. She travelled fast, her four limbs hardly touching the ground. She had forgotten the blonde, the short teeth, the small ears. She scuttled upward, long fingers and long toes wrapped around the branches of one of her trees. She watched as the men sprinted and scrambled over the grass. Their voices collapsed over each other. Chords of red and blue broke the night. Wails made her ears ache. Her breath was hot and heavy as she twisted herself among the leaves. The hunger had returned, blistering her insides. The men infected the space around her, the space that she once owned. The trees and owls and fireflies that used to be hers. The night died; sun rose. The men never retreated. Her internals were cauterized.
She whispered the song to herself, just herself, the sound contained around the branches of the tree.
Taylor Denton is a student living in Boulder, currently working to complete a degree in English. She was born on March 22nd, 1998, in Springfield, Missouri. She began writing short stories when she was in middle-school, publishing her first poem in a book created by her school. In high school, her love for creative writing expanded and came to life. She has continued to write, which has become her passion in life. She now writes in college from the perspective of a student, working as often as she can to keep her voice active and evolving while she continues to pursue her enthusiasm for writing.