SILK

The moon, full and glowing like a comely maiden, rested among the velvet blanket that was the night sky. Millions of tiny stars sparkled like diamonds, but none of their shine could compare to the giant white orb. Although the sky seemed calm, the wind was anything but; it wailed loudly through the trees, shaking weak leaves from the branches that were bending with its force.

It was a lovely irony: a tranquil night setting, with a frigid temperature that seemed to continue to drop by the minute.

A veil of translucent moonlight befell a cold body nestled deep within the undergrowth of the forest, hidden away from the view of civilization. Only porcelain colored fingers lightly stained with dry crimson and a bare foot could be seen from beneath the shallow grave of leaves and twigs. It appeared that the enraged breath of God was working diligently to unearth the dying body that someone else had tried so carefully to conceal, for the wind picked up its speed and intensity.

One by one, fragile leaves floated away from a fair face, Cupid's bow lips, and the little figurine of a woman clinging to the last breaths of life depleting from her lungs. Shocks of skin as pale and brilliant as the moon itself could also be seen from underneath layers of caked on dirt and blood. A thick, dark bouquet of lashes weakly parted to grant vision to the dark, muddy gems that were her eyes, but almost as quickly as they opened, they sealed once more.

From the forest litter surrounding her, a tiny shadow crept onto the flesh of her bare foot in the form of a spider. As the moonlight caught its profile, an even tinier glint of ruby red sparkled for just a moment. Though the woman was dying, she could feel the faint sensation of the spider's legs crawling up her limb, passing over many wounds that seemed to have been caused by bullets. A heavy sigh escaped through her lips, and suddenly her frame became still.

Even the arachnid paused its trek, almost as if it were paying respect. Suspended in the light once again, the image of a small crimson hourglass painted near its abdomen came into focus. After a few moments, the spider continued, hesitating over the pursed lips of the female for several seconds before finally entering and disappearing into her right nostril.

Then it seemed as though the whole world stopped for just a brief period- a blip in the timeline –and the woman's eyes opened. Her pupils swelled, and quickly she scanned her environment, confusion riddling her perplexed features. Blessed oxygen returned to her lungs and her chest rose, though her limbs immediately felt the sting of the cold and wounds that were inflicted upon her. Her teeth gritted, but the woman pushed herself to sit, trying desperately to still the world that was spinning so fast around her.

When her surroundings became calmer, she willed herself to stand, wobbling like a newborn fawn. A fierce pang of hunger struck her gut, eliciting a loud grunt as she doubled over and heaved. But there was something different about the woman that was kindling inside of her. Her spirit was violently aroused; though she was afraid and almost paralyzed with confusion, an even stronger burden urged her to keep walking. It was a relentless feeling, an anger so fiery and vengeful it was almost animalistic. She stumbled on through the forest, only the sound of leaves and twigs crunching beneath her bare feet accompanying her aimless wandering.

But God seemed to favor the female, for soon the noise of passing traffic came into her range of hearing. She had no time or resources to alter the soiled clothing that clung to her increasingly rigid body, and she grew anxious, worried that none of the passers by would be willing to help her. Still, she marched on, regardless of her aching, trembling body and scraped feet.

She wasn't sure how long she had been walking before a God sent pair of headlights illuminated the truly pathetic visage she was. A red pickup truck pulled to a stop next to her, and a dark skinned man with thin, small eyes and a wide mouth greeted her warmly. He insisted she get in, that his compartment was warm and he would surely escort her safely to the nearest hospital. She soundlessly obliged without another thought.

"What happened to you, ma'am?" asked the driver, his beady eyes scanning her.

She didn't answer, though. Her head simply lay against the headrest and she watched the foliage blur by in her passenger side window until she felt herself succumbing to sleep. Images of a young man with olive skin and black hair flashed through her mind, and she flinched as if she had been struck by something. There was no telling the agony that her heart must have been experiencing, but the small whimpers that dared escape her quivering lips indicated it was almost too much for the girl to bear.

These pictures, all including the same young man, elicited a mixed variety of emotions within the girl. Soon they turned into memories, warm ones; bare-fleshed intimacy, caressing, walks and picnics through the forest; and then they turned nightmarish and bitter. She fidgeted in her sleep as the foul tasting memories of fights and break-ups plagued her subconscious.

He was standing over her, looking down at her with an unclear expression, but she could feel the malice emanating from his presence. It was so vivid that it was almost tangible; she swore she could reach out and grasp the hostility. The sweet faced moon was shrouded by a thin film of gray clouds, as if it were shying away from such a scene. Before anything further happened, the woman stirred from her sleep and awakened.

The truck driver was gently touching her thigh and whispering things she could hardly understand. All she could feel were sinister vibrations, similar to those she sensed from the boy in her memories, but less passionate and angry. This man was more predatory. Still, she didn't move; her breathing was shallow and she was very weak. He reached over her, pressing his lips to her ear.

She breathed in his aroma: it was smoky and old, like dirty laundry still carrying the scent of the prior day's barbecue. Her stomach roared hungrily, and an odd, dull ache started in her gums at the same moment. As the man continued to kiss her, she took hold of his head and bit down as hard as she could on the fleshy part of his neck.

It was all in one swift motion, and it happened before she even realized what exactly she was doing. When the warm blood poured into her mouth, however, the shrieking hunger in her stomach gradually became quieter. A euphoric feeling crept throughout her body as she sucked the life from the man that started screaming in panic. He fought against her with all his might, but a newfound strength had overtaken the woman's bones, and she somehow managed to keep her jaws clamped taut on his throat.

She drank deeply and thirstily, like one might after having crawled through a desert for hours and had access to a blessed oasis. Before she knew it, the man's fighting became exhausted fidgeting, and finally he went completely limp, now draped heavily across her lap. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the rearview mirror; her pale face, once lacking vitality, now radiated with a supreme glow; her swollen lips, round and plump, were stained crimson, like the perfect lipstick. Even her dark hair appeared shinier and livelier despite the leaves and dirt tousling it.

A barely audible gurgle rumbled in the man's throat, and quickly her attention averted from her reflection to his impending corpse. She should have flown into a terrified panic, as any human still within the confines of their right mind would have; but instead, she opened the door of the truck she hadn't even realized had been parked on the side of the road and pushed him out. He hit the ground with a dull thud and she shut the door, moving over to the driver's seat.

That's when she noticed the pain starting to escalate. It was hardly noticeable at first, but soon it became so prominent that it was overwhelming her. She opened her mouth to groan, but no sound other than a choked whimper came forth. The puncture wounds on her body began to throb so violently that she seized all over, absolutely frozen with agony. She somehow managed to look down at her injuries to see the gold caps of bullets crowning from each entryway.

The torture was almost too severe for her to handle consciously, but as she fell across the passenger seat, still petrified, she was able to scream so loudly that the glass in the rearview mirror rattled. When she could feel the bullets topple out of her body in little bloody clumps, the anguish began to subside. She was left a startled heap, shivering wildly in the aftermath of the torment and struggling to catch her breath.

As the suffering waned and finally became a numb ache, she heard a sound like a purr coming from inside her throat. Although she had drank to her fill, something deep within her still craved the blood of another man. Even more curious were the fresh emotions beginning to surface: an intense rage coupled with an extreme appetite for revenge; a vast sadness; and a quiet longing, all of which burned hotly inside her chest.

She suddenly knew who she was looking for.