My pulse raced, the thunder in my ears timed to the wild beating of my heart. Tonight I was going to do it. No hesitating. Now!
The ascent out of my dark safe home took too long, leaving me trembling, drenched in sweat by the time I stood in the world above.
So bright! Wonderful and terrifying in its brilliance. Colors I'd never dreamed existed flashed in my tearing eyes. I shivered, anticipation heady as warm blood flooding through me. The membrane of my newly grown wings quivered in the stirring night air. They were proof of my adulthood, though for a second I wished I was home safe with the horde.
A sudden rumble had me scrambling back into the shadows. A behemoth tore by, a blur and streak of red light. I followed the meteor with my bewildered eyes. Never had I imagined such a monstrous thing! I nervously stretched my clawed fingers, flexed my hooked toes.
Voices reached me, coming closer, and hunger stabbed at my gut with little claws of its own. With a running hop I scampered down a dark alleyway, instinctively seeking shelter. The creatures grew level with my hideaway and I mewled, imitating the felines who sometimes ventured into our world, deep underground.
The two residents of the above world stopped, peered towards my hiding place in the shadows. Licking my sharp teeth I purred again, drawing them closer. I balanced on my toes, proud of my strength. First I would feed, then explore this strange bright world holding such wonders.
But they stopped, these young creatures, the smaller tugging on the other's arm, drawing him away, back to the hurtful lights. I almost gave up, went home, but the hunger overrode all my fears. I followed them, senses filling with the heady scent of blood and flesh and sweat. The things turned along a narrow pathway and I let out a breath of relief, the soft earth welcome under my tender feet.
Beloved darkness closed around us, a relief to my dazzled eyes. This was my world, the cool night and shadows and the quiet rustles in the tall grass hedging the pathway. I slowed, the two small creatures joining a group of larger, more cumbersome adults. I'd flee if I could, scurry back to lie safely under the streets, but hunger was a quivering pain in my gut. I'd wait. I could be patient.
* * *
Tony kicked off the hot blanket, lying naked except for his boxers in the sweltering heat of the tent. He scowled into the darkness. "This is crap. I'm opening the flaps."
"No!" His brother's voice dropped to a hoarse whisper. "I saw something out there, Tony. I swear."
"Whatever, runt. I'm roasting in here."
Tony flicked on his flashlight and crawled to the door, undoing the zipper despite Kevin's whimpers behind him. This annual youth group camp out was boring. He wasn't coming back next year.
The zipper seemed loud in the silent campground, and Tony sucked in his breath at the absolute blackness outside. Where were the lights? There should at least have been one by the outhouse. And it was so quiet, not even the inevitable chirp of frogs at the pond.
"Tony, close the door!"
"Shut up!" He twirled on his brother, the flashlight beam catching the look of horror on his face. What…
A hot, fetid breath touched the back of his neck. Tony turned, his brain unable to make sense of the thing filling the doorway, until it opened its mouth on rows and rows of jagged teeth.
Artwork by: One Good Eye Photography
Dianne Harsock is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer.