(some years later...)

  A lone figure hunched shivering in the chill night air. The wind teased his ears with little sounds as if it wanted to feed on his fear. With grim determination he ignored the shuffle of newspapers and rattle of empty soda cans as they stumbled past him in the gutters of the downtown streets. His eyes were steadfast and bright as the memory of flames on blood while they watched the old building across the street. Amidst the refuse of the inner city, the chrome gleams peeking out from under the motorcycle covers looked like beacons guiding the way through the rusty-hinged doors they warded. The watcher saw which windows shed a dirty glow across the blanket of darkness. He clung to every shadow that passed through that glow.

  As he watched the shadows move in the windows, he thought about what he'd seen so far. His fingers clenched unknowingly on the charm dangling from his neck as the memories stabbed through his mind. The park, yes, that was where he'd seen them first. That fight, now that had been something! He grimaced as if he could still smell the stench like smoldering garbage, like corruption. So that's how the monsters fight, he thought. Pity they didn't just all kill each other. His memories followed the path these two had taken away from the park, to the pathetic little bar. He hadn't even had to get out of his car to see them go in. Young, he thought bitterly, the lines in his face accusing the shadows in the window. The male was definitely young, his carelessness had proved it. He'd seen him exit the bar with another man and return alone, leaving a slumped form in the darkness behind him. When he came back out the blond woman had been with him. The watcher crushed his lust at the vision of her. Demon, he reminded himself. They were unconscious of him, absorbed in their own wants, as he cautiously followed them to this miserable piece of town where he waited now, shivering in the wind. The cold made him hate them all the more as he sat in mortal discomfort and they played at being human.

©Sonja Torres 1997

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