Wet. Warm. Sweet. The taste of her was still on his tongue. He was once again hard from the memory of where his flesh had been. He used his brief moment of consciousness to turn over. There, he pressed himself firmly against the mattress, eager to return to sweet dream he'd been having. But something wasn't right. In the space where she should have been was only a wrinkled sheet and a vacant pillow. She was gone.

Opening his eyes fully, he could see the room was lit by moonlight streaming in from a set of large glass French doors that stood opposite the bed. A dark silhouette stood in front of them with its hands pressed to the glass. He started when his eyes landed on it, but he soon after realized that it was her, standing by the window, staring out with her back to him.

Odd, he thought. It was not the most bizarre thing he'd ever encountered after a night's romp with a stranger, but something about the way she stood there, perfectly motionless, unnerved him. His choices were few: he could try to ignore it and hope that sleep would once again overtake him, or he could investigate. After a few seconds of thought, he deemed the former impossible, even though he would have enjoyed it very much. Instead, he propped himself up on his elbows and called to her.

"Hey," he said softly. He hoped that would be enough as he had hopelessly forgotten her name.

She turned slowly to face him, but the moonlight from behind her made it impossible to read her expression. She was silent for a moment before, finally, she said, "I think you should go."

He was puzzled. He'd been in almost exactly this position more times than he could count, but never once had he been asked to leave. He'd always waited until the morning and slipped out while the young lady was still asleep. Without thinking, his mouth formed the word and let it escape. "Why?"

She was quiet for a moment. Even without seeing her face clearly, he knew she was upset. Was it something he'd done? What? Unsavory scenarios began to race through his head. What if she suddenly felt that things had not been consensual? Even without evidence, something like that could ruin a man. He waited eagerly for her answer.

The words that came were far from anything he expected. They were soft, sad, and resigned. "He's coming for me."

He blinked the last remnants of sleep from his eyes. Had she really said that? Intellectually, it seem absurd, like she was playing some kind of game, and yet a chill still ran up his spine. "Who?" he asked.

"My father," she said in the monotone of a destroyed soul. "He promised to come for me. I didn't believe him. I should have." She paused and turned back toward the window. After a moment, she added, "I'm no longer pure."

"You're... no longer...." As he repeated her words, their meaning sank in. Something inside him was excited. His lower head tingled at the realization. And yet, this new knowledge also unsettled him further. It was enough to set him moving. He threw the sheets off of himself and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "What are you talking about?"

She whipped around and spoke with a note of frustration in her voice. "My father made me promise that I would never... give myself away. He said, if I ever did... he would end me." As the words left her mouth, she appeared to be feeling their full gravity. "He was a minister," she added. "A very righteous man."

"Was?" What was uneasiness turned to dread. Absurd as this conversation was, he had no doubt of its absolute sincerity, and he hoped against hope to be wrong about what she could mean by speaking in past tense.

She answered softly, sounding more like a child than the very adult woman he'd known before. "He died when I was twelve."

He backed away from her slowly. Anxiety gripped his chest as be played over and over in his mind the words that simply should not have been said. “This has to be a joke,” he offered.

“Do I look like I’m laughing?” she asked. Her tone was lifeless without a hint of anger.

No. She was serious. He couldn’t deny that she really believed what she was saying. “Well… how do you know? How do you know he’s coming?” he asked.

She looked down at her own naked body. “I can feel it.” Her eyes came back up to meet his. “My bones know it.”

“Well,” the man began, “why don’t you run?”

She shook her head. “It won’t stop him. He’ll find me no matter what.”

Man in the Fog.jpg

Before he could utter another word of protest, a slight movement caught his eye beyond the French doors. The pale moonlight fell starkly on a figure. It was bent and seemed to shamble toward the house. The woman gasped. "He's here! It's him." She turned to face her lover. "Please, you have to leave. I don't want him to hurt you."

He was now more alert than ever. He moved swiftly toward her. "What will he do to you if I leave?" he asked, placing a hand on each of her arms.

"I don't know," she said with a shake of her head. "But please go. I should never have dragged you into this!"

Her pleas fell on deaf ears. Seeing the fear in her eyes and the apparent unsteadiness of the shuffling figure filled him with renewed courage. Here, he sensed an opportunity for heroism. How hard could it be?

She cried out as he threw open the French doors. He marched straight down the walkway. The figure didn't so much as flinch, but kept up its own pace until at last they came face to face. One look at the creature, and the man's resolve was gone. Clouded gray eyes peered out of a cracked and discolored face. A toothless maw hung open, releasing a horrifying rasp. The man began to shake in the presence of this unearthly abomination.

Before he could even think of running, the creature grabbed him by the arm and tossed him aside like a rag doll. Dizzied from the fall, it took the young man a moment to regain his senses. When he did, however, he wished he hadn't. He watched as the shambling corpse disappeared into the house. The woman's screams ripped through the night air. The man sprang into action.

Faster and faster, he ran as far from the house as his legs could carry him. He didn't care that he was naked, but was glad that one night stands came with no obligations or promises.



Written by Jdeschene
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