It gets dark very early this time of year this far north.
By 4:00 PM, the sun is already set, and dusk is upon us. Definitely not the ideal conditions for a girl who looks as young as I do to be walking home alone. The route that I'd chosen from the Junior high school to the house was particularly off the beaten track and took me through several tranquil and deserted areas of town. No parent with even a shred of love in their heart for their child would allow them to make this walk at any time of year, let alone in the depths of winter.
It was just after I’d passed the cemetery and was about to turn onto the path through the woods that I became aware of his presence. At this point, he was what you would consider a safe distance behind me. I didn't want to turn around and look directly at him. Still, I could tell from the heavy footfall of his steps and the excited nature of his breathing that he was about 30 or 40 feet away. There were no other people around, and this road was a dead end with no houses on it, meaning that the chances of someone driving by were minimal. I was acutely aware that it was just him and me.
Despite many thoughts running through my mind at that moment, one above all was controlling me: 'if this situation is going to go down the way I think it will, I need to make a move right now.' I started to quicken my pace, not so much that it would be immediately apparent, but enough that I would significantly increase the distance between him and me. Unless that is, he really was following me and altered his speed to keep up. Sure enough, within a couple of seconds, I sensed him breaking into a slow jog in order to catch up and close the distance between us.
'OK, Carmilla, time to make a choice: do I run or do I turn and confront this man?' I was right at the head of the woodland park at this point, so I decided to turn around.
"Hello, mister. Can I help you with something? Are you lost?"
I detected the slightest hint of surprise that I'd acted in this way. Still, he quickly regained his composure and continued his slow approach.
"Hey there, little girl. I was just out here looking for my dog. I think he went into these woods. Do you want to help me find him?" He was smiling at me now.
"What's your dog's name?" I asked.
"Your dog's name. What is it? If I'm going to help you find him, I need to shout his name."
"Oh, erm… yeah. His name is Fred." Was he surprised by my question, or had he hesitated because he'd needed to make up a name?
"Well, I'm kind of scared of dogs. I think I'm just going to go home. Sorry I can't help you."
"Can I at least walk you home? Which way are you headed? It's dark out here and not safe for little girls like you."
He was edging ever closer to me now and had a big, creepy smile plastered across his face.
"I live just on the other side of these woods. Trust me, I can make it just fine."
"I'd still like to walk with you if that's OK. I mean, I'm sure my dog is in there somewhere." His icy blue eyes were laser-focused on mine now. It almost felt like he was trying to hypnotically control me with his gaze.
"If you really think Fido is in there, I guess you should look for him."
"Fido is a crazy old mutt," he said, "I'm sure I will find him in there."
There is no dog.
This man definitely means trouble.
Time to take action.
I turned and started running into the words. While I had a couple of seconds head start on him, the fact is that the body of a 13-year-old girl can't run as fast as a fully grown man. He caught up with me ridiculously fast, so quickly, in fact, that we were still within view of the road. The street lamp gave off enough light for us to be seen by a passerby if one were to approach.
"What did you run off for?" he asked, "I'm not going to hurt you."
"Sorry, mister, I just got scared at the thought of your dog running around in here. I got bitten by something pretty nasty when I was younger and the thought of it happening again freaks me out."
"OK, I understand. Let's keep walking, and I'll keep you safe from any stray dogs. Hey, are you hungry? I have some food I could share with you. Let's find a nice place to sit down and eat."
"What do you have?" I was kind of hungry, as it happened.
"Delicious homemade spaghetti and Bolognese sauce. Let's go a bit further into the woods, and then I'll share it with you."
He didn't have a bag with him, and there was no way he was hiding some container full of food in his pockets. This was bullshit.
"Erm, no thanks mister. My elders say I'm allergic to garlic, so I shouldn't eat Italian food."
"OK then. Let's just keep walking." His heart rate was increasing, and the adrenaline was kicking in. I could smell the excitement oozing from his pores. "Here, let me hold your hand. You will be safer that way."
He didn't wait for me to respond, grabbing my hand in his clammy grip. He was a strong one, it was apparent. There was no way a regular girl of my height and frame would be able to escape this bastard. We walked on and were soon far away from any streetlight, and any semblance of safety. Soon, things were going to take a turn very much for the worse. He clearly sensed this, too, letting go of my hand and standing in front of me to block the path.
The disingenuous smile had gone now: "OK little lady, fun time is over. Well, for you anyway. My fun is just about to begin." He withdrew a set of handcuffs from his pocket and dangled them in front of my face.
"I seriously fucking doubt that, Johnny."
This was the part that I always loved the most: the look of utter shock on these assholes' faces when I first call them by their name. I'd seen it dozens of times before, and it never grew old. Now, for the next part: he’ll be rocked back for a few seconds before trying to reassert his authority.
"Wait… what? How did you know…"
I didn't let him finish his question: "Johnny Mutton. Pedophile, rapist and child killer. We've been tracking you for a while." Damn, he looked stupid, still dangling those cuffs in front of him. "Guess what? We found you."
Just watching the cogs of a regular human's brain slowly turn was not my favorite part of this whole game, though. 'C'mon, work it out already. Then you can pretend it doesn't matter, that you’re the boss here, and we can get down to business.'
"Well, I don't give a fuck what you think you know." Oh good, the bravado had returned. It was always more fun when they still thought they had the upper hand. "I'm still going to torture you, rape you and then leave little pieces of you scattered all over this forest."
Again, with the dangling handcuffs. What was wrong with this shithead?
"Which hand should we start with? You want my left?"
The fucking shmuck had a look on his face like it was Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one. He advanced and roughly placed the handcuff around my left wrist.
"Things are going to get real ugly now, little lady." He was smirking; he genuinely believed he was still in control.
"At least we can agree on something. OK, jackass, let's get this over with."
I was going to make this quick. This piece of shit wasn't even worth toying with. I grabbed the other end of the cuffs and clasped it around his wrist; there was no way he was going to escape me now.
"What are you doing, kid? You think that's…"
I jumped up and sank my fangs deep into his neck. I would feast on him later, but for now, ripping out half of his jugular would lead to a suitably painful death. I climbed off of him and spat out the chunk of flesh onto the ground in front of him. In his shocked state, he actually bent down and tried to pick it up, as though that would fix his lethal wound. I wasn't going to allow this sick bastard even that tiny crumb of false hope, though, and dragged him away, into the middle of the clearing.
"Any last words, Johnny?"
This was a little cruel of me, what with the fact that this asshole was choking to death on his own blood. I didn't have much sympathy, though. He let out a pathetic gurgling sound, looking up at me pleadingly.
"Sorry, didn't catch that."
He was as white as a sheet now and not long for this world; time to monologue.
"You guys just don't put in the effort any more. I mean, for fuck's sake, I only got into town last night. I was obviously indisposed during the daylight hours, meaning I know you had zero time to prep this. Damn, I remember the old days when sick fucks like you would at least put in the effort. You know, a couple of weeks of following your victim, regular drive-bys, watching the home through binoculars, learning the names of friends. But you? You just spotted me and decided there and then to act on your impulses. Fucking pathetic. It didn't even occur to you how dumb it would be for a girl to be walking through the woods on her own? It took me less than two minutes to lure you in here."
His breathing was extremely labored now. He had moments left.
"OK, fair enough. Nobody expects one of our kind to look the way I do. But hey, like I said, you should've put in the legwork. Goodbye, Johnny."
And with that, I decided to feast. It always tastes better when they're still alive, even if only just.
Written by DariusMcCorkindale