– by Douglas D. Hawk
Watching from the moon night shadows, his dementia distorted her, remade her, morphed her into Dream Girl. Standing in the small clearing, she was radiant and stunning, a vision of love and adoration; a delusion of lust and wanton possession. The silky skirt molded around her, clinging to her thighs, and the sweater hugged her body, amplifying her plentiful breasts.
Seemingly unconcerned and unaware of her admirer, her stalker, shadowing her as she meandered without a care in the world, Dream Girl stepped off the sidewalk. She started strolling across the grass, snaking her way among Denver City Park’s multitude of trees. The zoo and museum were closed. There were no late night joggers or strolling lovers. It was after midnight and the empty park was illuminated by June’s bright full moon. The Strawberry Moon.
Strawberries, her admirer thought, the color of blood. Would her blood taste as sweet?
As her stalker moved with the stealthy grace of a puma, Dream Girl paused, her head turning so her beautiful, moon-washed features stood out in the darkness. Her expression grew curious and for a fleeting moment, the hint of a frown touched her exquisite mouth.
He knew that Dream Girl sensed him. He was predator, she was prey. His smile was feral. Yet, as he watched, her frown vanished and her expression grew impassive. That annoyed him. Soon she would comprehend the danger and like all prey, her blood would turn cold, her gut would clench and she would run. Run for her life. Run to her death.
The stalker sighed at the thought. The chase. The inevitable capture. The consummation of his desires and his lust.
Dream Girl paused for only a few scant seconds and then resumed walking among the trees. If she was worried, it did not show. Her stride was leisurely, her exquisite body relaxed. Moving effortlessly, she exuded the easy confidence of one unconcerned about the night and the moonlit darkness and what might lurk in it. Her naiveté heightened her stalker’s hunger. At the end, innocent prey was so gratifying. The struggling. The screaming. The begging.
Again the stalker sighed. His breaths were shallow, his heart thumped, his nether regions tingled.
A figment of the night, he crept toward her. Dream Girl would know him. Again. Love him. Again. She would submit her body to him. Again. And then her life.
Peering into the murky gloom beyond the moon-washed clearing, Dream Girl stopped, her eyes widened as her stalker emerged into the silvery glow. She did not scream. She did not run.
She smiled. A toothsome smile; a smile filled with delight and appreciation and needle-pointed fangs.
Disconcerted, he stared.
Dream Girl again morphed…
Puma became prey. A sharp, momentary cry of terror and pain. A ripped throat spurted hot blood. Dream Girl drank deeply.
Douglas D. Hawk is a Colorado native, born and raised in the San Luis Valley. He and his wife have lived in Denver for 47 years. He sold his first novel, Moonslasher, to Critic’s Choice in 1986. The following year he sold the same publisher The Occult Madonna. The Devouring, published by Leisure Books in 1994, was named one of “the ten best horror novel of the year” by Science Fiction Chronicles. His short story, “Plane Scared”, published in the Horror Writers Association anthology Deathport, won a Colorado Authors’ League Award for best short story.