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Dreaming.

Blood.

The scissoring of metal through soft, yielding flesh.

The Beast (as he had been nicknamed by the Media, a name he had actually grown quite fond of), slumbered in his bed, lost in the sweet dreams of his latest Taking. His latest offering to his Lust of Blood. So young and supple, lithe and limber. She had fought against him quite well. His body jerked in half-remembered movements, a choreographed dance of flesh against flesh.

Newspaper clippings decorated his room like Norman Rockwell paintings adorned the walls of other homes (Like Mamma’s house, full of those idyllic portraits of happy families that were nothing more than painted lies).

Newspaper fragments that told of missing and found bodies. Mutilated beyond recognition. Pieces missing and speculation on what had been done with the aforementioned missing parts. How he enjoyed those. The imaginations of some reporters could be quite amusing as well as helpful.

In a corner of his room sat a squat, dingy-white refrigerator where he kept those much-speculated upon pieces. Trophies? No, he wouldn’t be so crass as to consider his treasures as something so trivial. They were memories. Touchstones of a happier time.

The Beast (so named for the atrocities he visited upon young victims but it was a moniker that also fit his appearance) rolled his huge, hairy body over, rising briefly up from the depths of dreams before sinking back down. Big, meaty hands grabbed at the pillow, readjusting it under his head.

Had he awakened, he would have noticed the woman standing beside the bed, cold, white hands clutching a long, serrated blade. Her hair moved as if it possessed a life of its own, unlike the girl herself, who had recently left the land of the living.

She stood stock-still, the moonlight from the lone, barred window, seeming to flow through her and around her but not really touching her. Not now and never again.

A great force was gathering. It started as a glow but there was no light. It was a hurricane of wind but the air was still. It was energy without release and it was directed at the great Beast.

After a thousand moments, or perhaps only an instant, he stirred, his lovely dreams ebbing away like the sea from the shore. What was that feeling? His teeth itched and his stomach trembled. He could feel sparks of electricity dancing upon his skin.

Opening his eyes, he rolled towards the window, senses springing awake as he felt something in his room. Something where nothing should be. He sat up on his elbows, looking into the hollowed-out eyes of the knife-wielding woman. She floated in the air, a thing that would drive even the strongest man to a heart attack or sheer babbling lunacy.

But the Beast was not afraid.

He didn’t know how to be afraid.

Mamma had taken care of that many years ago, conditioning him through beatings and time sent chained in the basement.

Not afraid, but learnedly cautious.

He had lived untold years, moving across the Earth like a scourge. He took and he killed and he lusted, but he stayed alive by his wits, honed to a sharp-edged perfection.

And he knew that whatever had brought this latest lovely plaything back to him was nothing to trifle with.

He saw the knife in her hands and recognized it as one of his own. The very one, in fact, he had used upon this young delicious girl.

The (wind) was still moving through (her) and he could feel it making (her) stronger, bending the boundaries that separated the place (she) was in, from the world he knew.

As he watched, fascinated, the knife came up and seemed to split the gauzy covering around her. The tip of the knife was now shiny and hard in the moonlight, very real and very attractive to him. He longed to reach out and touch the familiar steel, to caress it and put it to his lips and tongue.

But he stayed his hand and concentrated instead on this slow and steady progress from the netherworld to his world. Up, up and still further up until it floated above his head (hanging, waiting).

The womb opened, he worlds suddenly merged, he heard her voice. That sweet voice he had grown to know so well after all those hours in the basement, crying and pleading and begging him to stop, gibbering like a wild ape. The memory made him pause, squeezing his eyes shut as his thick tongue licked at his lips, leaving a slimy wetness across the cry, cracked surface.

He could hear her but it was in his head. After all, her throat and lips and tongue (delicious) were in no condition to be talking anymore or ever again. So he must be listening to nothing more than his own thoughts. He grinned his primeval grin and looked up at the weapon, dangling above him in a hand with cold blue fingernails.

Any other man would have been petrified.

But he was not any other man.

He was the Beast!

He simply asked, out loud, if there was something he could do for her, as he needed to get back to sleep. Lots to do tomorrow. Another young lady waited to be Taken, her soon-to-be newspaper picture had a space waiting on his wall. Busy, busy, busy.

Her answer came close to shocking him, as it was delivered with a horrible scream (silent) and the knife slashed down towards his bed, splitting the bulky, hard muscles and furry skin of his mammoth chest, piercing the organs and then moving swiftly south, ripping open chest, belly and groin.

It took only one slow beat of his heart to send his stinking, hot blood spurting from severed arteries, splashing his flesh and sheets, immediately creating a pool of gore in which he lay like pale, dying noodles in a steaming hot, crimson soup.

Still not believing, he listened to the faint (thundering) words she thrust violently into his head, for the first time in a long time, making him afraid. . .

“You forgot your knife!”