Monday, 2 September 2013

Creatures of the Night - A Short Story

With apologies for the dreadful teenage schoolgirl quality of the writing. This was in my head and wanted out and there was nowhere else to put it.

Names changed to protect the guilty.....

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Ben sat on the steps of a London house, sheltered in the doorway.  A cool breeze scampered past, trailing familiar night-time smells of chicken bones, cigarettes and the faint far-off whiff of a fox doing its rounds of the neighbourhood dustbins.


His steady gaze took in the darkened street. The blue glow of televisions seeped beneath curtains, the steady thump-thump of some generic r-and-b track escaped through the open upstairs window of a teenager sent to bed hours ago, and the hissed tones of a one-sided doorstep argument on a mobile phone momentarily caught Ben’s attention before melting back once more into the general white-noise of the city.


He stood and stretched, feeling the hard ground cold beneath his bare feet. He had spent countless nights this way. He was as much a part of this secret moonlit life as the fox, the insomniacs and the rat that his eyes now fell upon, its tail slipping behind the rubbish bag as it scuttled by in search of tasty scraps.


Slowly, silently, Ben stretched one long leg in front of another and made his way down the steps. Despite his scruffy outward appearance, he had the natural lithe grace of a dancer, and his soft tread made no sound as he crept towards the rodent’s dark hideaway. His senses were taut as piano wire, the level intensity of his eyes such that his head barely moved on his shoulders as he rounded the corner. 


There.


With half of its small body buried in an empty tin, the rat's twitching rear end made an oblivious target to Ben’s experienced hunter’s eye.  No flicker of doubt played across Ben’s face. Not the slightest whimper of conscience. He was hungry. It had been an impossibly long time since he last ate. Perhaps this unfortunate creature was an unorthodox meal, but what might incite horror in others was an everyday truth for one with such constant, gnawing need as Ben. 


In a flash of fur and blood, the rat was his. Clamping his jaw on the neck of the struggling critter, Ben felt bones crack and crunch beneath his teeth. A moment later, a last desperate convulsion, and the creature hung, limp, from his grasp.


Ben turned and carried his prize back up the steps. He sat, calmly licked a trickle of warm blood from his lips, and turned his cold stare back upon the street. Satisfied that nobody had witnessed his crime, he began to gorge on his unwholesome dinner.


He heard a soft noise behind him. Jealously guarding his food, Ben risked a glace over his shoulder. It was his sister, another creature of the night like himself.


She sniffed the death in the air, registered his kill and settled herself a respectful distance from him, her beautiful amber eyes quietly surveying the street as his had done only minutes before.  With her willowy frame and copper-coloured hair she was able to twist others to her will, but Ben gave no quarter to her beguiling powers. She was family, but they had not spoken in years.


Her presence diminished Ben’s pleasure in his meal. Taking hold of the rat once more, he lifted its mauled corpse and strode past his sister. He would enjoy this kill alone, indoors.  A small ‘click’ sounded as the magnet on his collar activated the catflap.


With the rat in his mouth and blood on his furry white paws, Ben headed for the bedroom. Perhaps The Staff would appreciate his trophy.