It was just past midnight, and once again, a phantom roamed the streets of
That phantom was me, and I was on the prowl for flesh of men. Hmmm, that
probably sounded bad when I put it like that. Don’t worry, it’s probably not what
you’re thinking. Toluca
I wasn’t going to just go into a bar and service the first drunk douche bag who offered to buy me a drink, though. There was no thrill in that. I preferred the hunt. I preferred men of a more bestial breed. And the best way to start the hunt was to set the bait.
Being a pretty young thing, I was already a good lure just as I was. Hooker-short black skirt, low cut red top, high heels, fishnets. A confused and frustrated expression of a young woman who had been heading for the nightclub, only to take a wrong turn and end up in the bad part of town. After the number done on the city during the Fantasmas de Medianoches’ war on the cartels, the bad part of town was practically a whole town in and of itself. Six years since that battle and they still hadn’t cleaned up all the scrap.
was still broke. What could one expect? The devastated northern district of the
city had become a refuge for squatters and the headquarters for splinter
factions of the cartels trying to get business running again. Despite the
government crackdown on such activities, it was hard to clean the rats
completely out of the sewers, try though one might. Mexico
As I walked from the brightly lit business center, where tourists and the wealthier residents wined, dined, and danced, I slipped through the side streets. Barely three blocks from the festivities, the first row of demolished buildings formed a hard line between civilization and ruin. For some, this mile-wide scar through the city had almost become a landmark, a testament to both superhuman power and a stand against the corruption that had long plagued the country. For others, it was perhaps a memorial, a lament of the walking natural disasters that the Doorways had vomited into our world. For others still, it was just another cave to squat in.
A pretty girl would have to be suicidal or a complete imbecile to walk these broken streets. I was neither. I was the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the jaguar pretending to be a kitten. I didn’t shy away from trouble. I wanted trouble to come to me.
What can I say, I was kind of messed up like that.
I stayed on the sidewalk lining the intact houses and apartments along the dividing line of the wreckage. A short wall had been erected to keep people out of the ruined landscape, metal barricades erected to cut off the roads, but it had all been shoddily constructed, and no one really guarded the entry ways like they were supposed to. Heck, even on the intact side, this whole row of houses was almost completely abandoned. Only every second or third streetlight still worked, most either busted out or never repaired after shorting. Light pollution from deeper in the city reflected off the low clouds and gave the streets a slight ambient glow that I could see with easily enough, but most would find the area too dark to risk going through.
It took me all of two minutes before I heard people coming towards me. I’d already seen the glimmers of people skulking in the shadows. Many were soft souls, the homeless and the runaways just looking for a refuge. A few were hardened, rough men looking out for potential enemies or prey. I’d hit areas like this before. I knew the routine.
I wasn’t supposed to have noticed them yet, so I kept my pace steady, my heels clicking down the walkway. I paused at an intersection, pulled out a phone from my dainty little clutch purse, and tapped on the screen a bit. I wasn’t actually doing anything, but it looked like I was either texting somebody for help or messing with my GPS. Distracted by frustration and half-blinded by the brightness of the screen, a young woman would be easy prey for the three scruffy thugs coming towards me.
What would they try? Simple theft? Assault? Rape? Kidnapping? All of the above?
They slid into formation, one man quickly and quietly, for him, circling around to cross the street on the other side of the intersection, then head toward me along the walkway up ahead. I saw his glimmer in the shadows between the street lights. The two other guys paused a bit to give him time to get close, before picking up again once they saw he was back on our side of the street.
I let out a frustrated sigh and angrily shoved my phone back in the purse. “Such bullshit,” I muttered with that perfectly prissy upper class lilt. I started to turn down the street, heading back towards the business district just as the men got close enough to really check me out in the dim light.
“Hey girlie, you lost?” came the rough voice. With practiced timing, I whirled, looking startled. My eyes went a wide as I shrank back a bit. I made sure to do a slight stumble on my heels, not enough to fall, but enough to give them the idea that I would not be able to run very well in my footwear.
“OH! Um, no, no, I’m good,” I said, adding a bit of a frightened edge to my voice.
The two men, one tall and buff, the other short and stocky, both grinned. They were dressed in shorts and tee-shirts with no discernable gang paraphernalia, but my vision caught a glimmer of a little mark on the inner nook of their left elbows. It was a tattoo that would be almost invisible in normal light, but would glow under a UV lamp or black light. A newer way for the cartels and gangs to tag their members so they could walk right beneath the noses of the authorities. I could see the marks with vision that saw beyond the range of human limits, but I didn’t react to them.
“Nah, come on, pretty thing like you? You should be careful. This a dangerous area, you know? How ‘bout we walk you someplace safe, huh?” The taller man spoke with a
accent. I wondered if he’d come here thinking to take advantage of new
opportunities or if he’d just drifted in when the Fantasmas dismantled the
operations in his homeland. Belize
“Yeah, come on,” the stocky guy said, reaching out for my arm.
“N-no!” I said, my lips quivering a bit. I backed up, sliding right into the arms the man I heard come up behind me.
His build was a bit wiry, but his arms were strong. A normal woman of my build would have been helpless in his grasp. I smelled the musk of him, and looked over my shoulder. A ruggedly handsome face. Maybe he’d be my ride tonight.
“NO!” I cried.
He responded by slapping a rough hand over my mouth. “Quiet!” he hissed. “We wouldn’t want to scar that pretty face!”
There was a glint of metal. The stocky guy had pulled out a knife. I almost smiled, but kept my expression scared. “Mmmmm!” I cried into the hand.
“Let’s go, let’s go!” handsome guy said. I kicked my legs, but the stocky guy stepped forward and grabbed me by the shoulder, holding the knife to my neck.
“Don’t think I won’t, bitch,” he said. “You got that? Don’t think I won’t!”
The taller guy grabbed my flailing legs, and the two hauled me off towards the boundary wall. Since we were at an intersection, there was a blockade of sandbags and steel beams bolted to form jacks-shaped obstacles to prevent anyone from driving through, while still allowing pedestrians to slip past. The fence that had provided a further barrier had been knocked down and no one had bothered to repair it.
I let them carry me through rubble-strewn streets, going a couple blocks in, before they hauled me into an only half-collapsed hotel. Stocky guy kicked the door in, and the rusted latch snapped off easily. I noticed there was no one inside, despite how prestigious this location was compared to other available options. But then, I also saw a black mark spray painted on the side of the building. Just a simple line down the corner, but it seemed to be enough to let people know this was not a building meant for just anyone to use.
At the other end of the hotel, a couple trashcan fires were going, with some other young men and some scruffy women drinking cheap liquor. They were the only witnesses as the men dragged me into the room.
Handsome guy threw me onto the bed. Stocky guy twirled his knife. Tall guy pulled out a flashlight, clicked it on, and set it in the corner so it would reflect somewhat off the moldy walls and illuminate the room enough for them to see what they were about to do.
The first one to get his pants down was Stocky guy, who stuck his knife in the wall so he could undo his belt. Handsome guy shoved him back. “Hey, man, I grabbed her.”
Stocky snatched his knife back up, and said, “Fuck you, man! I shut her up!”
“Fuck you both,” said the tall man, giving me a serious look. “I don’t think it’s her.”
The two looked at him, frowning. “What?” said Handsome.
Tall shook his head. “Look at her, she’s scared shitless,” he said. “Goddamn it.”
Handsome scratched the back of his head, giving me the once over. “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said. He suddenly didn’t seem so interested in me as he had been a moment ago. I would have to fix that.
“Shit.” Stocky looked me up and down, still holding onto his belt. Then, he shrugged. “Ah, fuck it, she’s still a nice piece. Why waste the opportunity?” He let his pants drop to his ankles, and this time stabbed the knife into the corner of the mattress. “She still looks sweet. Come here, bitch.” He reached to grab my leg.
Well, I’d have preferred if Handsome had grabbed me instead, but now that I had taken a good look at him, Stocky had a strong glimmer as well. His body would do well enough for my needs.
For Tall and Handsome, it appeared as though I had simply vanished. For Stocky, he suddenly found himself lost in a strange, euphoric fog. For me, I was now seeing through Stocky’s eyes.