Mia froze, held her breath. Listened.
The encroaching night pressed in on her, warm, humid…silent, the wild thumping of her heart the only sound that broke its canopied darkness. She turned a slow circle, eyes probing the trees and dense underbrush crowding the running trail, alert for the tiniest movement, the rustle of a branch, the turn of a leaf.
She let out her pent breath, along with a nervous laugh. She had only imagined the soft footfalls pacing her, that crisp snap of a twig. Nothing stirred in the moon-dappled shadows.
With a shake of her head, she set off down the path once more in an easy jog. But her mind wasn’t easy; heat knifed between her shoulder blades, as if eyes were boring into her back. The sweat beading her body turned cold. Goose flesh prickled her arms.
More times than she could count, she had run this trail as twilight was bleeding into night. But this was the first time she had felt anxious, almost…afraid.
Up ahead, light funneled into the woods where the trees gave way to the open field that lay behind her house. Welcoming street lights winked beyond the expanse of brown summer grass. Almost home.
Mia broke into a run.
Her sneakers slapped the packed dirt, faster, harder. Her breath rasped in and out. Just a few more steps and she’d be in the open…
Something crashed into her back. She barely got her arms up in time to protect her face before she was slammed to the ground. Then grabbed by the ankles and dragged backward.
Mia raised her head, saw the moonlit field receding, and opened her mouth to scream, but her breath had been knocked out, and all that came out were pitiful, strangled squeaks.
Her body was jerked to the side, and the trail disappeared as she was pulled feet first into the darkness beneath the trees.
Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod!
Her attacker halted, released her ankles.
Mia knew that most likely she would die this night, but she would not go down without a fight. Her daddy had taught her to give as good as she got, and she intended to do just that.
She rolled onto her back, and kicked with strong runner’s legs at the hulking shadow. Her feet connected, but instead of falling back—at least a little—as she expected, her assailant growled, grabbed her legs, and easily forced them apart, dropping to his knees between them.
Mia sucked in a breath, and this time succeeded in letting loose a scream of sorts; but she knew it wasn’t loud enough to reach beyond the dense woods. “Please…don’t…”
He hunched over her. In a blind panic, she struck out with her fists, striking his face and chest. Again he growled, the sound low and menacing…inhuman.
Mia’s heart stuttered, fear squeezed it in an icy fist.
He grabbed her flailing hands, and with one of his, pinned them to the ground above her head. Then slowly, slowly his head descended, blocking out the fitful moonlight.
She caught a glimpse of long wild hair framing a shadowed, not-quite-right face, and yellow glowing eyes before strong fingers grasped her chin and forced it upward. He buried his face in the hollow of her throat, and sniffed. Again, he growled. Sniffed. And licked.
What was he doing? What was he going to do?
God in heaven, what is he?
His teeth grazed her tender skin. Mia squeezed her eyes shut, whimpered in fear.
He released her chin, and she felt her tank top yanked up. He roughly pushed her sports bra above her breasts, in his haste scratching her with his fingernails—claws?
Again, she felt the rasp of his tongue, but this time over her puckered nipples. And between her splayed legs, the hardness of his arousal. And Mia knew without a doubt that before she died, he was going to rape her.
She buckled beneath him, attempting to throw off his body. But it was like trying to move a mountain. With her hands pinned over her head, and her body pinned beneath his, she was helpless.
Tears trickled from her eyes. She would never get married, have children. Never grow old. She would…she would…would…
He pressed harder between her legs. Her clit throbbed in answer.
She sucked in a startled breath. How could she…she couldn’t be…he was going to…how?
His teeth closed over a nipple, sucked, pulled, bit down. He ground against her mound. She moaned.
This is crazy…he’s going to kill me and I’m—
In a sudden flurry of movement, he rolled her over onto her stomach. Before Mia could process what was happening, he was peeling her yoga pants and panties over her hips and down her legs.
Fear pushing every thought except escape from her mind, she scrabbled to her hands and knees, only to be brought up short when he grabbed her ponytail and hauled her back. She squealed. Fresh tears flooded her eyes. “Let me go…please…”
Still on her knees, he straightened her upper body until her back made contact with his chest. He slowly tugged her hair until her head rested in the crook of his shoulder. He spoke for the first time, his voice a guttural whisper, “No.” His free hand came to rest on her sex. “Mine.” He slipped an incredibly long finger inside. “This is…mine!”
To her horror, Mia realized she was wet. “No…don’t…please…”
In answer, he forced her head down, and her legs apart. And in one swift lunge, buried his cock inside her.
She shrieked, clawed at the leafy forest floor, trying to pull herself forward. His fingers dug into her hipbones, holding her tight as he thrust into her. Again. And again.
Mia’s traitorous body again responded, and it shamed her. Sobbing and moaning, she renewed her struggles, bucking her hips, tearing at the ground.
She heard a sharp smack, then a stinging pain on her butt. “Stop!” he snarled, followed by a slap on her other cheek. Then two more smacks…harder.
“Oh…” Mia was so startled she immediately stilled.
He grunted in seeming satisfaction, and resumed fucking her, but at a slower pace.
Her face burned, her butt burned…and so did her pussy. Mia tried to fight the wanton lust coursing through her body; but when his hand cupped her sex, and swirled her flowing juices over her clit, she was lost.
Her orgasm crashed over her, buffeted her body like waves on a storm-tossed sea. She screamed, only dimly aware of his howl, of his hot semen shooting deep inside her pussy…and of his hand circling her throat pulling her upper body to him once more, tilting her head to one side…
Moaning, quivering aftershocks lashing her body, Mia’s eyes fluttered open. In her peripheral, she saw golden, feral eyes and teeth…so many teeth. Her eyes closed as they tore into the side of her neck. Ripped flesh. Searing pain/pleasure shot out from the bite, racked her body, and exploded in her pussy. “Arrghh…” she gurgled.
She felt him cum again. Felt his teeth sink deeper. Heard his sated growl.
The jangling alarm clock woke her. Automatically, Mia’s hand shot out, and shut it off. She swung her legs out of bed, and padded in the dark to the bathroom. As she was peeing, last night’s dream wafted into her foggy brain—the fear, the struggle, the rape, her enjoying the rape, the vicious bite that she had also enjoyed.
God, I must need a man.
She wiped, absently noting the copious amount of her juices there.
Really, really bad.
No time to think about that now, though. Time to get ready for work.
She flipped on the light, reached for her toothbrush. And froze.
In the mirror she saw a woman with a dirt-smeared face, straggly, tangled red hair coming out of a ponytail…and a river of dried, crusty blood covering her throat and breast.
She gently touched her fingers to the warm, pink scar on her neck. “Oh…my…God…”