With Stealth and Grace, The Hunter Roams

by Mikal Trimm

 

Look at me.  You want to mess with me?

 

Didnít think so.

 

You see me cominí, and you know, you just know the badness is here, you smell it on me, man, you can taste the poison.  Iím cominí, then Iím past you, bam, like that, and you say a little prayer under your breath, Ďcause you know the evil just walked by and let you live.  Keep prayiní, little mouse, Ďcause I was cool with you this time, but next time . . .

Iím moviní, Iím motivatiní, and the sidewalk pushes me away, Iím takiní ten-foot strides, jumpiní like an astronaut now, and I gotta slow it down, gotta cool it off some, donít let the cattle see the god shininí, donít need the worship, man.  Not yet, anyway, not Ďtil I ask for it.  I bring it back down to Earth, rein in the power, keep it real.  I just hold it inside, bottle it up, got to have some control here . . .

Thatís it.  Thatís what Iím talkiní about.

I need a drink, and then I hunt.

*    *    *

Now Iím in the dark, oh yeah, this is my realm, Iím the tiger, people, Iím the big cat and youíre my prey.  The music beats like the jungle heat, the lambs and rams mingle and bleat, and Iím hungry now, yes oh yes.  Poor little sheep donít even know Iím stalkiní them. 

ďWhatcha want?Ē says the man at the bar, and Iím sayiní I want to tear out your throat and drink the juices, I want to chew up your gristle and splinter your bones, little baa-baa, what about that?  Can you put that on my tab?

ďJack and Coke.Ē  Lucky man, you might just see tomorrow.  I drop some bills and take off with the drink, moviní around the edges of the dance floor, circliní the herd.  The drinkís gone before I choose my victim, so I go order another, wonderiní if they can see my eyes yet, see them glowiní in the dark, and Iím sweatiní already, the power is pushiní out my pores, too soon, too soon.  I gotta take the edge off, here, gotta make my own time.

I hit the bathroom, lock a stall door, and I breathe for a minute, just let some air in, Iím burniní up, man, the power is crazy strong tonight.  I need more control, I need to tighten up here, what Iím sayiní, so I reach in my sock to find my medication, my special reserve, I call it, and I swallow the magic down with the rest of the Jack and wait.

Oh, yeah, here it is, brother, the tiger is back, and Iím smooth now, Iím on top of it.  Open the stall, hit the sinks, splash a little cool water on my face, and I see me in the mirror, my badness shininí through, and Iím amazed all over that these people donít see it too.  I donít look like the rest of you.  The animal is right under the skin, the pale white skin stretched almost too tight to cover up the truth of me, the black hair slick as a jaguarís coat.  I stand out, man, I freakiní resonate.

Another drink, Iím makiní the rounds again, and I see her, my little sacrifice, my main course, and sheís lookiní ready, gettingí off the dance floor hot and sticky, sittiní down now and I move in, sheís mine, if sheís lucky I might even play with her for a while before I take her down, and the power is rushiní up and my head is roaring--

ďWhat the hell you think youíre doing, buddy!Ē

--and the power is too much, itís coming too fast--

ďHe grabbed my tit!  Carl, that asshole just grabbed my tit!Ē

--I overmedicated, man, the power is trapped inside, it canít get out, and my mouth is working without me, ďS-s-sorry, I d-donít know what h-h-happened, I just uh tripped, man,Ē and I canít move, Iím trying to get back control, and I see this guyís fist just floating through the air, just ambling my way, and then it hits--

*    *    *

Thereís blood on my shirt.  My new shirt.  Silk.  I threw up on my shoes, too, the power and the drugs were too much for me.  I hurt, my head, my neck, and Iím still dizzy from the adrenaline, but the power is resting now, back under control.

I can see the bar from where Iím sitting, waiting in the shadows in an alley across the street, and Iím not hungry anymore, not hot for the hunt.  Now Iím cold, Iím ice, Iím frigging Everest here.

They come out late, the stupid ewe and her stud ram, and theyíre drunk and clumsy, weaving and laughing, not looking for a car but just tripping their way down the street, and I follow them from across the way, the power a frozen lump in my stomach, but thawing . . . .

They stop at a dark corner, itís late and the neighborhood isnít the best but they donít care, they can smell the musk in the air, they want to rut like the animals they are.  Theyíre still sniffing around each other when I glide across the street, not even noticing me until I speak.

ďHey

One word, but the powerís working now, itís cold and hard and soís my voice and they look up, startled, then the guy recognizes me somewhere in his little sheep brain and heís too stupid to be afraid, he canít smell the danger in the air.  He swells up his chest, tries to be menacing, says, ďWhassa matter?  You didnít learn your lesson yet?Ē

She laughs, and I let him strut for a heartbeat or two, and the power is waiting for me to call it, Iím in control now.  I close my eyes and release the badness.

Then I change.

And they finally get it, they see the evil, baby, they see the tiger, but itís too late, little ones, youíve been cut from the herd.

Smiling, I show them my claws.

 

Copyright © Mikal Trimm 2004

Photo Copyright © Eric Marin 2004

About the Author:

Mikal Trimm writes stories and poems and songs.  The stories and poems may be found in several publications both on- and offline, including Infinity Plus, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, NFG and Say....  His songs must be heard in person.  He currently lives outside Austin, Texas, due to circumstances beyond his control. 

 

Lone Star Stories * Speculative Fiction and Poetry with a Texas Twist * Copyright © 2003-2004

 

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