The universal truth of nature is that every species has a predator.
However, the rabbit doesn’t ponder or even acknowledge the hawk’s existence or intentions. It just cringes when the shadow crosses its path. I imagine my prey feels that same chill right before the blitz. Awareness without understanding.
Camouflage is my first weapon. A tube of blackout lipstick and I’m a Goth. A tweed jacket and I’m a professor. Whatever it takes to cross her path.
However, tonight, despite my best work and intentions, my traps yielded nothing. I was ready to pack it in and go back to my den hungry when my hunter’s sense detected something.
Adrenaline zinged through me as I heard the faint click of a wobbly high-heel shoe on the dark sidewalk.
It was Saturday night and I looked the part. Nice suit and good hair, still looking cool after a night crawling the bars. She didn’t even notice me as I flicked the screen on my phone, blending into the urban landscape.
I waited until she was not quite half a block ahead of me. As I fell in behind her, I savored the thought of the upcoming hour: my finest, her final.
She swam up the sidewalk unaware she was dragging me in tow. Her heels tapped out an inebriated message in Morse code, as she meandered home. Stumbling under the faint late night streetlights feeble glow, she dug around her purse for her keys. She turned up a dark alley that was empty except for the drunk staccato of her heels that announced her arrival.
I watched in complete awe, never has a raptor stalked such a clueless rabbit.
She continued fishing in her purse, one of the bags shoulder straps fell to her elbow. I watched her take out her cell phone and place it between her chin and her shoulder. Leaning against the wall she muttered a curse, belched, and then got ahold of the key chain and fumbled with it.
Her keys slid from her hand and then the cell phone slipped from her shoulder and joined the keys in a metallic jangled crash on the garbage lined alley.
“Aw shit…goddamn keys.” She slurred as she discreetly glanced over her shoulder and then bent down and reached for the keys. It was a slow dance with the stucco wall as she slithered down to a knee and grasped at the phone and the keys.
Her other hand meanwhile moved deftly to her purse and placed a strong grip on the straight razor.
In that moment, knowing that her hand reached for such a blade, I realized that I was not dealing with such a “helpless” creature. No, this was a prey aware of dangers that could lurk all around her and prepared to deal with that evil “thy kingdom come”.
If I had a heart it would’ve been beating in excitement with the knowing that this woman chose to be formidable, even dangerous to the elements around her.
I was already behind her when raised up from her knee and slashed through the air with the straight razor.
The blade cut deeply into my raised hand. The slash would’ve torn through my neck had I been human.
I could feel the surprise radiate from her body.
Again, she cut through the air with the blade. This time I grasped hold of it. However, I could sense no fear in her resolve.
She let go of the blade and stepped away reaching into her purse.
Boom! She was down again, this time hard enough to knock the wind out of her.
Fuck this. A mark this drunk wouldn’t put up a fight, couldn’t thrill with delicious soundless terror. I nudged her head with my foot and turned to cross the street.
“Freak,” she hissed.
“Excuse me?” I still had one foot on the curb, but hadn’t turned around.
“You heard me. Did Mommy dress you tonight, fuck face?” If she hadn’t laughed, I would’ve kept walking. She laughed.
Two short steps backwards and I was towering over her. By then, she had rolled over and was stretched out on her side, propped up on one elbow like she was waiting for a masseuse who was late for their standing appointment. My feet straddled her legs.
I fell forward on her, pinning her to the ground. That was my thing. No fancy footwork, no chatter. Just 185-lbs of muscled surprise. “Like a bag of bricks dropped from a 10th-story window” was how one coroner had measured my impact.
But my landing pad wasn’t there. My face bounced off the cracked sidewalk just as her arched barefoot caught my throat on the upswing of a perfect roundhouse kick.