Warning: This story contains graphic sexual acts and some foul language.

"I never thought I would return

To be consumed by you again,

Think you're cured, you'd see it come:

The folly of a monster love like you."

- Monster Love, Goldfrapp


Alma always thought of her mother when she was alone at night.

Before the girl started at the university, her mother would tirelessly reprimand her about personal safety, specifically about never taking a drink made by another person, watching her surroundings, and never staying out past sunset, at least, unaccompanied. She would always remind Alma the campus police were on duty twenty-four hours a day, whose job dictated an escort service to anywhere on campus.

Unfortunately, Alma's apartment lay outside the campus perimeter.

Nevertheless, she had not yet felt threatened or afraid of the things her mother relentlessly warned her about. Ironically, her mother was mugged and shot in front of a grocery store at 12:34 p.m., according to the police report, nearly four years ago; it was no longer the night that scared Alma. She was, after all, on a bike and assumed she could have made a hasty escape if need be.

She thought she was brave, that she didn't need to fear anything.

Arriving at her apartment complex five minutes later, she locked her bike in its usual space and then collected her unusually heavy bag over her shoulder; as finals approached, she was continuously laden with more reading material than she could fathom. Pulling her keys from the depths of her messenger bag, she ran into a body just as she realized someone was standing near the base of the staircase.

"Oh, sorry . . . " she faded off, noting this character was standing in the shadows cast by the downstairs outside light, as if trying not to be seen. A large hood shadowed their face as they just stood there, their arms hanging limply at their sides.

Alma moved to start scaling the staircase when the figure's head jerked toward her, stilling her movements. She could hear the person taking in a deep breath as though taking in her scent. Giving the event only a brief moment's analysis, she hurriedly ascended the steps to the second story, only looking back when she reached the top.

The person was gone.

She gave the surrounding area a quick glance before taking her keys and throwing herself inside the apartment. "Hey Mal," chimed her roommates' voices, but she paid no attention, and instead looked out the peephole as if expecting to find the person suddenly standing on the other side of the door. Meeting only an empty porch, Alma locked the door and gave a relieved sigh.

When she turned around, all three roommates were staring at her.

"There was someone outside. Downstairs. Did any of you see him?" Alma asked, assuming it could have only been a him by the build of his silhouette. Now that she got the chance to focus on the memory, she recalled the figure stood at least a head taller than herself, and she was of taller height for a female.

"What did he look like?" Diana asked.

"I'm not sure. It's dark. He was wearing a hoodie."

At once, all three girls sat up and headed straight to the window that looked out across the front of the apartment; they sifted through the blinds to see if they could recognize what Alma had described, as if the person would be waiting in plain sight for them to find.

They didn't see a thing.

"Do you know him?"

"What color hoodie was it?"

"He was probably having a smoke."

Alma didn't care to make a big deal out of it. Her heart was already racing from the recent encounter and she believed talking about it would only instill images and scenarios in her mind of how much worse off she could have been, of what could have - but didn't - happen.

"Now that I think about it, he did look kind of familiar."

"Probably from one of your classes then," Liz shrugged off, heading back to the couch, followed by Rachel and then Diana, whose eyes lingered over the front of the apartment worriedly. Diana was the big sister Alma never had.

"I'll talk to Rory downstairs tomorrow so see if he's seen anything," she assured Alma before wrapping an arm around the girl's shoulders and leading her to the couch. Alma felt unusually affected by the stranger's presence and had been overcome with a lingering case of the shivers; she was still vividly able to sense him taking her into his body, and she was grateful when Diana parted from her, for a shiver traveled from the back of her neck down the length of her spine, a coldness spiking at her core that left her unsettled and anxious.

"I don't know how you guys can do it. I'm exhausted," Alma faked a smile and sat up, pretending to yawn, only minutes later.

"Ah yes," Rachel sighed, sitting back into the couch, "the pleasures of a schedule that doesn't start until noon." Liz and Diana cheered in agreement. Their playful banter briefly uplifted Alma before she bid them a goodnight and encased herself in the bedroom she shared with Liz.

Making sure the two windows were secured shut and the blinds left no spaces between them, Alma finally settled on the edge of her bed and tried shaking off the chilled feeling, wondering why the encounter had unnerved her so. She changed into her pajamas and finished getting ready for bed in the bathroom before digging for the iPod in her bag and easing the earpieces into her ears.

Alma had once required pure silence to fall asleep, during a time she had her own bedroom; unfortunately, her roommate fell asleep to music that Alma could hear even from the girl's earpieces, keeping her awake through the night until exhaustion pulled her into a coma. Initially, Alma had appreciated the noise because people told her she was a snorer, and she didn't want to subject her new roommate to such annoyances their first night together. Although, as the weeks pressed on, Alma found it ever more frustrating than she did comforting. But like the evolutionary creatures humans are, she had adapted to the sound of music to lull her to sleep, as though her subconscious remembered doing so as an infant and accepted it like an old friend.

And so, she fell asleep to soothing voices and melodic tunes, erasing her memories of the hooded figure and replacing them with a lyrical bliss that eventually implanted her into a dreamland. However, this dream was different from any she had experienced.

She floated inside some kind of womb-like abyss, warm, almost hot. She felt all that was around her, her senses impeccably assertive of her surroundings. Fingers made of wind caressed her skin, from the arches of her feet to the length of her neck, never eliciting a chill or an irritation - only sighs. The ecstasy wisps of her hair lapping across her face allowed to delve in her own essence, her own aroma; her naked, free body was so in tune with each movable joint, every line, curve and crevice, which when these senses converged, did so as a pooling warmth at the junction between her thighs.

She could have been in her bed, beneath the warmth of her sheets; she could have been dreaming, a beautiful dream. But Alma could not open her eyes, even when she tried - they were so tired, so heavy, and it felt too good having them closed.

A heavy hand, real, burning and soft, ran down the length of her side leaving trails of prickling sweat along her skin in its wake. its fingers played around her toes like tiny, lithe dancers before scaling up the inside of her leg. Nails breezed along her skin eliciting a feral groan, one that caused all the tiny hairs of her body to stand on end. A mouth blew cold, sweet air against the inside of her knee as the hand continued up the inside of her quivering thigh. The smell of her sex was already permeating the air and it filled her nostrils with a bitterly sweet musk, inflaming the blood coursing through her veins, each pulse burning hotter than the last.

Her core had already begun contracting in anticipation of their touch, and when two fingers slowly slid inside her, she threw her arms up over her head and let out a sigh that reverberated in the space between her ears, lurching deep within her chest. Hot breath pounded against her hip like a cascade, surging against her skin like break waves that began to crash against her form as the breath ascended her body.

The fingers danced inside her evoking a melody from her pants and sighs, creating a percussion that matched the increasing speed of the fingers thrusting in and out of her. Her hips jerked against the hand, her body now working in opposition to her mind. Sweat prickled at her hairline as the heated breath meandered closer to her face, indulging briefly over a perk nipple, and a pair of moistened lips met her very own mouth, breathing heat that cooled on contact before pounding the tingling fire against her lips again - prodding, wanton. Instantaneously, Alma's body went completely limp before arching statically against her pulsating orgasm, spurting a gush of hot fluid into the hand poised triumphantly at her center. Gasping for air after the shaking had stopped, she took in oxygen as though it was the very first breath of her life, satiation and satisfaction overwhelming her fantastically.

"I found you."

Alma's eyes shot open and the hooded figure hovered over her.

Like being pushed off a skyscraper, Alma was jerked from her dream and woke up with a sharp gasp. She sat up and experienced an onrush of blood to her temples, which immediately began throbbing as the morning light flooding into the bedroom overwhelmed her sensitive sight. Liz's window was open, her curtain fluttering in the soft morning breeze.

Swallowing at her cotton mouth, Alma familiarized herself with her surroundings and quickly noted the wetness between her legs. Her face ignited with a powerful blush and she looked to Liz's sleeping form, reassured that the girl was still sleeping and had not heard, if anything, any form of unconscious verbalizations.

She looked at her clock just as the alarm switched on, nearly startling her out of bed.

Slowly pushing the covers off, she ran her hands over her clammy face and noticed the one earphone had fallen out of place during the night, now dangling down her front. She pulled on the cord, snapping its other half from her ear, and gathered it up into her hand, quickly discovered the cord was no longer attached to her iPod. Lifting her arms, she looked to see if it were in a near vicinity, and when she did not find it in her sheets, she got onto her hands and knees and began looking under her bed.

"Turn off your alarm," Liz moaned groggily.

"Sorry, Liz," Alma quickly whispered, silencing the radio.

She sighed in defeat and temporarily gave up her search for the eight gigabytes of her life, already much too frazzled and confused in such early hours to concern herself with a lost item that had no doubt fallen back behind her bed. Quickly picking out a wardrobe for the day and collecting her bathroom kit, Alma quietly found the bathroom, relieved to get the chance to take a nice, cool, refreshing shower.

The dream, the nightmare, had left her flustered in more ways that one.