A/N: This short story was all I had time to come up with this summer, what with all the moving back to England and homework I was given for this new college I shall be attending tomorrow...

I think this was written a few weeks ago, while sitting on a mattress on the floor enclosed by stacks of boxes. If that communicates itself through my writing, then I do apologise. :)


Thalia Kingsbury kept her eyes stubbornly down as usual, firmly ignoring the seductive, supplicating male purr from the darker recesses of the cage. In a dispassionate, businesslike manner, she filled the bowl beside the bars with raw, chopped meat.


She sighed inwardly, and firmly turned her gaze to the swaying trees of the forest. 'I'm not even going to bother asking how you came to know my name,' she told the occupant of the cage. 'I've heard a lot about you from my uncle. Not only do you have a penchant for attacking the local livestock, but you also have quite a persuasive effect on people.' She picked up the empty bucket that had contained the meat. 'And before you beg me to look into your eyes again, I'd like you to know that I've also been well informed about your hypnotic tendencies, too.'

A velvety, low chuckle of genuine amusement sounded from the cage's corner. The sound of approaching footsteps told Thalia that the captive had come out of the shadows and was standing directly behind the bars. She suppressed a shiver, remembering the first time she had set eyes on him.

The local farmers had just managed to successfully snare the nightmarish creature that had been preying on their grazing sheep and cows, and had put him into a cage for lack of better alternative. Killing him had seemed a risky option; not only was he muscular and phenomenally strong, but he could look disarmingly human.

However, he did have limits to his human appearance. When Thalia had first glimpsed him, she had been shocked - what she had seen was a lean, strikingly handsome man with wild coal-black curls and huge, leathery dark wings growing right out of his back. His only clothing was a pair of primitive leggings, leaving the solid, powerful bands of flight-muscle upon his chest on full display. Even now, caged as he was, he managed to move with a smooth, regal strut that emphasised his air of feral majesty. He never seemed to just walk within the confines of the cage - instead, he prowled, stalked, glided elegantly, danced effortlessly over the ground as if mocking the bars that imprisoned him.

Thalia knew better than to look at him now; she had been repeatedly told about the supernatural dangers of this misleadingly seductive creature. Besides, the mutilated animal carcasses she had seen before and the vicious fangs she knew he had were enough to keep her on her guard.

She heard the silky rustle of his wings; their span was too large to be fully unfurled in this cage. They were enormous, but far from ungainly; the strange, almost feline grace in his features and movements assured that.

'I don't think I have ever been spoken to like that before,' his bewitching, vibrant voice said, unnervingly close to her. 'Not many people have been able to resist me as you do...I must say I find it very attractive.'

Thalia squashed the first flickers of unwanted emotion, not wanting to be influenced and feel flattered. She resolutely negated the delicate murmur of his velvety words with the memory of those half-eaten animals, imagining the creature's fanged mouth spattered scarlet with blood. A shudder ran through her, leaving her entirely cold to his advances.

He seemed to notice her shiver. 'Do you fear me, Thalia?' he asked her, his tone light but his voice carressing her name, as if relishing the sound of it. 'You have never seen anyone like me before, have you? I am strong - I am powerful. I can take down twenty men single-handedly, and devour a whole field of cattle in one night! Look at my wings, Thalia! Aren't they wonderful? My wingspan is even wider than this cage! I can fly to any height, and carry with me whatever I wish without tiring.' She heard the soft clink of his fingernails against the metal bars as he took hold of them. 'I don't tire easily, Thalia. I could exert myself for a long, long time and never feel exhaustion...' The suggestive tone was brazenly there, but it only heightened her determination to shut him out. 'I am like no human man, my dear! I am far stronger, and answer to no one. Freedom is what I live by. I am a predator to end all predators.'

'If you don't curb your pride, beast, your meal will grow maggots,' Thalia replied drily.

A delighted laugh sounded behind her, and then a new intensity was added to his voice. 'Use my name, Thalia,' he crooned softly. 'Can you not remember it? I have told you often enough...'

She sighed. 'Yes...Isadore,' she replied. When she spoke it, she felt an odd sensation pass through her - as if her use of his name was a victory for him, a small triumph over her will.

Isadore gave a low, unearthly moan, seeming to want to entice her. 'Oh, say it again, my dear...! Say it again!' he breathed, full of longing.

'Say it yourself,' Thalia declined firmly, turning away from the lean figure languishing against the bars she could see in the corner of her eye. 'I know very well that you're only pretending to want me. You just need me to open the door of the cage for you, so you can maul me and then fly away.'

A low growl of annoyance issued from the cage, but it was immediately softened by a lustful whisper of: 'My lovely Thalia - I would do so much more than simply maul you.' She heard the slide of his large, elegant hands against the bars. 'After all, despite my wings I am only a man...'

The false, pleading innocence in his voice made her laugh out loud. 'Yes, a man who likes to massacre whole herds of carefully bred livestock and eat raw flesh,' she countered, deflecting him. 'Please excuse me.'

Without a further word, she smartly turned around and walked off, idly swinging the bucket as she went.

As soon as the young woman had vanished from sight, Isadore bared his needle-sharp fangs in rage, no longer taking pains to hide them away. Snarling furiously, he viciously shook the solid bars of his prison. Curse her resilient, tantalising defences! Why was she ignoring him so? He would have expected such a quiet, delicate-looking girl to fall instantly at the mere sound of his voice! But here she was, in her plain, pale domestic gown with her dark hair modestly tied back from her face, deflecting his charm as easily as anything!

His wings ruffled, itching to spread and pull him up into the air where he could be free...then he could swoop down on that stubborn young woman and carry her away to his nest in the forest, where he would show her what it meant to resist him for too long!

Isadore raked at the ground angrily, scoring thin, jagged lines in the straw-covered metal with his fingernails. He would lavish his attentions upon her until she begged for mercy - begged for more! And then, he would finally press the soft, inviting curves of her fragile body against his own steel-firm one, and claim her as his over and over!

Body blazing and eyes blinded by frustration and rage, he turned his ill temper upon the raw meat she had left him. Her scent was still strong around it, maddening him to no end.

Isadore grabbed a strip of freshly-cut meat and tore at it roughly with his fanged jaws. He would have her yet!