Not So Fast, Baby-doll

The forest air was cool and crisp, evident of the mid-autumn season. Far above, the sun drifted down over the horizon of trees, fading from sight. The cool air turned cold and the once bright vibe of the forest turned dim. As the darkness set in, she felt herself awaken. It was time.

Her eyes, the color of liquid gold, opened in a flash and immediately scanned her surroundings. Leaves the color of burnt orange, sienna, and cinnamon surrounded her in every direction. Remembering in that moment where she was, she sat up slowly, her body instinctually shifting to a crouch.

She balanced upon a thin branch in her black Prada boots, which was commonplace for anyone less than human. The branch she perched upon swayed gently from her weight, but it did not dare break from beneath her. She tugged on the edges of her black leather jacket, pulling it partially around her and securing it with a thin belt.

As she began finger-combing her long, auburn hair, she heard a rhythmic thumping in her ear. All of her motions immediately paused, her ears taking the absence of movement as a focusing aid. She did not dare move a muscle until she was positive of the source of the beat. The first motion she made since her slight pause was a smirk, pulling up the corners of her plump, pink lips as her fangs extended to show a bit out of her mouth. It looks like dinner was approaching early tonight.

The thumping grew louder and the rhythm ceased, replaced by arrhythmic beats, as if a sense of panic had set in. The pace of the beat was uncommon in a serene, yet often deserted grouping of trees such as this. In curiosity, she separated the leaves of a branch slightly above her and peered out, her silky golden eyes glimmering in the moonlight and contrasting heavily with the smooth, milky white shading of her face.

She heard it then…another beat, slow and strong. Scrunching her face up in confusion, she awaited the moment her sight could put a face and situation to the anomaly.

"Where ya runnin' off to, baby doll?" a low, slow, drunken voice called from an area of the forest slightly to the left of where she sat perched in a tree, far above the path below. As soon as the voice called out, the brush where the voice came from flattened as a figure frantically sprinted through it. She appeared to be in her early twenties, her face completely void of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Her dirty blonde hair contained twigs and leaves and all evidence of the style her hair once had was completely ruined. The white button-down shirt and professional black pants she wore were in tatters from her traipse through the wilderness.

She moved quickly, her bare feet, leaking blood from rocks and twigs, never stopped. They barely touched the ground before picking up once more and propelling her body forward. Scrapes and bruises littered her olive-toned skin, the tiniest drippings of blood from her tempting the silent onlooker to drop from her position. She resisted, but barely, for her curiosity had the better of her. The woman's pace led her to the dirt path beneath her that her tree helped frame. It was at that moment that she was able to see the reason behind her frantic fleeing. Through the same brush that she had just demolished came her supposed assailant, picking up speed now that the path lacked obstacles.

He stumbled occasionally as he ran, his intoxication highly evident as he tripped over his own feet. "Slow down, sugar plum! We've only just begun!" With his exclamation, his vigor increased and he approached the female rapidly. The one in the tree gazed upon him from her perch, not daring to move a muscle as she examined his apparel and demeanor. His ripped blue jeans and wife beater were in tatters and his face, slack with drunken stupor, had swelling scratches on it, evidence of a struggle. The smell of fresh blood laced the air and sent a pang to her throat, but it was not yet time to make my move.

Her heart, though it no longer beats, went out to the female in sympathy. She, for one, could not stand by. Again, however, it was not time to act. By now, the heartbeat of the female was labored… it would not be long before she collapsed in exhaustion. She ran beneath the branch the onlooker perched upon and fell, clutching her chest in pain and curling up in the fetal position, her body racking with sobs. Her body language spoke one word and one word alone – defeat. Her chaser slowed to a stroll now, his arrogance fogging up the entire path.

"See? Isn't that better?" he called out and she could hear the smirk in his voice. He approached her slowly, like a predator analyzing his prey.

"…Go away," she whimpered out as she curled up more, trying to cover everything her tattered clothing no longer did. His laugh was boisterous and obnoxious, ringing high above the trees. The onlooker's eyes narrowed and she barely managed to keep in her hiss of disapproval. It was time.

"Don't be like that, baby doll. I only want to talk," he said, grinning. She did her best to scoot away, but she no longer had energy. He reached down to touch her, but his skin never met hers. From her perch, the onlooker dropped, landing silently in her heeled Prada boots behind the assailant.

"My, my, my, baby doll. One mustn't play with one's food." Her voice was low and smooth like stone, yet it took on a sickeningly sweet tone that proved she was mocking him. The man whipped around in surprise, his eyes, though lidded with intoxication, managed to widen considerably as he stared at the slim stature of the 5"10 woman before him.

"Alright! Two of you!" he exclaimed, his smile wide and grotesque. She simply smiled in return and tilted her head to the side, allowing her waves of curls to cascade down over her shoulder.

"That's right," she said, her smile widening to show off her fangs, though she doubted he would notice. "What a lucky man you are." She took a step closer and rested a hand on his shoulder, trailing a few freshly manicured fingers along the artery in his neck, her body nearly shivering in anticipation. "And what a lucky woman I am," she added, her eyes glimmering dangerously.

As the onlooker distracted the man, the woman pulled herself into the woods, hiding out behind a bush, her eyes barely seen as she peeks through the branches. The man stepped forward and leaned in, his grubby fingers reaching for areas better left untold. Alcohol tainted his breath and nearly made the onlooker nauseous, though she no longer ate. "Not so fast, baby doll," she said with a grin.

"Wait, what?" he said stupidly, not comprehending that he was nearly faced with impending doom. Before he could utter another word, the fingers that she had resting against the artery of his neck traced up to his face and swiped up a droplet of blood from the scratches left there by the woman. In a surprising amount of control, she placed the finger with the blood on it to her lips and licked it off before closing her eyes and smiling.

"O negative. You really ARE a lucky fellow." Before he had a chance to respond, she put a hand to his cheek and snapped his head to the side. He never even saw it coming. She allowed him to collapse to the ground like the garbage he is. Now that he was taken care of, she dusted her hands off and turned her gaze to the female hiding in the bushes.

"It's quite possible that you are the lucky one, indeed, my dear," she said with a genuine smile. The onlooker approached the female and outstretched a hand to help her up. The female's light blue eyes widened as she scooted back and away from the hand, her fear evident in the way her heartbeat sped. "Oh, my goodness. You're alright, lovely. If I wanted you dead, you would've been so, yes?" After considering this for a moment, the female no longer scooted back, but still eyed the onlooker warily.

"At least allow me the honor of your name," said the inhuman to the female. Finally, after weighing her options, the female accepted the offered hand and shakily stood to her feet.

"Elisabeth," she said. Her voice was raspy, thin, and weak from her exertion earlier. "I-Is he gonna be okay?" she asked, pointing towards where her attacker lay sprawled on the ground. The onlooker laughed a musical sound, like wind chimes.

"Oh, you are mighty humorous, Elisabeth," said the onlooker. "Of course not. He is gone now. The world is already feeling like a better place." Elisabeth swallowed hard and once more looked frightened of the woman who saved her life.

"What are you?" whispered Elisabeth beneath her breath. Her voice was easily picked up by her less than human counterpart.

"Call me Alis, my dear. Also, this will only hurt a bit." With a wide smile, she showed her extended fangs before diving in for Elisabeth's neck, biting down and filling her with her venom until the girl went limp in her arms.