Winner of the Stories Space ‘Darkness and Light’ Contest

By Steffanie

It would be a much darker world without choice.

A female has moved into my territory, a healthy young blonde, ripe for breeding and bearing good child. She could be my mate, once I’ve captured her, subdued her and proved my worth as her man.

Sounds easy enough, but this female is small, flighty and quick. One stray sound and she’s off like the wind, racing through shadows to seek cover amongst the ruins and rubble. I’ve no hope of chasing her down, so instead I’m intent on outwitting her and steering her into a trap.

The female is cautious and cunning, she takes heed of her senses before making a move and takes no chances at all until the hot sun begins to go down. Only in twilight will she head for the water source and this evening I’m ready for her, I’m watching her every move as I lie hidden downwind.

She’s a survivor and clever as such, but not so smart as to realize that following predictable behavior is a serious mistake. I am the hunter and she is my prey. Her routine is her weakness and gives me the only advantage I need to help corner her.

My plan is simple and my trap is already in place. I’ll hold off a little while longer, then move in on her from the west. Doubtless she’ll break straight away, her fine legs carrying her east along the only clear alleyway, the one between what’s left of the two tower blocks.

She’ll think she’s heading for escape, with a choice of two corners leading to any number of hide outs. Only both routes are narrow and I’ve blocked them, nothing elaborate, but enough to delay her for a few precious seconds. That’s all I’ll need, a brief moment to catch up and grab hold of her.

Any time now and the hunt will be on, but there’s no need to rush. I’ll let her drink first, watch as she enjoys cool, fresh water gushing from a broken pipe. It’s the only source of clean water for miles and I’ve done whatever has been necessary to protect it. The water is mine, although I’m willing to share with this female, mate or no mate she’s welcome at my spring.

It feels good watching her, I like her looks and the way she moves in the rags she’s fashioned into a little short dress. It feels even better when I see her start cleansing herself, first splashing her body and face, then squatting down to wash her sweetest temptation of all.

That’s it, I’ve delayed long enough. I make my move and cover barely ten yards before my quarry is off. She’s even quicker than I thought, although it won’t make much difference, this chase shouldn’t last long and all I need do is keep sight of her to see which corner she takes. She takes the left and I know that I’ve got her.

And sure enough I find my temptress trapped in the alley. She’s turned ready to face me, stood legs apart, snarling and baring her teeth. She might be little, but she doesn’t lack courage and looks willing to fight to the death.

I walk up closer to her, not too close, she’s armed herself with a piece of twisted steel. Being quick, she could do me some damage with a weapon like that… so I pick up a much bigger scrap of steel, something I could easily smash her head open with, not that I’ve any intention of doing so.

We stare eye to eye, silently weighing each other up without using words. Survivors don’t have much faith in words, it was words that led to the apocalypse. Actions are much better and the female’s next ones are to soften her expression and lower her weapon, so I lower mine, then both steel clubs are dropped to the ground. We have an understanding already, the first cautious seeds of trust have been sewn and clearly no blood need be spilled in this encounter.

I move slowly forward and she doesn’t flinch, I reach out and wrap my hand around her slender throat, squeeze a little, then squeeze a little harder. She stiffens but offers no resistance, she’s at my mercy yet the longer I hold her captive the more the fear fades from her eyes, when her body relaxes I know that I have her!

I could have her now if I chose to satisfy my primitive lust. I could betray our simple understanding, be brutal and take her soft beauty by force for my pleasure. Yet I’m no savage, I survive amongst them but not as one of them.

This female is of my kind, bravely struggling to preserve her humanity. I respect her and desire her company as my mate, not as a victim to be used, bloodied and broken. I need to release this woman, prove I’m worthy of her trust, that I mean her no harm and she’s free to decide on her own destiny.

So will she follow when I leave her be?

Will she choose to join me and walk by my side?

I’m back by the water before I turn to look… and there she is, barely twenty yards behind me and with chance to run now if she wants to. I stop walking and in response she stops too, there’s still more than a hint of caution about her.

“Come,” I tell her.

She doesn’t move, she just looks at me coyly.

“Come,” I repeat, and offer a hand of friendship.

She walks up to take hold of me, strokes my face then rests her head against my chest. Her breathing becomes heavy, she whimpers and cries floods of tears as her arms wrap ever more tightly around me. I’m pleased she feels safe enough to cry. She’s human and no longer alone, trapped in a broken world surrounded by savages.

Maybe one day we’ll find more survivors like us. I hope and pray so.

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© 2013 by Steffanie • All rights reserved


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