~ Captivity ~
"Did you hear that?" Mike sat up and looked around. "I could’ve sworn I heard someone call my name."
Wade laughed. "I’m not going to fall for that. You’re just trying to scare me."
"Wade." It was a whisper, almost a sigh of the wind. Wade wasn’t even sure he had heard it. The sound came again. "Wade." He looked at Mike, then realized the sound had come from behind him, not from Mike.
Mike pointed. His mouth opened and closed, but no sound came. Wade turned. Something stood in the dark shadow of the trees, only glimpsed in the flickering firelight, except for the glowing red eyes. Eyes too high off the ground to be a raccoon. Wade scrambled to his feet and backed away until he ran into Mike, now also standing.
"What’s the matter with you guys?" Josh asked drunkenly, looking around.
It stepped from the shadows into the firelight, short, maybe five foot four inches, and female, although that was only an impression. All that was really visible in the firelight was a white face surrounded by black. The eyes stopped glowing red and became black, piercing, hypnotizing. Scarlet lips were a slash across the white face.
"Oh, Wade." The soft voice was lyrical and seductive. The mouth smiled, red lips stretched back and parted, and Wade saw sharp, pointed fangs. A pink tongue licked lips hungrily. "Come here, Wade."
Wade’s heart raced with fear. Something inside him wanted to obey her command, yet he couldn’t move.
Two others emerged from the shadows. Taller than she. Ordinary. A white man with dark hair, wearing a red flannel shirt and jeans, and a skinny black man, young, wearing an Oregon University sweatshirt and black pants. Ordinary, except their lips curled back in hungry grins over long fangs.
Then the white one fell on Josh.
Josh’s bewildered "What’s up" changed to a scream.
Mike grabbed Wade’s arm. "Run, man, run."
He heard the tinkle of laughter behind him. Then he was out into the darkness, blinded, stumbling, running. He hit the stream, his feet splashing in the cold water, and he turned and ran along the stream bank. He heard Mike stumbling after him; at least he hoped it was Mike. What were those things? What were they doing to Josh? Josh! He should go back, but he kept running.
"Oh, Wade," the voice called. Close to his left. Wade ran harder.
He heard Mike fall and cry out and turned to go back. It was there, in front of him, the white face.
"Run, Wade," it said. Wade turned and ran, leaving Mike behind.
A branch whipped his face, stinging, making his eyes water in pain. Now he really was running blind. He wiped his sleeve across his eyes trying to clear them. He took a deep breath. The trail, the trail that led back to the road. If he could find that and go for help. He took another deep breath and stood still, trying to get his bearings, but in the darkness, it all looked so unfamiliar. He knew the trail went down the mountain to the road, so if he followed the slope downward, maybe he would cross the trail. He pushed through the bushes, hurrying, tripping over rocks and stumps.
"Oh, Wade," the voice called. "I’m coming for you."
Wade’s whole body trembled with fear. He tripped over a log and fell hard, knocking the breath out of him. He gasped for air. He knew he had to get up, to run, but he couldn’t make himself. Then he knew it was too late. It--she was there.
He tried to roll away, but she followed, straddled him. "Be still, I won’t hurt you," the voice said. He couldn’t see the fangs, only the suggestive blur of her white face in the darkness. He felt her touch, stroking his cheek. "Relax. Don’t be afraid. Just come with me quietly. Everything will be all right. I promise you."
A scream sounded through the woods, full of fear and anguish. He knew the voice. Mike’s voice. Mike’s death cry.
He pushed the thing off of him and struggled to his feet. She grabbed his arm. He tried to break away, but the creature’s grip was too strong. She slapped him, so hard he saw stars, the pain radiated up his jaw.
"Enough fun and games, boy. I’m tired of the hunt." She yanked him by the arm. He tried to dig in his heels. She slapped him again. He tasted his own blood from a split lip. "Behave yourself," she commanded. "Or I will be forced to punish you." He could see her dark lips move and knew she was smiling. She dragged him after her; the hand encircling his wrist imprisoned him like an iron manacle. Though she was a good six inches shorter than he was, he felt as though he was no more than a small child being dragged by his angry mother. He was so afraid of that anger.