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Results 9

Carl drove to the first test site. He looked around the construction site, leaving footprints in the mud that resulted from last night’s rain, and cursed that he did not think to wear some form of boots.

He moved around, looking the place over, and was rewarded with a rounded depression by the garage entrance.

It was the print of a large animal.

And it was across an overgrown lot from the site of the mauling the day before.

“Seems I left too soon.”

***

Jane opened her eyes and stretched. The cold tile brought her out of her haze and for a moment she wondered why she was lying on the floor. She felt her hand drag the tiles, attempting to adhere there because something sticky coated her skin.

She froze, her breath coming in sharp, short drags as the fog of waking left her. She had started to raise her arm, lift it to look at what was on her skin, but she did not need to.

She remembered waking up yesterday and while she couldn’t remember everything that had happened since then, she had a good idea. She remembered Brian. She remembered sex. She remembered having fun and hope for the future.

That was where her memory broke. She didn’t have clear images of what she had done through the day, only flashes of red. Pain, smells and the salty, metallic taste of blood.

“I’m so sorry,” she mumbled.

She peeled her body off the floor and got into the shower, turning the water on while doing her best not to look down at the water that ran off of her. Jane didn’t need to look to know it was red, she could remember rolling around on the floor.

After.

The woman stood in the shower, letting the water cascade over her face, and tried to tell herself that it wasn’t mixing with tears.

***

Carl stood in his hotel room, talking to himself and considered the last fading rays of the sun set. If he was correct, the woman in his first experiment had survived and was transforming with the sun. It wasn’t what he had expected but it was success.

“This makes a lot of sense. The sun is a much more constant example of change than the moon.”

He reached over and drew a symbol on the notepad beside him. “If that is true, she should be long gone. She will have transformed today, probably killed again, and need to keep moving before the police make a connection to her.”

Carl pulled a fat cigar out of the ashtray beside him and lit it. “I wish I could find her again. I would love to study the transformation.” He exhaled a cloud of blue smoke and frowned. “Oh well, I will just need to make another one.”

***

Jane was careful not to step in any of the puddles or globs that were scattered around the apartment. She had found Brian’s wallet and emptied it into a small gym bag that was hanging the closet. She fought not to cry as she dressed beside the bed.

She had liked him.

A hysterical giggle escaped her as she remembered her grandmother. “You are so sweet I could just eat you up.”

Jane sat down on the floor, pulled her knees to her chest, and sobbed. Laughing every few minutes as other expressions about eating people popped to mind until she ran out of tears. When her thirst pulled her back to the present, she got a drink and looked at her reflection in the mirror beside the door.

“I have to make sure nobody that rode with us yesterday will be able to identify me.”

She pulled herself up, trying to remember what she had seen on her way to Brian’s apartment last night. A Wal-mart, a grocery store, a gym. She grabbed a coat and left Brain and his place.

***

Carl was eating at a bar in the center of the city, trying to make eye contact with one of the women who he thought were on the prowl. He wanted to be sure to duplicate as many of the characteristics of the first experiment as possible.

He looked around, eyes moving from one possible candidate to another. The fat red head with the bad dye job was probably a better choice than the crack whore staring into her glass. The big girl would be cleaner, less likely to have foreign substances in her blood stream.

Carl finished his food and ordered another coffee. It was almost midnight, he doubted he would get a better option this late on a week night, but he couldn’t help wanting to hold out for a better choice, one that would be easier to move by himself.

***

Jane walked down the street, wishing that she could enjoy the night. After buying a few things at the store she had walked into the gym. Brian had a membership card on a lanyard in his bag. She had walked in wearing it and nobody had bothered to look twice.

The towel she wrapped around her head to hide the dye would be ruined, but she had walked out of that gym in simple clothes with dark brown hair. Now it was time to find her way out of town.

As she walked, Jane thought about the bus station. That led her mind back to Brian and the cab ride, then to the gay men from last night.

And to a memory of a smell.

Jane felt a rumble inside. It took a moment to realize that she was growling. She felt the need to find that man again.

She changed direction and headed towards downtown.

Towards the bars.

***

Carl sighed as he stared at the mounds of pale flesh lying on the table. He didn’t want to stay in this stupid room waiting for the sun to raise but he had to be sure the woman transformed. He didn’t believe that she would, for some reason he felt that she was an unsuitable subject but without experimentation he would never know.

Another hour, and then he would try to decide what to do next.

***

Jane walked into the building and looked around. She didn’t see anyone and the signs said that demolition wasn’t scheduled for two more weeks. All she could do was hope that nobody else would be here.

The sun would rise soon. She had to find a place to spend the day that wouldn’t end with her covered in blood.

***

As the sun rose, a man sighed in frustration and flopped down to plan his next experiment. At the same time, a large cat paced in circles inside of an abandoned freight elevator, looking for a way out of the metal mesh that made up its new cage.

 

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Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror, serial, Were
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