Drives me something wild to hear there’re people both sharing my air and fearing of the dark. Dark is when we sleep, when we feel the most secure, when we taste sweet earth for what it is. Dark is where we most feel our fears, right so, but dark itself ain’t nothing to be scared of. Silly to be scared of something so pure and natural when this world’s fears gone running wild of their own accord, tearing up soil as they go.

Soon’s I left momma and papa’s bodies, one torn and one that still makes me tear, I took off through that forbidden wood. No fear in my heart. No room for fear, now. Stumps to call teeth and a feathery bed of moss to call a tongue, it done welcomed me with a warm belly full of hunger. I danced through its innards and brought to head the best of what it had for supper. But woods can only hold you so long ‘fore your feet draw to city skylines. Cities is where the ripe smells billow down from, coating the trees in sick sick slime and setting my senses on high.

I coulda walked from Madison to Charleston straight through. Feet shoulda been burning for days, but something carried me swift and strong and I never got tired. When my mind begged rest, I crawled up in the crook of a tree and had all the wonder of small creature to keep me company. I was blessed.

Big cities ain’t all they cracked up to be. Smell something rancid and spit human refuse to four winds like they got nothing to be sorry about. Big cities done turn men to dogs and innocent girls to whores. They suck up soiled virgin blood and spit it back in the faces of sweet children seeking nothing but mother’s arms. Walk took me a day with time to rest but hours mean nothing save a countdown of human sins to me now.

On the walk I thought bout Kissie. Thought about her cherry lips and honeysuckle and all the things a girl wish she could say to another with pardon. I thought bout late nights of play and the frantic buzz of fireflies caught in passing and how I used to lie up at night wishing I could whisper to a bluebird and have that message delivered in sweet Kissie’s ear without repercussion.

Coulda gone back for her, but I’m not one for pulling against the wind. Kissie the sort set to staying and I’m the sort set to wandering. Feel it’s better to remember one electric touch than pine and search for what could never be.
I came my way out the wood and opened my eyes to sights I never seen. Buildings tall as god with a million glossy eyes, blinking out the world beyond what they sought. Streets throttled with endless rubber and steel, the air sick with blaring horn and hollering voices cursing the devil down upon their neighbor. I walked cross pavement marked with child fingers telling swears and tumbleweeds gone the way of old magazines and newspaper and I swear I seen it all.

Spent the better part of a day wandering and looking and being looked at and smelling fresh foods and on the wind and watching children playing their hearts out in the streets. Darkness fell like a curtain cross drooping eyes and I felt the flutter of sleep start to betray my better senses. Body never needed rest no more but brain and heart sure set to finding ways. Just as I was passing by a dimmed store on the corner of two streets with the names of men, I saw a figure in the shadows, falling in step to the rhythm I been carrying. Kept pace I was going since I got no more fear in my heart, but felt discomfort all the same. His discomfort. I could smell the blood in his veins and the darkness in his heart and that made it all the more sweet. I let him smell me, let him smell innocence that wasn’t there no more, let him reach out into the air with the taste of hate on his breath and I tasted back.

Finally whistling for horses to pasture, the man crept from the shadow and offered me a worried adult’s hand.

“Little one, what’re you doing out so late?” he cooed. “Won’t your parents be worried about where you’ve gone?”

Smile crossed his lips like the oceans parting for god’s lost children and I saw the blood in the shallows, creating new life and welcoming fair maidens to their deaths. He bore a mustache thick and hair gone thin, both salted and peppered equal times. A watch on gold chains hung loose at his hip. Tailored coat, shiny shoes, walking cane. Stuff of proper painted dreams.

“Naw mister, my parents gone. It just me in the world. I been traveling all day and night just looking for somewhere to lay my head.” I waited as he soaked in the words, bathed in the heady brashness of youth.

“Sweet child! I’m so sorry to hear. You can come back with me. I don’t have much but my wife and I will be happy to care for you, even if just for the night.”

He extended a hand capped with long fingers, wrestling thick air like a spider, and I grabbed for it, eyes glittering with the comfort and safety to call home. He whisk me away, winding down streets both main and back, and I fell in step like the shadow prior done for me. From touch I could feel heat coursing and winding through a body wrought with evil seeded desire. Could hear thoughts creeping between my thighs likes wolves gone to water and I could see his fingers, them long and spidered digits, I could see them unbuckling trousers and balling up my hair and needling at my parts most sensitive. So I followed.

We come upon a house with lights burning in the windows like warning eyes turned to heavens unsought. I sighed, and the house sighed back, whispering sweet nothings into the air

go on girl, go turn back

this man done evil and nothing but

hurt is all he got for you

turn back

Smile sliced my face open with the call of the hunt and I let him lead me in, feeling the house swallow me up, reluctance set tenfold. Inside was warm, cozy, blessed with the type of dollar I’d probably never thought of.

Man turned from me, locked the door behind, and rubbed clasped hands like hungry seals smelling chum on the air. Tweaking a corner of his jacket and letting a sigh traipse past pursed lips, he sighed and beckoned up stairs of mahogany and brass fixture.

“The bedroom is at the top of the stairs, third door on the right. The bathroom is just across the hall from it. You’ll find a chest of clothes that should fit you. Our daughter is about your age and size. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know, sweet one. My bedroom is just next door.” That said, he done whisked into the kitchen, coat following like a breeze on high.

Skipped my way up the stairs, straight to the wash. Splashed cool water in my face and let just a bit slip past my lips, throat burning with thirst. But I knew water’d do no good for me now. Staring in the mirror wondering how many ancient reflections I got looking back, I heard heavy footfalls kiss the stairs in erratic patterns. I heard the hot hot tattoo of man’s heartbeat skittering inside his ribcage like a scared rabbit and smelt deep oils burning in his groin. Footfalls, they stopped right outside the washroom door. They stopped and waited, and then moved on just a touch to the bedroom he done mentioned.

I finished up, flushed for good measure, and wandered cross the dark hall, feet padding on soft carpet like I got tiny mice in tow. Room was sparse but comforting still. Soft bed, fresh linen just like momma used to bring. In the chest I found plenty of sweet soft lil girl things; pretty dresses and frilly socks. But I come cross a sheer nightie and felt fingers dance electric cross its fabric and I knew. From the corner of the room I heard the soft soft creak of wood on metal on wood. Out the corner my eye I saw a panel open up bout two feet off the ground and an eye come poking through the dim light. Humming a soft lil tune to myself, I done pulled my dress over my head and let it dangle on one crooked finger before dropping it at my feet. I could feel the man suck all the air out of the room as the sight of nubile skin cut through deep animal brain and blood started coursing like song through a sparrow’s lung.

I slipped on my silky choice, the nightie blessed with the dead skin and frightened eyes of a dozen girls before me, and lie down in bed, waiting. I could hear bated breath and sweaty slick fingers on skin and smell saliva kissing wood from the other side. I could hear and smell the salty pitter patter of apprehension come to head, beckoned from the hotseat of detailed frustration. I wondered how long it’d take, and then I didn’t feel like waiting no more.

“Mister?” I called out, a quiver hanging on my lips. “Are you there? I’m scared.”

Shuffling, wood on metal on wood sliding, footfalls heavy. “Yes, sweet child, I’ll be right there.” More quiver in his voice than I could ever muster.

I waited, my sweet child heart a steady, devil’s hellfire thump of hard shoes dancing on aluminum tile.

Thump thump. Man’s door opened. Thump thump. Steps in the hall. Thump thump. My door creaked. Thump thump. And then he inside, and wishing so much farther in. And I look up at him with eyes set to tears, and I say “mister I miss my momma and my papa, mister I need a body to hold and a heart to touch. Mister, I need you.”

He shake and he tremble and he slither near, and I can smell his sweat dancing off the furnace of his skin. I can see lil girls’ last words bouncing back and forth in his head and last breaths screaming to get past perfect pearly teeth by the dozen.

“O-of course, sweet child. I’m right here.” He come closer. “Whatever you need, dear.”

He shifts once, then shifts again, but I see his husband’s bulge clear as hell’s light, throbbing and burning and begging to burst past cotton and into sweet flesh, flesh sweet as can be.

“Mister, where your wife and daughter?”

He paused. “Out of town, but don’t worry, I can bring all the comfort you need.”

I sigh. “Come and hold me close mister, I scared of what’s out there in the night.”

He set his weight down on the edge of the bed, blood begging to fly through his skin, and lay a rough hand down on my thigh, rubbing the lace of my dress gentle in tiny swirls.

I placed small hands either side his back, feigning unsure embrace, and he led shaking fingers round either side of my hips. I set to tracing tiny symbols and patterns of stars with too many points all cross his spine. He shifted. I traced. He moved. I traced.

He pull me close, smelling deep in my hair, and I could taste his need deep inside him. His hands got closer to my source, my heat, and dipped in the lush river between my thighs. He shuddered.

“Mister? How many girls you brought to end here?”

He shuddered to a stop. “Sorry child?”

“How many girls you tasted, fear on their lips slipping past your teeth, ‘fore you snuffed them like that lilac candle in your room?”

I could feel the chill jolt through his body like hounds screaming at the shore their catch took into, master hot on their heels.

He sputtered and tried to push away, but I held vice tight, small still form pressed into his writhing one. Beyond the throes of confusion, the mountain between his legs trembled and heaved.

“I’d love a kiss goodnight, mister.”

I pressed my fingers down into his back and felt skin separate like water swallowing a fallen dove. Scream rang out from his mouth, but I glanced up with wonder in my eyes and conjured his tongue out with a thought. Licking meat made a sorrowful lil popping noise and separated from the hilt, filling his liar’s mouth with sweet candy blood, and I look up and let it drip drip drop on my face like heaven’s finest showers. I floated the tongue out his mouth, clamping it shut, and let it tickle one eye, then the other, before slapping against the wall behind us with a thud. He lurch forward but I held him tight.

“There there, I got you now, I bring all the comfort you need.”

Fingers went deeper so, pulling caverns from his shoulders and summoning organs to the tip. Liver, spleen, lungs, they all throbbed just like his manhood had. Then I thought just a bit harder bout his manhood and I made it throb once, then twice, then it done burst all over me, but not the way he wanted. Heart gone speeding like a hummingbird seeing its last nectar, I brushed it with a nail filed sharp with tension, separating bones and hearing them crack like so many branches in the wood.

Spasming, frenzied flails gone weaker by the second, he beat at my back but I felt nothing but love and hot hot heat. His blood rain down on me and I catch it with waiting mouth and I felt thirst coming short, coming hard no more. I wove fingers between old wicker bones and tugged. I tugged and tugged and felt the cracks coming splintered, and I breathed in deep and pulled with all my might and he split right in two. Just like wings on an angel.

I held him close and whispered harsh everythings and promised him the finest creatures in all of hell to guide his way and dine upon his skull. I told him of horrors that await and all my sweetest friends who come to claim him once he gone, of the tiny fires that lick forever at his heels and the little pricks that’ll come for his.

I look him in the eyes, color gone grey and slipping back and forth like silverfish running from newfound light. I put fingers under his chin, watching the hurt and loving the wonder.

“I still need that goodnight kiss, mister, or I ain’t gonna sleep.”

Placing lips under his red stained mouth, I pushed my nails up through flesh and muscle and bone and watched him spout and I drank deep of him and his sweet candy blood.

I slept deep and heavy and still that night in the wrecked arms of a corpse, sin wrought from this world and welcome with open arms into the next.

My Red Angel left me with more than love and no pain that night. She left me with something special. She made me special. She done give me power to smell and taste and see things ain’t no one else can claim. All I gotta do now is trace my patterns and leave my marks and rid this thriving world of sin. My Red Angel, bless Her rippling flesh and mother’s heart, She bless me and crown me into this world baptized through the ultimate hurt and make me an Angel in my own right.

They say predators can smell the sweet, beckoning return mark of prey. I can smell so, so well now.

Part 1