For over three hundred years I have waited, trapped, suffocated by spells and prayers in my grave as my body rotted around me. Three hundred years as the world passed me by, and I listened, plotting. Those who entombed me here were long dead, their prudish ideas waxing and waning, mostly waning as the centuries died and this new one was born. Ah, but their descendants still lived, breathed, and bred.
Now, I fly free, my spirit set free by the greedy land developers that uprooted the old cemetery, busted open the ancient coffins, and broke the seals on the spells enslaving me. I roam the bat-haunted skies, searching for one who can help me exact my revenge.
The city streets below my spirit are bright, unlike the cobblestone or mud-splattered streets of my youth, where darkness reigned complete once the sun went down. Now lights line every road, burn from many windows, and shine from cars speeding around like demonic vessels. Never in all my years as a living woman, or as an imprisoned soul, could I have imagined a world such as this. People strolling through the late-night streets, dancing in smoke-filled rooms to pounding music, or even just enjoying the night in their modern homes, so removed from nature and its attendant darkness, from the horrors that wait just beyond their sight.
Now, the forests and deep woods are gone for many of them. They know not the frenzied dances in the isolated clearings at midnight, the crazed circles forming around the bonfire, the shadowed shapes that would flit among us, the booming voices from The Other Side. Nor would they really know the wild animals that hunted in the dark forests, the sheer wildness of life before their revolutions, which tamed them. Tamed, and took something from them and from the night. They no longer fear the darkness the way they should.
Now I am the hunter. I am the one who was wronged all those centuries ago, hanged, and buried, while their little priests sought to forever banish my soul. Little did they know, something of me survived and waited. Now on this night of all nights, when the veil between the two worlds was at its thinnest was I, freed from my chains, able to reach across.
Now I see one that I could use. She walks alone, in these hours before midnight, going from party to party. I could almost smell her, if a bodiless spirit can smell. Either way, she burned for me. A descendant of one who laughed as my body swung. She turns up a side street, one relatively dark and close. Cobblestones still line this street and she wobbles from the alcohol.
I swoop down. She stops, swaying slightly. She rubs her hands up and down her arms, bared because she wants to show off her costume. A ridiculous thing of flimsy, cheap fabric, showing off more leg than a harlot on the prowl. Easy prey.
She continues on a few steps and I surround her. She stops again, swatting at something she cannot see but can feel. I close in.
“What’s going on,” she mutters. I take advantage and enter her mouth, heading toward her center, the heart that beats so quickly. In seconds I am filling her, expanding outward, crushing her soul out. She totters, grabs her throat. She cannot scream as she falls to the ground, kicking her high heels, strapped around delicate ankles. I chose well.
Instinctively, her soul fights back but I am ready. I have had centuries to prepare, to grow strong. Her hold on her body weakens, as she beats her fists against the stone but I know the feeling of victory. With one last push, she is gone, like dust scattered on the wind. Forever to drift, maybe eventually to dissipate. It doesn’t matter to me. I have what I want.
I stretch in my new body, even better than my old one. I am toned, muscled, sleek, made for hunting. I push up to my knees, then steady myself as I stand and open my eyes. Everything seems sharper, more focused now that I have a body.
A footstep behind me. “Are you okay?” a man asks.
I turn, trying on a smile. “Yes, I fell.”
He smiles back, perfect white teeth. He is not dressed in costume, but rather wears a modern suit and tie, his hair flawlessly groomed. I saunter up to him.
His lips part with barely contained lust. I reach out to stroke his arm. “Thank you. I’m on my way to a party. Want to join me?”
“Well, I, uh, just got off work…” he trails off, captivated by me.
“Come on,” I say, tugging him closer to me. I look up to him, lips puckered slightly. He hooks his arm around mine.
“Okay,” he says, staring at me.
I lean in as if to kiss his cheek. His breath comes quick and shallow. I strike.
I grab his head in both hands before he can react, plant my lips on his mouth. I suck, his soul, his essence, his being all mine. After a few moments, his struggles useless, I let go and he flops to the ground. I wipe my lips and walk away.
I still have time. Hours yet till the witching hour. I smile to myself. So many people to choose from. Those enjoying the festivities, those who don’t believe. Again it doesn’t matter to me. They all think they are protected by closed doors and their bright lights. Someone needs to teach them to once again fear the darkness.