ROBYN SMITH

Predators

Somewhere between Marilyn Manson’s cover of “This is Halloween” and the fifth version of “Monster Mash” played over the last two hours the nurse became very aware of the cowboy watching him from across the room. As far as parties went, this one was tame. Recent college grads grinded together in the middle of someone’s living room, decked out in cheap spandex they bought from pop-stores, and plastic animal ears. A bowl of off-brand Cheetos and stale pretzels sat untouched on top of a nearby coffee table. Every time someone got a little too rowdy, they ran the risk of kicking the oak, and sending the cheap chips flying into the carpet. Someone found the host’s stash of booze hidden behind some loose pieces of tile in the kitchen and brought the bottles into the living room. The nurse took a bottle of vodka and drank it straight. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the cowboy across the room, nursing a beer, and watching him drink. The nurse smirked and took his time slipping the tip of the stained-glass bottle from his lips. The cowboy took a long sip of his beer, then grinned at him.

 

The cowboy was tall, around 6’0, and well built. Not particularly handsome, but soft looking, and warm. He crossed the room, almost colliding with a couple of drunk dancers attempting to start the Macarena and took a seat next to the nurse on the old, faded couch away from the dancers. “Hey,” The cowboy said. “You haven’t seen Nicole have you?”

 

Nicole. Was that the hostess’ name? The nurse hadn’t been paying much attention to her limitless prattle when she invited him into her home, or when she pulled him into the hall closet to “get away from the noise”. The nurse did remember her voice. High pitched and noxious, like Jennifer Tilley on helium. He remembered how she wrapped her legs around his waist and pressed their lips together. The nurse remembered how she forced her tongue down his throat, and how it felt like he was back in Newfoundland, one more glass of ale away from dying of alcohol poisoning. The woman wouldn't let him go so the nurse grabbed the back of her head and tore into her lips. He held her as she thrashed, pulled her tongue back, tried to scream out but Michael Jackson’s Thriller blasting from the other room silenced her. The nurse drank until the woman was nothing more than a limp husk and tossed her to the floor, finally breaking their kiss. As he stepped back out to rejoin the rest of the party, the nurse licked his lips picking up the few miniscule drops that had escaped him. He tasted rum. Drunk victims were always the best.

 

“No. No I haven’t. I wouldn’t worry too much about it though, man. She’s not a shy woman. She probably just found herself some company,” The nurse replied. If you could call hitting on the mop, and all the cleaning supplies she kept in the closet company. “What’s your deal? I noticed you looking at me over there.”

 

The cowboy moved in a little bit closer. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, just an open vest and a pair of faded old jeans. The nurse could hear the steady beat of the cowboy’s heart, pumping the sweet elixir of life through his veins, and calling out to him. The hostess, while an easy victim, left a funny taste in the back of the nurse’s mouth that he was desperate to cleanse. He scooted closer to the cowboy and leaned up to whisper in his ear. Without meaning to the nurse nearly gagged. Before coming to the party this guy had coated himself in a body spray strong enough to bring tears to the nurse’s eyes. Fucking Axe. When would guys learn that it was not an adequate replacement for a shower?

 

“Hey, you alright?” The cowboy asked, placing his hand on the small of the nurse’s back in what was supposed to be comforting, but instead meant that the cowboy had lifted his arm, exposing his armpit, and allowing more waves of body spray to roll off of him. “You look a little pale there. Maybe you should get something to eat?”

 

That was the idea. The nurse forced a cough and climbed to his feet. “I’m fine,” He told the cowboy. “Just a bit…lonely. Lonely and developing a bit of a headache. Two problems, both of which could be resolved by us going upstairs for a little bit.”

 

“Sure thing!” The cowboy exclaimed with more enthusiasm than what could be considered attractive. The nurse rolled his eyes. Fucking college students. He really needed to start hunting from a more sophisticated crowd.  

 

Most of the party goers were too drunk at this point in the night to attempt climbing the stairs, leaving the second level vacant of any wandering co-eds. The cowboy got to the top of the stairs first and waited for his would-be-paramour to catch up with him. The nurse moved past him down the hall and signaled for the other man to follow. One of the doors was open on a small bedroom. Inside the room were an ancient, rickety looking mattress on a rusted brass frame and a clunky oak vanity that was missing a mirror. The nurse hesitated outside the door, but the cowboy entered without so much as a second thought, and sat down on the edge of the bed, setting loose a small cloud of dust. The nurse coughed and waved the dust away from his face, “Jesus! Did they just forget that this room existed? It smells like the sixties in here!”

 

“Do you have some kind of OCD or something?” The cowboy asked with a cocky grin, patting the empty space beside him on the bed, knocking loose more dust. “That’s kinda hot.”

 

“You’re some kind of weirdo, aren’t you?” The nurse asked. Without waiting for answer, he stepped into the room, and pulled the door shut behind him. He tried the lock but it had been broken.

 

“I wouldn’t call myself a weirdo,” The cowboy replied. “Hey, I just realized something. You never asked for my name. Does that mean you sneak off with strangers at parties often, or…?”

 

“Well, you never asked for mine either,” The nurse pointed out though he did not ask why. He already knew why. College frat boys only had one thing in mind when they followed some pretty face upstairs at a party, and it wasn’t to play scrabble.

 

The nurse made his way to the bed and sat down beside his companion. He leaned in close to the cowboy’s neck and spotted a vein close to the surface. Beautiful. He could eat and be out of this hell hole in twenty minutes. His fangs slid out from within his gums and the man in scrubs moved in ever closer…

 

Something wet and hot dripped down onto the back of his head. The nurse froze and his eyes darted upward. He saw teeth. Rows and rows of sharp, jagged teeth coated in hot, sticky drool. The nurse jumped back off the bed, but the cowboy was faster. The vampire was knocked to the ground, pinned down by the cowboy who dug his knees into the nurse’s chest. More drool spilled down this time onto his face. The man in scrubs grimaced and shut his eyes. He felt the cowboy bite down on his shoulder, felt those jagged teeth rip away at his flesh. He felt the cold, long dead blood that occupied his veins and arteries erupt over him, and the sharp, echoing jolts of pain that came with his body repairing itself.

 

“Agh! Fuck!” The cowboy screamed and the nurse felt him tumble to the floor. He opened his eyes and watched as the creature that ripped at his throat retreated back into human form. Black fur disappeared into pale skin, razor-like claws retracting back into the cowboy’s human fingertips, blood-shot eyes draining into the man’s natural blue. The cowboy was next to the nurse on the floor, clutching his throat and coughing, those shark-like teeth replaced by human ones.

 

“Oh shit.” The nurse mumbled. He crawled over to the cowboy and hovered over the other man. The man in scrubs placed one hand on the cowboy’s chest to keep him still. “If you bite me, I’m going to let you die. You hear me?”

 

The cowboy didn’t have the chance to respond before the nurse shoved three fingers into his mouth and down his throat. The cowboy gagged and sat up but did well to mind the nurse’s warning and kept his chompers at bay. Something finally snapped and the cowboy threw up - bile spewing over the nurse’s hand and coating them both. The nurse retracted his fingers and wiped them off on his shirt. “Well, never thought I’d get the chance to see someone coughing up chunks of me...don’t you know vampire blood is toxic to werewolves?”

 

The cowboy coughed and rubbed his throat, “You don’t smell like a vampire.”

 

“I ate recently.” The nurse explained. “Which reminds me, Nicole’s body is still in the closet. Unless someone found her while we were up here, but I think we would have heard screaming.”

 

“You ate Nicole?” The cowboy asked. “Fuck man. I wanted to eat her. I had her marked for months!” The time spent mourning his lost meal was short-lived as another question popped into his mind, “If you knew I was a werewolf, why’d you come upstairs with me?”

 

“Axe body spray is an abomination. I couldn't tell if you were a werewolf, a wendigo, or just some horny guy at a party.” He had been banking on a horny guy. “I’m...I’m Billy, by the way.”

 

The cowboy snorted, “Billy? Billy the vampire?”

 

“Shut up.” Billy said with a roll of his eyes. “What do they call you then?”

 

“Kevin.”

 

“Kevin? Kevin. And you thought that Billy was bad,” The nurse fired back. “At least I can pretend it’s short for William or something,”

 

“Ouch.” Kevin replied and placed his hands over his heart as if he had been stabbed in the chest. “I took you in a fight, you overgrown mosquito.”

 

“I was caught off guard! Name the time and the place, and I’ll neuter you Lassie!” Billy replied with a laugh. Downstairs, someone had turned off the stereo. In the middle of the Ghostbusters theme the house went completely silent. “I guess they finished off the last of the booze. People’ll be leaving soon.”

 

Kevin rubbed the back of his neck and looked between the bedroom door and his intended victim. “Right. This sucks. I’m starving, and the food’s literally walking out the front door.”

 

“Same, man. This night has not gone down the way I thought it would.” Billy looked down at himself, covered in blood and vomit, and chuckled “I just thought I’d be grabbing a bite, now look at me. I smell like low tide at the beach and I’m still hungry.”

 

“Do you like Chinese food? I know a place not far from here. There’s usually only two people working this time of night. One for you, one for me, plus noodles if you’re into that,” Kevin pulled his soiled vest off and tossed it onto the floor, then turned his attention back to Billy who looked like he’d crawled through a sewer pipe, and winced, “Ugh...Maybe we should wash up first? I don’t think Nicole would mind if we used her bathroom.”

 

“I’d say we have permission,” Billy snorted and flicked a chunk of vomit off his shoulder, “I haven’t heard a corpse complain lately.

Robyn Smith is a writer from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island who is currently pursuing a Master's degree in English while working on several other writing projects, many of which fall under the horror genre. 

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