Before you read Home, make sure you read Sam's story here. It sets quite the impressive baseline for what follows. Please enjoy.
Today is the one-year anniversary of that horrific, yet oddly liberating, event. After the Enforcers had departed, I began to extricate myself from my mother’s body. Like others of my kind, within moments of my birth, I was able to function independently. Within 24 hours, I had achieved the appearance of an adult, and became able to move virtually unnoticed among them.
Inexplicably, I became aware that, upon my mother’s death, it was my obligation to consume her, but I could not defile that gentle soul. I made the decision that my father, who had allowed the love of his life and his unborn child to be brutalized and left to die, should sustain me. His flesh was bitter and without merit, but it would be weeks before I required another meal.
Through my interactions with the humans, I have discovered this species consists of not only the weak and the strong, but strangely, there are numerous variances between. My kind is comprised solely of those who obey and those who enforce. Having experienced the one and having inherited my father’s memories of the other, I can but only wonder which is most equitable.
Life thus far has been difficult, at best. Locating nourishment, however, has never been an issue. These creatures, these people, literally profess everywhere how much they care for one another. They ‘love’ this scent, they ‘love’ the sound of that music, they ‘love’ to band together to protect and serve. I find these proclamations quite amusing considering not one of them seems even slightly annoyed when their own begin to disappear.
Humans in towns appear to be more mindful as their numbers decrease, but not so in the cities. As they are generally oblivious to those who no longer frequent their customary habitats, the same disinterest is demonstrated regarding any outsiders who replace the missing. It is for this reason I have chosen these large regions in which to survive until…; well, since I know not what destiny awaits me, I simply go on. Resigned to exist from sunrise to sunset--searching, and hoping. That is, until I met Elise.
In this, my latest metropolitan refuge, I walk tree-lined paths that provide me with a pleasant sensation called ‘peace‘. It is not a substance one can see or touch, but is a feeling that all is right and there is nothing to fear. It is not often I am privileged with this intense calm, but strolling through this park is guaranteed to allow me to believe that, at least for the moment, I am safe. Deep in the surrounding woods is also a ready supply of sustenance. Some humans have no permanent structure to retreat to when their world goes dark, so they congregate in camps. When necessary, I fetch one or two of the denizens to satisfy my hunger. These camps constantly replenish themselves however, as, for every two I may take, at times, three or more replace them. This practice also reinforces the hypocrisy of their kind. When one or more go missing, those who remain confiscate and claim their meager belongings as their own.
It was on one of my treks along the trails when I passed a bench for resting. It was there I saw her. She was beautiful and delicate and her smile brought a warmth to me I had never experienced before. Her skin was pale and smooth, and her dark eyes revealed many lifetimes. I knew immediately she was not human, so I was as much filled with dread as fascination. She held out her hand to me and her touch brought my father’s memories of love flooding in. My future was with Elise, and the humanity within me pledged if we were to meet the same fate as my parents, I would not follow in the footsteps of my father. I would not die on my knees.
We made a life together, and I was happier than I’d ever thought possible. She never spoke of that other world, and I never asked. She and I would sit comfortably together in silence for hours upon hours, and we shared our hopes and dreams for the bright future that lay ahead.
After a few months, Elise began to change. She insisted on taking midnight walks alone and requested I leave our home for specific periods of time during the day. I wondered if she was with child, but dare not ask. I knew all would be revealed when the time was right. One afternoon, I decided to surprise her with a snack and returned a half hour earlier than expected. A young man from one of the camps had been killed by his comrades for his shoes; I simply took him out of everyone‘s way.
I was drawn to her voice. She was in the bedroom, speaking into a transmitter I had never seen before.
“Target is ready to be terminated. Come tonight when I am out. He will be drugged and offer little resistance.”
“Why?” I asked her.
Startled, she quickly tried to restore the connection. I pulled the microphone from her hand and destroyed the unit.
“You are the child of a violator,” she explained, her tone devoid of emotion. “My task is to locate and befriend such as you, then alert the Enforcers when the time is right. You half-breeds tend to fight, so I introduce sedatives so the execution is effortless.”
I killed her quickly since time was precious. She bled profusely as the blade caressed her throat. I left her for others of our kind to dispose of. I had no taste for betrayal.
So, I am yet again on the run. I have learned much since the day I was born. I have learned about love and lies and trust and the death of all things. I must go on. I am home.