Evil descends, dealing death beneath my protection; spitting crimson onto cobblestones, staining their age worn surface.
Thunderheads swell in the thick midnight sky; belching anger from their gullets, cleansing the time-honored ritual.
Pulsing beneath the damp stone surface, latent life resides, drinking the remnants of death, gathering and spreading strength.
A telltale flicker, a street lamp breathes. Flushing rust from its cast iron skin, it blackens, splashing healing light across the wasting stones, pushing youth into their haggard grey pores.
Shadows scatter across a building’s façade, fleeing over decayed trim, darting between shards of shattered reflections.
High above the pursuing light, they seek sanctuary. Spilling through the aperture’s void, his mass reforms; rising from scraps of blackened mist, driving light from his core.
Satisfied, he lingers only for a moment.
His offering accepted; he drops into darkness.
Her stomach brushes the new fallen snow. Translucent breaths roll in bursts across the forest floor. The cool night air brings the odor of prey, and with it, a gnawing hunger. Nostrils pull the scent to her tongue. Tasting her meal on the cusp of the wind, her mouth waters—but there is something more.
Sharp yellow eyes scour the night. Shadows blacken her sleek tawny coat, her agile form obscured, motionless. Her deep growl swallowed by the crisp winter wind, she remains hidden.
She senses him.
Across the clearing, the trail turns cold. He pulls his nose from the ice packed earth; luminous black, it tests the sterile night air.
His prey lost; the hunt ended.
Weighting the ends of his dusty grey coat, beads of iridescent ice glow between slices of tenuous moonlight. He raises his muzzle, calling to his brothers. In the distance, an eerie lonesome song returns.
Unaware, he steps into the clearing; paws crunching, drifts of snow slowing his movements.
Crouching lower, she prepares to strike.
Her prey lost; she still hungers.
Blood is blood.
It all tastes the same.
-K. R. Rowe