The Year of the Scavenger
Omsk, Russia: Winter 1996
Thick fog hung stiffly in the dark of the night; only bright moonlight penetrating the cloud and illuminating what it could of the dirty city street. It was quiet too; the almost imperceptible trickle of light rainfall and the shift of the wind barely audible due to its softness. The faint sound of a person stalking quietly through the dense mist was the only distinguishable noise and even that could fall unnoticed to untrained ears. Jemai moved with silent precision, breathing in the murky air around him slowly; tasting the metallic tinge and hint of dampness as it ghosted over his tongue. After so many years it was all too familiar now and, despite its bitterness, useful as any slight change was obvious. His tongue ran leisurely over the smooth ivory surface of his canines, holding onto one flavor and savoring it for a moment before shattering the silence of the night with the sound of quick footfalls against the wet concrete.
There was definantly a different taste in the air tonight; so deliciously familiar that it sent his heart into a frenzy at just the slight inclination of it. Hot adrenaline pumped through his veins as his quickened pace became a full on sprint, still inhumanly silent but now moving at a dangerous speed. He could smell blood, taste it, fresh and warm in the air; the substance still new enough from its source that it had not yet rotted by the stench of death. Jemai would bet whomever this blood was coming from was only just slaughtered- judging by the pureness of it and the vast quantity that so rapidly drenched the surrounding air –and most likely still breathing at this point. He had to move quickly. There was a fifty-fifty chance that whatever had just committed this murder was not human and even in the off chance it was, in fact, human on human violence, other scavengers would be seeking out the newly slain corpse as he was. Jemai was in no mood to fight for a meal but he didn’t have much choice at this point; going too much longer without fresh blood was risky, even with his power levels.
As he drew closer- almost astonished by the proximity of this particular murder -Jemai felt a shiver run through his body. The corpse, a woman, was crumpled up on the ground, the sought after liquid in a pool around her and splattered all over the alley way she was left in. It was obvious from the sporadic way the blood was thrown about that, contrary to his original assumption, this was the work of another mortal. A sociopath, Jemai guessed, one who killed with no particular cause or pattern due to some trauma that in his mind justified this kind of carnage. A lesser demon would’ve ripped the body up and devoured it without much thought, their savagery almost leading them to lick the blood from the stone, but Jemai restrained himself; kneeling close to the cadaver and giving it closer inspection.
The woman’s eyes, gray and clouded with agony, darted towards him and a choking hiss escaped her throat as she attempted to plead for his assistance, to be saved, but Jemai paid her no mind. The cuts the attacker had slashed across her body were fatal but, from what he could see, were not able to give her a quick death. At this rate the woman probably had a few more minutes of clinging futilely to life before she finally bled to death. Another ragged gasp of air managed to escape her again and this time she got his attention. She whimpered another wordless plea as his glassy-amethyst gaze fell upon her; trying again to seek some sort of salvation and it was almost amusing to see such desperation.
The odds and ends of a writers mind
- The Year of the Scavenger