• Dirty, pointed teeth dripping black and bared in a frightening grin. Something comes out of her shoulders, black and looming. It was all he could do to keep standing.
    She prowls forward, so sure of herself, her fingers tipped with razor sharp claws. She has a short, undefined snout. A beast. He backs away slowly. “Don’t be afraid,” she purrs, in a voice harsh as stones scraping together. “It’s not horrible at all. Once I have my feed, that is.”
    He chokes, makes a noise. “What are you?” he shrieks.
    “Diseased.” is the reply and she laughs.
    He fumbles around next to him, searching for a weapon. “Stay away.” His hands wrap around something cylindrical. A pole. He picks it up and swings it in front of him.
    She hesitates and changes her course, circling him. Her steps are silent. “Don’t be stupid. You’re making it worse for yourself.” The black eyes glint maliciously. “I’m getting hungry.” She lunges forward quickly, lethally.
    He swings the pole weakly and it gets ripped out of his hands. It clangs noisily against the shed wall. He makes a run for the door. She’s there before he even takes a step. Her ears have stretched, deformed. She bares her teeth and beckons seductively with one clawed finger. He stumbles back and moans, hopeless. She leaps, arms extended, black wings spread out wide. Her teeth glisten with the black mucus. A scream escapes his lips and gets cut off short when he’s slammed into the ground. Her claws scrape gouges into his shoulders. He gropes for a hold to throw her off. Black membrane hits his blindly searching hands. She grins, watching his terror grow, savouring it. Nothing he does moves her off of him. She opens her mouth wide and swiftly takes a chunk out of his chest. He screams in pain. One of his hands make a fist and he swings it at her face, a chunk of him in her mouth. She catches it in a hand and gives it a horrible twist. He hears and feels bones snap in his wrist. He cries out. Her teeth now drip with blood. He thrashes about in lack of anything better to do. The black eyes look on mercilessly, mesmerising. She bites him gently on the arm, enough to break the skin and dig in her teeth. Something burns him like acid. He pulls away and could feel the muscle rip and move in ways it shouldn’t. He spits angrily at her raised face. She leans in and strokes his face. The claws scratch.
    “Don’t be like that, darling. Don’t struggle, it’ll be over soon.”
    “Go to hell.”
    The claws dig in harshly, painfully. He could feel one scrape against a tooth. She runs her hand down his face then neck, claws in his skin slightly, making parallel tracks. “I’m already in hell; I’m just taking you with me.” She pulls her lips back from her teeth and lowers her head, hair gleaming slightly in the dim light.
    He gasps when the horrible teeth break the skin and puncture his carotid vein slightly. He stretches his head up and away from her.
    She hisses into his neck. “Do you want to die? Stop moving.”
    Tears of terror run down his face, making the wound there sting. “You’re not killing me?” His voice is very quiet and shakes.
    She releases her bite and places a smooth palm there, stopping the flow of blood. “I wouldn’t dream of killing someone like you.”
    He makes a noise of shock. He’s paralysed with fear. He wants to scream defiantly in her face the thought that runs through his head. I’d rather die. A squeak bubbles up his throat. He jerks each time she bites him roughly. There’s a burning in his stomach. She bites him again and again, occasionally taking pieces of his flesh which she consumes. Time loses meaning for him. He watches, sometimes screaming or fighting to no avail, as her gruesome face gets bloodier and bloodier until it can get bloodier no more. He faintly takes notice of the acidic burning spreading throughout his shredded body. Sometimes he loses consciousness and the dark shed turns black. Sometimes she bites him and doesn’t let go for a while. The acid strengthens then.

    She sighs and gets off of him. He doesn’t move. She licks her lips, liking the taste of fresh raw flesh. The black wings sprouting from her shoulders stir her hair around her smoothing face. The clawed fingers make fists, digging into her palms. Her thoughts were gloomy.
    “Don’t die.” Her voice is rough.
    She spits onto his open stomach. It’s a pool of black against bright red before seeping in. She waits a moment before sighing in frustration and annoyance. Standing up she raises fingers to her mouth and sucks on them, freshening the taste of the man she didn’t mean to revenge enough to kill. She nudges her bare foot against him roughly. His fingers twitch and she grins. Her elongated ears flick around, searching for any sound of people. Her face pushes out a snout again. He gasps heavily and sits up quicker than any human. He lunges at the nearest living thing. She leaps back, grinning triumphantly with pointed teeth dripping again with black.
    “Welcome to the night, brother.”

    He stands and backs away cautiously. She isn’t planning to attack him, not a worry. He looks around warily, searching for danger. His eyes return to the woman in front of him. She’s familiar. She holds out a clawed hand, offering. Her lips are pulled up into a glorious smile.
    “Come, join me. We will hunt.”
    Her beautiful face shows excitement. The large ears flicker. He has a strange pang of jealousy. He reaches out and, impatiently, she grabs his wrist. He crouches, hisses and yanks his hand back in one quick movement. She holds out her palms in apology. She turns, her wings blowing a wind into his face, and walks to the dark rectangle in the wall that is the door. She glances over her shoulder enticingly as she exits. He follows this intriguing woman, instinctively knowing he was the same as her even though they look different. The night accepts him gladly.

    She is gleeful as she slips silently through the night. The no longer man follows not so quietly behind her. She can remember her first night Diseased. Ripping apart her first human. He steps on a stick and it snaps her out of her reminiscing. A house looms up in front of her, the illuminated windows like eyes. She slows the quick pace to a walk before stopping. He stops next to her. She’s pleased that he’s got used to the change so quickly.
    “Wait here until I tell you to come.”
    He nods his agreement with her quiet command. She flits to the door and opens it, smiling about the stupidity of the people who left their door unlocked. The sharp tang of alcohol fills her nose. A quick scan of the room finds a young man lying on the couch gazing blindly at the television. She waves a hand over her shoulder before entering further into the room. He turns up beside her. She moves so her mouth rests on his ear.
    “Take him outside. Bite, rip, tear. Enjoy his blood. Go,” she breathes into his ear.
    She could see the predatory smile on his face.

    He takes quiet, swift steps to the couch. He could feel the life pulsing from the man. A hand flashes out and grabs the collar of the damp shirt. He drags the panicking man outside, whose hands wrap tightly around the wrist. From the light spilling from the doorway he could see confusion. A shadow flickers over them and he glances quickly up at the woman. She then growls and hisses ferociously. Fear pours onto the panicking man’s face as a result and the no longer man smiles. His eyes lock onto the part of the body where the life runs the closest to the skin. The neck. He swings his head down, mouth open, and shivers when his teeth pierce the skin. Blood flows into his mouth and he swallows. The man screams beneath him. He pulls back, shaking. There’s pain. On his face, fingers and shoulders, in his jaw. A moan escapes him. With a twinge, the pain on his back disappears. The pain on his fingers flash away. The pain in his face fades slowly with the pain in his jaw. He stretches his back up to the black sky. He looks at the woman. She looks triumphant. He looks down his snout at the man below him. Pure terror. His lips pull back from pointed teeth. The man below him screams but gets cut off when a clawed hand covers his mouth. The pointed teeth rip into the shoulder and come back with a dripping chunk of flesh which disappears down the aching throat. He grins before he goes for the throat, tearing the skin, muscles and veins. The unlucky man stops moving. Something makes a noise and he freezes. Looking around he assures himself it was the woman. He tears out another chunk of flesh and swallows it quickly. She steps closer and he bares his teeth at her. His head snaps to the right painfully from a hit and he growls deep in his chest. He slowly turns his head to face her, teeth bared again.

    She plants her foot back in the grass and bares her teeth in return. His drip red and her stomach churns. She’s hungry, having had to restrain herself with this man now facing her.
    “I created you, I can destroy you.”
    His lips drop back over his teeth and he stands. As she approaches he moves away. She drops to her knees and gouges a chunk from the other shoulder. It creeps soothingly down her throat. She rips another bite and raises her head. With a hand, she invites him over.

    He steps timidly to the body she feasts on. He kneels down on the opposite side to her. Her claws curve perfectly into the flesh. He digs his own in and takes a bite out of the stomach.
    They finish the body off quickly. Only the bones remain, scraps of flesh hanging off of them, and the full head. She smiles at him, her face a mess. His mouth pulls up in response. She sits back and folds her black leather clad legs beneath her. He watches her silently as she gazes up at the paling sky. As he watches her face flattens, smooths to that of a human. The ears shrink and the teeth grow round. The claws shrink but don’t disappear, more like pointy fingernails. He licks his lips slowly. He could go for another person but if she doesn’t give the permission he will live without.
    Her black eyes slide to him. “Calm. Change back.”
    He continues to gaze at her beauty, even in human form. He takes a deep breath of night air. Almost pleasantly, his face smooths out. She watches quietly.
    “Always hide the death. Wild animals, as we’ve done here, or feral dogs. Any reasonable excuse.”
    He nods slowly. There is a noise, a crack of a stick, very faint. He stiffens, snouted again. His ears flick rapidly in all directions. He stands and crouches into a ready stance. She follows, claws out, pointed teeth dripping and bared. Her ears search similarly. There is a whirring noise and he sees her leap a large distance away. An arrow bounces off the house directly behind where she had stood. His eyes lock onto the dark between two trees. Someone is there.

    His heart thunders. The bow is slipping slightly in his sweaty hands. A miss. She dodged him again. He draws another arrow and nocks it. He could see her trying to see into the dark where he hides. Silently, he thanks good fortune for the bat’s bad eyesight. His hands shake as he pulls back. She creeps closer in her terrifying beauty. The black wings flutter. His hands don’t move when she smiles. His mind screams at him to do it. His arms are tiring. Something breaks through the bush next to him and pins him to the ground. A cry of surprise tears out of his throat. The arrow spears off wildly.

    She twines her fingers together, pleased, and paces quickly to where the man is pinned by her man. She stands menacingly above them and scowls, recognising her foe.
    “You. Your luck has run out.”
    She reaches down and grabs his jaw. Her claws bite into his skin. She smiles again. His face is pale. Other clawed hands hold down his arms.
    “You’ve been so unsuccessful, inferior Quarantiner. So close, so many times. So many lucky escapes.” She lets go of him roughly.
    The bright blood stands out against his pale face even in the dim light.
    He shakes with fear and his voice wavers when he speaks, taking the hard, defiant edge off of the phrase. “Where one will fail, another will take his place to rid the world of the Diseased.”
    “Then there will be endless deaths by my hands.” She bares her teeth in a savage grin.

    She meets his eye and silently gives consent. He looks back to the man below him and grins himself. The man’s eyes finally lock onto him. They are wide with fear. He licks his pointed teeth before swiftly taking a chunk of the man out of his chest. He screams in pain. The meat slides quickly down his throat. The yearning is too much and he goes for the neck. He buries his teeth in deep and the man stops screaming. Blood pours into his mouth. He swallows greedily. There is a light tap on his shoulder and he has to remind himself that it is her. He looks up. Someone stirs in the house.
    “We have to leave.”
    He stands up reluctantly and she runs. He follows close behind. He loses sight of her for a moment.

    Dawn is breaking. She stops under a big pine. He appears next to her, nearly as silent as her now. There is a faint scream of horror and she watches his ears catch the sound. She smiles. Her face recedes and ears shrink. Sounds quieten. He watches her intently. His face flattens, ears shrink and wings fold and fade. Satisfied, she notices how quickly he has taken to life Diseased. He now just needs to know the basics.
    “Never go out in daylight visibly Diseased. Always be aware. Only kill when easily done. Quarantiners aren’t common but they are everywhere. They are hard to spot but are only human. Avoid other Diseased.”
    He takes it in silently. The blood that covers his face is starting to dry, she could feel it on her face. Her lips curl up into a seductive smile.
    “We have the world before us, on their knees, easy pickings.”
    He smiles gloriously. “Then let’s enjoy it.”