New Girl in Town
By Lynn Nicholas
“You’re not from around here are you?” He spoke full-voice, as though addressing a crowded room.
Startled, she tucked-in her chin and shook her head “no”. Not from around here? What could have given her away? She was trying so hard to blend.
“Cat got your tongue?” The nasal timber of the man’s voice was jarring to ears used to more understated, musical sounds.
She blinked in confusion. Why would a cat have my tongue? She must have misunderstood. With pronounced reluctance, she looked up. A tall, male figure blocked her view of the lake. His back was to the setting sun, his face a featureless shadow, even with one hand shading her eyes. She forced her lips into a smile, careful not to show her teeth.
He tilted his head and gestured towards the bench. Not waiting for an invitation, he settled in beside her.
With the heel of her boot, she scooted the crucial resource canister further under the bench. She hoped the generous folds of her long skirt hid the movement.
I’m guessing you’re a tourist,” he said. “Probably don’t know this park usually closes at sundown. And another thing you probably don’t know is how dark it gets up here. This town minimizes outdoor lighting because of the observatory. You’re darn lucky it was me that came along, not some wise-ass punk.”
Her large eyes widened and her fingers twitched ever so slightly. She kept her gaze on the lake, but felt him turn towards her.
“So, Ms. New-To-Town, I’m Roy Dennis. And you are?”
She pressed her tongue against her teeth; her lips pursed, and then flattened. This language still felt awkward in her mouth, and she had to focus hard to form the correct sounds. She cleared her throat before speaking.
“Daria. My name is Daria.” Pleased at the ease with which the words floated from her throat, she turned towards him, letting her lips part in the slightest of smiles. She waited. A slight tremor of confusion crossed his face.
“Your eyes,” he stammered. “So large, and the color, so unusual—blue, indigo blue—no, more like purple.”
It seemed an effort for him to break eye contact. He looked away and rubbed his palms over his trousered thighs. She watched, fascinated with his reaction. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders before turning back towards her.
“So, did you come to watch the meteor shower? It’s predicted to be the most spectacular in years.”
“Yes, the meteor shower, that’s why I’m here. I am very much looking forward to it.” She kept her voice low-pitched and softly modulated. Folding her slender hands in her lap, she turned her attention to the darkening skies over the lake. It took an effort to ignore her hunger.
“Nice accent you have there. It’s unfamiliar—eastern European?” He leaned in and reached for a hand, examining her long fingers with the oddly blunt nail beds.
Her mind froze. She recoiled from his earthy scent—something between compost and fermented fruit. He seemed oblivious to her distaste.
“Such slim fingers. Are you a musician or a sculptor?” he asked, tracing a line from her wrist to her fingertip. “No, I think you must be one of those quiet, brainy types.”
“You are correct,” she said. “I am trained in both human genetics and biochemistry.” His hold slackened, and she discreetly reclaimed her hand.
Darkness fell quickly. Meteors began their dying dance across the sky. Interspersed and almost unnoticed were smaller, faster moving, reddish-purple streaks, which continued to flare all the way to the ground. The man’s eyes were glued to the show.
She glanced to her left and then to her right. The few other spectators were just darkened figures seated on the grass, closer to the lakeshore. She gently turned the man’s face towards hers as she wrapped her left arm around his waist. His eyebrows rose as if surprised, but he moved closer with an expectant upturn to lips, ready to be lost in a kiss.
Her luminous eyes narrowed and, with a barely discernable vibrating hum, they emitted a light purple beam that locked the man to her. He stiffened as her fingers stretched across his face, one broad fingertip resting just below his right nostril. With laser precision she released the feeding tentacle. From the nasal cavity it drove through the ethmoid bone with such speed he had no time to feel anything other than a sensation of searing heat, before blackness darkened the spark in his surprised eyes. In seconds his brain tissue liquefied and she placed her mouth on his, locking his jaw open with her pincer teeth. With her eyes closed, she sucked out every drop of the nourishing, protein-filled brain broth. The vessel that had held the man slackened against her.
With a deep sigh of complete satisfaction, she let his useless body slide sideways, his head landing in her lap. She raised her eyes to night sky, enjoying the last shooting-star flashes of meteors, while searching among them for the unmistakable tinge of purple that signaled another landing pod. They would be scattered, but they’d find each other.
Daria stood, sliding the unpleasant-smelling being off her lap, and reached under the bench to reclaim her communication canister. Without a backward glance, she blended like a shadow into the darkness, the soft grass muffling her movements.
- - -
Lynn Nicholas writes out of Arizona, supervised by two dog friends, a supportive husband, and a black cat who keeps everyone in line. Flash fiction publications include: Every Day Fiction, A Long Story Short, Wow! (Women on Writing), Gay Fiction, and Rose City Sisters. Lynn is a member of the Society of Southwestern Authors.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
New Girl in Town
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