As the last colours of a stunning October sunset faded and the full moon began to rise, she sat on the moss covered dry stane wall hidden from the world by the overhanging branches. Silently she watched the cars whizz by, their exhaust fumes masking the tantalising smells of the rich variety of warm metallic blood of the drivers. Deep within her she could feel her hunger stirring. It had been too long since she had last fed on human blood. Sheep and deer were all very sweet but they never satiated her thirst. Crossing her long slender legs, she sighed and continued to watch and wait.
Two miles to the south west of where she sat, one of her potential victims was preparing to go for a run before enjoying a late dinner. Unbeknown to him, the dark angel had been silently watching him for months, stalking her prey but biding her time until the conditions and her desires were aligned. It had been a long dull day in the office and, having had no opportunity to grab some fresh air at lunchtime, he was impatient to get outside.
Lifting his iPod and beanie from the arm of the couch, he called out, “Will be back in about an hour,” then he was gone out into the chill dark evening air.
Two miles east of where the angel waited, another potential victim was throwing on his training gear, muttering sourly under his breath. It had been a lousy day from start to finish. The trains to Glasgow had been messed up in the morning, causing him to be late for work. They had still been running late when he arrived back at the station shortly after five o’clock, killing all hopes of getting the early “fast” train. When he had finally arrived back at his car and driven to the gym, the gym car park had been full. He hated to run outdoors in the dark but he had a schedule to adhere to. Now, as he yanked the laces of his trainers tight, he was silently cursing the cold autumn weather.
“I might be back,” he growled as he left the house, slamming the front door behind him.
From her perch on the wall, the angel picked up on the scents of both runners as they approached her. The younger one, approaching from her right, was moving swiftly, light on his feet and teasing her senses with the richness of the blood pulsing in his arteries; the older man ran with a far heavier tread but he too was approaching at a steady pace. She could almost taste his blood on her lips. It may be older but there was something ambrosial about it. With one graceful movement she was standing on top of the wall, sniffing the air around her. After a few moments deliberation, she decided to investigate both potential victims before choosing her moment to dine.
One of them was going to satiate her hunger before the moon had fully risen in the cloudless night sky.
With two strong beats of her powerful black wings, she soared over the trees and followed the treeline in search of the older man. She spotted him easily, his bald head glinting in the moonlight. Circling round behind him, high above and hidden by shadows from the cliff face opposite, she drank in the smells of his body – his exotic metallic blood musk mixed with sweat. Running her tongue over her fangs, she hung in the air for a few seconds watching and fantasising.
Soundlessly she glided high above him, following the winding trail of the pavement as it passed the popular beach picnic spot until she spied her other potential victim. He was completely focussed on his run, oblivious to the world around him. Risking being seen, the angel dropped down to earth among the cluster of pine trees opposite the garden centre. As he ran past, she drank in his rich sweet scent and sighed. Her senses finely tuned, she could hear the music that was blasting into his ears. She listened to the song for a moment or two before stepping back further into the trees.
Out on the pavement the two men were in sight of each other. A fact unknown to their silent witness was that they knew each other. As they ran past each other, they called out a friendly greeting and promised to watch out for each other on the return leg of their run.
When the older athlete drew level with the stand of trees, the angel made her decision. Hunger burning deep within her, she let out a low hiss before taking flight to pursue her meal. Just a little more patience and she would reap her reward. She knew the perfect spot to attack. There was an incline just beyond the old gamekeeper’s lodge, unlit by street lights. For a few yards she would be totally concealed by darkness.
Taking up her chosen position, she watched the pavement in silence, listening for the laboured breathing and sniffing the air for hints of the distinctive scent.
Thud. Thud. Thud. The steady rhythm of her chosen runner echoed through the night.
Fangs bared, wings spread out majestically, the angel stepped out from the shadows. Her bite was deep and deadly as she ripped out the man’s throat, rendering it impossible for him to scream for help. Wrapping her wings round him, she crushed his thrashing limbs as she drank slowly of his rich warm blood. Its strong ferrous taste teased her own taste buds. This was not a kill to be hurried; this was a banquet to be savoured. As she feasted, his struggle ceased then he hung limp in her deadly embrace. Greedily she drained the last drops of blood from his veins before it grew cold, his life force now spent. As the fresh blood pulsed through her, the fallen angel became aware of the other runner’s footfall approaching.
Time had run away from her in her greed. With her fangs still dripping, she scooped up the lifeless, drained corpse and soared into the night sky. Gently beating her wings, she floated high over the pavement as the other man ran along the road beneath her.
Again, as before, she could hear the music he was listening to. It was a song she had heard him listen to before, “Watch Over You.”
“Oh, I’ll watch over you,” she thought as she dropped down onto the road a few yards behind him.
With a final glance down at the drained body in her arms, she displayed a rare tenderness. The dark angel kissed his cheek before dropping his corpse into the pile of dry leaves that was banked against the dry stane wall. As she beat her wings and soared up into the night sky, the draft blew a covering of leaves over the man, leaving only his hand uncovered.