I went out with my night vision goggles and camera to do some owl watching. It was much easier to be around owls than all those men talking about what they wanted in a relationship. I had plenty of good sightings, which I recorded in my logbook.
It’s the events after that, which confuse me. But I’m just going to record all the facts, while I still remember them. I can analyze them later, after time gives me some perspective.
I gradually worked my way towards the lake. It was fairly quiet by then since most of the people had gone to bed. I could see a lightning storm light up the sky miles away but it was just hot and humid where I was. I could hear the small animals start moving around. The mesquite smell was quite distinct and I tried not to get too many twigs caught in my hair.
I finally found myself sitting still at the edge of a thicket, watching a horned owl that was a really magnificent male. I slowed my breathing, using some yoga exercises, and let myself blend into the scene.
I heard two people coming; well, actually I heard the woman first. She was loud, with a voice that combined the worst of Brooklyn and Texas. The man kept kissing her, which shut her up some. But then he’d do something else that freed up her mouth and she’d start letting loose with that voice. She had a really filthy mouth, talking about what she wanted from him. But it sounded as if he was carrying through on her requests.
I stayed still since I didn’t have an easy way to get out of there unnoticed.
They stopped in the clearing next to my thicket. I could see them easily. I probably didn’t need my night-vision goggles, given the moonlight. But with the goggles, I could see every detail. (I must remember to thank Bob for getting me military goggles, especially this brand-new prototype.)
The woman was blonde, with breasts that came from a catalog, not genetics.
The man was big, two meters tall, muscular, black hair and dark eyes, strong profile; I’ll remember that face forever. He looked like a fighter, nothing like a wimp.
It was Rafael Perez, the man I’d just met at the center.
He kissed her and kneaded those breasts through her T-shirt. She moaned some and clutched at him, definitely enjoying herself. Pretty soon he had his hand down her shorts and she started humping his hand ferociously. He quickly pulled her shorts and T-shirt off. Then his hands really became busy. Mercifully, his mouth stayed over hers and kept her fairly quiet, except for grunts and such.
He eased her down on the ground, with her legs spread. His hand kept working her, masturbating her until she started coming in a series of waves. I’m sure she was having multiple orgasms.
I couldn’t stop watching; I was frozen in place.
Then his mouth left hers, setting her free to start screeching again, and he bit her on the neck. It wasn’t a nice little nip either but a deep puncture.
He stopped for just an instant while his eyes searched the clearing. I went as still as I could, trying to make myself invisible. A little voice whispered in my head, “Go away.” I ignored the voice; I couldn’t leave without making noise to get out of the thicket. The little voice kept urging me to leave but I stayed where I was. I started to get a headache behind my eyes as the voice got louder, until it almost reached a shout. Still, I didn’t panic and run but remained in the thicket.
He evidently didn’t see me because his attention finally went back to her.
He started sucking her. I could see his fangs penetrate her flesh and his cheeks hollow as he drank her blood. He didn’t take much though, probably a little less than a pint.
His fangs were at least three centimeters long. The only thing I could think of was that he was a vampire. But I couldn’t believe that. Vampires are creatures of myth and legend, studied by social scientists. They’re not observed, while feeding, by a veterinarian.
I was shocked. I’ve seen predators take their prey before, at even closer range than this, but an attack on a human female was new to me.
I was scared to death. I started wondering what I should do. Should I try to stop him? How?
But all the time, I could hear that screech of hers, carrying on like he was God’s gift to women. So I stayed frozen, telling myself that I must be mistaken, that she wasn’t being hurt.
She caressed his head when he stopped drinking. He began to lick her shoulder and she just kept petting him, talking about how good he was in little gasps. When she’d recovered herself and her voice was back to its usual volume, he helped her to get dressed.
I could see a few drops of blood on her neck, just above her jugular.
They walked back towards the lake together, arm in arm. I followed them cautiously, as quietly as I could, which is very quiet indeed given my years of fieldwork. He was supporting her at first but gradually she started walking more and more on her own. She talked about shopping and chocolate, telling him that he was better than either.
They split up when they got in sight of the lake. She kissed him on the cheek and headed towards the lake alone, singing a pop song.
He watched her go while I kept an eye on him. When she was out of sight, he stretched his arms and legs, then his back. He looked almost like a bird preening on its nest. He was graceful too, which is hard to believe of someone that muscular.
Suddenly he shimmered. I blinked in surprise. When I focused again, a very big horned owl was taking off from where the man had been standing. (I know that owl wasn’t there before. I have no explanation for this; I’m just recording what I saw.)
The owl was gone within seconds and there was no sign of Rafael Perez. I searched hard, using my best tracking skills, but his trail stopped at the point where he had stretched.
Excerpt from The Hunter’s Prey by Diane Whiteside
Copyright © 2001 by Diane Whiteside
All rights reserved