It had been raining recently. My weight sunk my right shoe deeper into the peat. I ran my fingers across the moss covered log and felt water droplets squeeze between two fingers. It was undisturbed, and somehow this was more unnerving than it would have been to see evidence of his predator. I released my breath in a low hiss, stopping to listen. A crack, and the flutter of feathers, as a bird I had never seen before shot out of a tree with a speed unbecoming of such a peaceful looking animal. I began to feel like I was being watched. Sweat beaded on my forehead, obscuring the fog that was precipitating there already. It felt like an early fall or winter dawn, but it always felt like that here. It made the silence feel deeper and wider. Every second I knelt there, unmoving, built the pressure in my ears up and up until I could hear nothing but a roaring. The noise broke as I felt the predator move, milliseconds before I saw him, all white and green and brown and fast, streaking out of the corner of my eye. I dodged, and he was gone. My instincts were improving, enough that this time, I had moved fast enough to avoid the other man's long, muscular arm that he held out, claws spread, to grab my torso. He did leave a lingering scent, one of soft leather and sweat and some wraith equivalent of testosterone. The smell was invigorating – enough to get me moving again, though I felt that my ability to get away may be getting weaker, and I was becoming drawn in by the idea of giving up the fight. I pressed on, and entered the woods.
With the scent of wraith strong in my nostrils, I felt my faculties dulling. I had to rely on my hearing. My thoughts strayed for a few moments as I wondered about that other sense, instinct, and its ability to help me now. That second was enough. My thoughts had strayed far enough away from my present in that interval. I felt the increase in air pressure at my back, followed by a heavy force, and all of a sudden I was on my back. The predator looked down on me and snarled, the light in his reptilian yellow eyes shining out against the backdrop of slick pale green. His long white hair, tangled and unkempt, dangled down and brushed the front of my jacket – I could almost feel the strands through the thick cotton. With a long claw, the wraith tore open the buttons and exposed my chest, scraping a long line as he did it, and exposing the faintest droplets of blood. With his right hand, he pressed down just above my heart, and let out a growl so guttural that I felt that this time, despite what came before, he would feed.
But he withdrew his hand, tracing a line carefully along where it had been before, and I became aware of an increased pressure against my abdomen. My breath hitched in my throat with excitement and with the remains of fear and adrenaline, lingering as my heart attempted to slow down. This time, he would take what he wanted from me, as he did every time and for which I waited every time he came back into our lives. The first time, similar to yet so different from now, I had been unable to make the decision to back away from him, and had given in despite my revulsion. I had been curious, but mostly I was aware that I had wanted him since even before we knew he could be trusted.
I curved my back, leaning into him and letting him take my arms behind my head. He grasped at my wrists with his non-feeding hand, holding them firmly together and away from my body. This time, what the wraith wanted after the hunt was one kind of touch; next time, it might be another. I would face that issue if I had to, but for now this was worth the risk.