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Sheherazade

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She flew from him. As fast as she could she ran along the road, despite knowing that he would overtake her effortlessly.

Panting she stopped for a second. At the moment he was still out of sight -- if she wanted to hide, she had to do it now. She had hardly formed the thought as her eyes fell on a huge fallen tree, lying at the bottom of a hill. It was almost completely grown over, but suddenly a stray moonbeam lit up an opening, behind which she could see a cave.

A good hiding place.

A small path led past the cave, and she let herself down from it. There, protected by the mighty roots of the tree, she buried herself as deep as possible into a corner, trying to make herself invisible between the fallen leaves.

Silently she whispered her thanks to the moon for leading her here. She almost liked it in the cave, it was so wonderfully quiet after all the excitement. She felt her heart calm and her breath slow down.

The whole thing seemed unreal, because deep down she did not fear her pursuer -- although he wanted to kill her. And she knew that was what he would do if he found her.

Maybe she should not have run away, when she had seen his shadow through the trees, but something inside of her had made her turn and flee. And he had pursued her, hunted her through the forest and thus brought her here. She was almost grateful, because she felt connected to this place. She almost forgot why she was here.

Now she felt him drawing near.

His eyes, the slanted eyes of a predator, looked at her through the opening of the cave. She tried to hide, despite her confused emotions. With a flowing movement he glided into her hiding place and approached her. She sat up and waited, pale but without trembling, for what was bound to happen.

For the fraction of a second he stopped, as if her behavior had touched him in some way. But quickly he got a hold of himself again and kneeled down in front of her with that catlike grace that showed in all his movements. She looked into green eyes, strangely gentle, as he caressed her face.

"Come on, you will like it." His voice was deep and tender, and to her own surprise she felt lust shivering inside her. A part of her remained calm, aloof, and marvelled about the softness of his lips and her own response of his kiss.

And as he laid her back upon the bed of leaves and caressed her, she wondered if death would come quickly.

But she didn't find any fear in her heart, only a certain curiosity -- and the passion his gentle hands, his warm body stirred inside her. Decisively she pulled him down to her, and their screams mingled in the darkness of the cave.

For a moment she seemed to become one with him, to be him and read the same feelings in his eyes. Then everything was dark.

But not forever.

Was she dead now? In a way she probably was, because she didn't have a body anymore. She didn't know where she was. She seemed to be floating at the ceiling of the cave, in the tangle of tree roots.
Beneath her he was lying, in the spot where she had sought to hide from him. He was sleeping, relaxed and peaceful. Time had to have passed -- her body had disappeared. What had he done with it?

She noticed that she could not move, say anything, feel anything -- only watch.

So she watched, she didn't know how long. She saw his victims, screaming with ecstasy before he killed them. The cave was his home -- he brought them all here. This meant more danger for him, if people in the surrounding area became suspicious. But still he didn't seem to be able to leave this place -- her place -- behind.

With time her understanding of him increased. That he was not 'evil', she had felt right from the start. He was just different, a creature of the night. Graceful, beautiful, gentle -- deadly.
But death never came forcefully and violent, but always on velvet feet without pain and suffering.

And while she watched him, her heart slowly grew warm again, filled with a strange love for him.

She drank in his beauty when he lay there in his sleep, deep breaths moving his strong bare chest. When he arched over his victims, passionate and breathless, it seemed to be her, who was writhing beneath him, unaware of death already waiting. She felt his joy when yet another girl had received death from him without regret, she saw his soft smile when he laid them to rest in the ground.

Suddenly she knew: she could return to him. And she wanted to, more than anything else. So the tree released her...

And when he came back, she was waiting for him. She sat naked in the same spot as the first time, smiling at him. A smile of recognition lit up his face as he approached with unbelieving joy. She offered him her hand, and as he took it, she pulled him towards her.

Already his lips were on hers, and while they sank back onto the bed of leaves, he managed to say between deep kisses: "How could you come back?" Then he held her a bit away and said tenderly: "But then you've never been like the others..." A gentle kiss. "You know that I'm going to kill you again?"

She simply nodded and pulled him against her once more. But as they found together again and again, she didn't want this to end. She wanted to feel him forever, be with him always, and not be separated from him by death.

Like an answer he stopped caressing her. "I should kill you now, before morning comes and makes it difficult to..." He didn't seem willing to say 'bury', he generally didn't seem very willing. She was not longer just one among many, had maybe never been...

She smiled and took her chance. "What if you only kill me tomorrow? We'd still have time..." She tightened her legs around him invitingly.

"Yes... tomorrow sounds good..." he agreed huskily, as they embraced once more.

Her whisper was almost soundless and was easily covered by his breath: "That remains to be seen..."