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The Dawn Saves Not

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As she was dragged through the snow and away from the false security of camp, it was peculiar to Danielle that the thought that kept pounding in her head wasn’t help or please no or let me go.

The thought was there even as she screamed and snow slid beneath her clothes to melt against her struggling body. Despite the creature’s strong, clawed grip at the scruff of her neck, the thought just repeated itself, over and over, blending into a cacophony of uniformity in her head.

Raymond Banks is innocent! Raymond Banks is innocent! Raymondbanksisinnocentraymondbanksisinnocentbanksisinnocentinnocentinnocentinnocent…

Despite her own howling and the creature’s snarling, she could hear her friends calling for her, horror and panic lacing their voices as they stumbled around in the darkness. Their voices were quickly fading, muffled by snow and majestic pine trees.

Even when Danielle passed out, Raymond Banks was still in her mind. His pale blue eyes, fixing her maniacally. The chewing of fingernails. The blood when his teeth abandoned the nails and moved to the folded flesh of his cuticles. And then fingertips. The symbol he had painted on the glass while raving like the unhinged madman that everyone believed he was. The symbol painted in blood.

Innocent.

 


 

She woke up from her own pained cry as a multitude of terrible jagged things sank into the vulnerable flesh of her throat. Danielle tried to lash out, to pay her attacker back in kind, but found that she was flat on her back, wrists pinned above her head while something large crouched over her, the pain constant in the flesh of her neck, and suckling, Oh God, there was suckling and she realized that the creature’s bare, gray head was buried in her hair, its lips pressed into her flesh and its multitude of teeth needled inside her neck.

She remembered the autopsy photos. Millicent Barnam… all the others… the circlets of mysterious and gruesome little punctures on their bodies. That detail had never sat right with her. No zoologist or forensic expert or pathologist that she had consulted had been able to conclusively identify those marks, and now she knew that her own marks would match theirs when her body was found naked and cold in the snow, stiff and pale like a porcelain doll. And drained of blood.

The technical term is exsanguination, her brain supplied uselessly.

Just as she thought that the thing astride her was preparing to truly drain her until she was just a pale dead husk, it released her wrists and righted itself, snow crunching as its weight shifted.
Remaining crouched across her hips, it straightened its back and let out a terrible howl that had no counterpart in the natural world. Danielle clamped her hands over her ears, whimpering at the noise that was to be her death knell.

The creature then turned it’s pale eyes back to her, its pupils tiny black specks amidst milky white. Its brows were grotesquely shaped, rising to points above its deep-set eyes and its nose was nothing but a snout, the slits in it flaring as it regarded her. Her blood painted its lips black in the moonlight. The bright snow reflected the lunar glow, tinting its gray skin with a ghostly shimmer of aquamarine and allowing her to see far more of the creature than she wanted.

The calls of her friends in the distance as they fervently searched for her in the darkness made its pointy ears prick, its gaze leaving her and flickering about. Its features twisted into a snarl as the faraway sounds continued.

She hadn’t the time to think much else until it grabbed her long dark hair, wrenching it taut and dragging her with it once again. Danielle found her voice again, struggling and wailing despite the weakness of her blood loss. Predictably, it had no effect on the thing as it dragged her where it would, the comfort of her friends’ voices dissolving into nothing.

Her fighting and screaming, paired with blood loss and absolute terror, took its toll on her after only a minute or two. She could feel unconsciousness slithering behind her eyes, its leaden veil shrouding her mind and forcing her eyes to roll back into her head. Heedless of the fact that she was still being hauled through the snow, Danielle gratefully slid into oblivion.




A ceiling of mottled rock greeted her when she came to. Danielle moaned weakly, briefly confused at these new surroundings and uncomprehending of her situation at first. Lifting her head slightly from where she laid on her side, she saw that she was under a rocky outcropping that formed a half-cave, only around thirty feet deep.

The memories came back then, stampeding into her brain and prompting her to scramble up from her prone position. A small thread of hope twined in her chest as she saw the indigo beginnings of dawn in the sky outside.

But that same dim light then allowed her to see the outline of the creature that had taken her. It was crouching nearby and watching her intently, completely still with monstrous wings folded behind its body and looking for all the world like a gargoyle perched upon some gothic European parapet.

Danielle’s eyes grew wide, a silent gasp of fear escaping her mouth. Suppressing the panic that demanded that she simply run, crawl, scramble, anything to get away from that thing, she started to slowly and carefully back up, instead. She could not approach the opening of the outcropping, for that was where the creature sat hunched, its milky eyes following her movements.

Inching her back to press against the rock wall, she started to move towards the opening, as far away from the thing as she could. If she got close enough, she reasoned, she could perhaps just bolt. That’s about as far as her brain allowed her to think. She knew that it could easily catch her again. She knew that she might tumble off some cliff outside and break her neck. But desperation did not allow her to dwell on these things.

But as she approached the opening, a low rumble started to thrum in the creature’s chest. To Danielle, it sounded like a gravelly, twisted version of a dog’s warning growl. She noticed that the creature’s shoulders bunched with her next movement. It was now or never, she thought as she lunged toward the dark blue sky.

It was ridiculous, how fast it caught her and how pathetic her little escape attempt was. Its clawed hands clamped down on her waist and with a growl, it yanked her back into the shadows of the shallow cave.

Once it had dragged her to the very back of the cavern, it descended upon her, wings flaring and scraping the rock ceiling above them as it was upon her once again, straddling her hips, its claws swiping at her and horrid snarls emerging from its throat.

The creature yanked down her parka and the sweater underneath, clamping its teeth into her shoulders, then about her collarbones, biting her like the animal it was. Its claws left throbbing tracks where they gouged her pale flesh. Danielle screamed and cursed and writhed under it, her fingers scratching at its head, shoulders; anything to deter it from devouring her.

It stopped abruptly, and Danielle was so shocked that she stilled, as well. Besides, if it suddenly grew calm, she should not antagonize it by fighting, she reasoned.

She saw its white eyes glowing in the shadows above her. Slowly, it moved down her body until it climbed off her altogether, crouching down by her knees. Danielle had little time to ruminate over this turn of events when it suddenly gripped her hips and dug its snout into the junction between her legs, inhaling deeply through her sturdy trousers.

With that, strength that she didn’t know that she had returned. A horrified scream emerged from her and she kicked out, her booted foot connecting with the creature’s face. Clawing desperately at the rock floor, she managed to stumble up and flee a few paces toward the salvation that the dawn represented before the creature tackled her to into a wall with a roar that made the rock around them tremble. Danielle slumped to the floor and the thing pounced on her like a gray cat.

She fought it, wailing with fear and anguish, her fists flailing blindly and tears wetting her pale cheeks. Cold air hit her skin as the thing started to shred her clothing, leaving many bleeding streaks in her soft flesh.

Its intent was unmistakable to Danielle now. It wanted to claim the precious gift that she had intended for someone that she truly loved, and now this gray nightmare would tear it out of her. The murderous thing that haunted the Black Water Woods would possess her innocence for all time.

She sobbed and pleaded desperately as it tore away the last scraps of her clothing, baring all of her untouched flesh for its ghastly pallid gaze.

It caught her wrists in one hand again, ducking down to smell her body, snuffling her hair with soft snarls. Her throat and breasts and belly were all bathed in its breath, its exhalations feeling like hellfire on her skin.

It burrowed its snout in between at the apex of her thighs, growling hungrily into her exposed flesh. Danielle clamped her legs together as tightly as she could. It released her hands to wrench them open and was completely heedless of her tears and frenetically hammering fists.

A terrible prehensile tongue probed her untouched folds, its heat nearly burning her. Danielle wept with fear and humiliation, her vision blurring as she tried to writhe away from its questing mouth. She groaned with disgust and helplessness as its tongue tasted her for a few moments, the heat of it stinging her tender flesh.

With an extended, rumbling growl, it withdrew its face from between her thighs. She tried to immediately move away from it, but the creature would have none of it. Its taloned hands gripped her hard enough to bruise, its teeth sinking into her soft and sensitive inner thigh.

Danielle almost hoped that it would shred her femoral artery, and she would be lucky enough to bleed out in only a few minutes. But she was never that lucky.

With little effort, the thing flipped her over onto her stomach and pulled her hips up to expose her to him. Danielle braced her palms into the floor immediately, trying to rise from the demeaning position, but it shoved her down again with a ferocious snarl, its claws grabbing her hair and pulling it back, forcing her back to arch.

Danielle could not help the hysterical scream that ripped out of her throat when she felt it crouch behind her and fit its angular hips against her backside. Something blunt, large and burning hot slid against her. The creature reached between them with a throaty groan, its claws plucking at her tender folds and spreading her unwilling flesh for its use.

Her nails dug into the rock floor when she felt that horrid large thing nudging at her again. She glanced back, begging for it to stop, but the results were the same. It ignored her. Its milky gaze was moist and shining with horrifying lust. It was crouching still, thighs spread; angling itself and growing frustrated when it wasn’t able to immediately penetrate the entrance to her body.

Until the tip of its repulsive member caught the small, tight circle of her opening.

Danielle screamed when it drove its entire hard, pulsing length into her with one seamless thrust, roaring like some hellborn monstrosity and throwing its arms around her waist. The gift that she had been saving for her true love was ripped from her body as the creature claimed her, spreading its thighs even wider where it crouched in order to get as deep inside of her as possible.

Her vision went blank with the searing pain when it shredded her innocence and carved her and filled her and reduced her to an aching hole for it to use as it pleased. The agony stole the strength from her arms and she slumped down, suspended by its arms around her belly and the terrible hard thing that pinned her to its gangly body.

It started moving then, showing itself into her hard enough to buck against her womb which wrenched a cry of pain from her. Her flesh seemed to close when it withdrew only to split open anew when it forced itself inside of her, over and over again. Its pace was punishing as it fucked her greedily, growling and snarling and barking with savage pleasure. Danielle felt the movement of air on her skin and heard the sound of its leathery wings as they unfolded, seemingly by their own volition as the creature reveled in her bleeding, tight flesh.

It fucked her until she felt completely wrenched open, until she hadn’t the energy to scream anymore. The creature howled, its thrusts growing harder and more urgent. Its arms cinched tighter around her waist as it ground into her as deeply as possible. A terrified gulp escaped her when its member started to expand just inside her entrance.

It swelled and filled her beyond the breaking point, stretching and tearing her opening even more until one last weak cry of excruciation was wrenched from her lips. Just when she thought that its expanding member would shatter her hips, the creature pumped its scorching seed deep into her with a roar of rapture.

It remained still behind her, crouched, with its labored, rumbling breath wafting across her skin. Its wings folded down and encased them; its hips rolling softly, agitating her abused flesh and making the swollen base inside of her throb. It's arms moved from around her; its hands clutching her lower belly tightly. Pressing hard enough to make her groan, it pushed her lower belly inwards until she could feel the repulsive knot inside of her press against her abdominal walls. Its long tongue gently licked at the blood on her back and shoulders. Finally, the grotesque swell of its member waned, and the creature disengaged from her with a sickening noise.

Danielle could feel large amounts of her own blood leave her following its withdrawal, streaming down her thighs in hot torrents and mixed with the creature’s seed. All strength had abandoned her and she crumpled to the floor in a naked, bloody heap.

Her violent, damaging defilement and the feeding that the thing had taken from her earlier had divested her of too much blood. Danielle felt a sensation of… fading. Her tortured breaths were growing shallow. It did not take her long to realize that she was dying. There was a sense of peace as the pains in her body became more distant as she continued to bleed out.

But then a hot hand, gushing blood that tasted not like blood, was placed over her pale violet lips. The creature’s unblood flowed down her throat and into her belly, unfurling like tendrils of flame that snapped her back into her body and chased away the peace that she had been drifting toward.

Impossibly, she could feel torn flesh knitting itself back together. Somehow, this was far worse than being deflowered by the creature. She screamed brokenly with the horror of a thing trammeled in its own personal cage of madness and torment. The blushing dawn finally peeked above the treetops, making them look like jagged black teeth against the pink and orange hues of the morning. Right before falling unconscious, Danielle felt something stir inside of her belly.

 


 

“Holy shit. This one’s alive!”

“That can’t be, what the fuck…”

“She’s buck-ass naked! He done a number on her too, but why ain’t she dead? Why ain’t she fuckin’ frozen to death?”

There were man-voices yammering around her where she stood, pale and naked and bloody in the pristine snow. Danielle did not know how she came to be here, rather than in the shallow cave where the creature had taken her. It seemed unimportant, really. It was nicer here, inside her own catatonic mind. Things were much simpler in there. There was no one and nothing there except her.

Well, there was her… and the Issue.

She could feel It move in her belly. Growing larger by the minute. The Issue was the only thing that could truly reach her in her abstraction as It fondly whispered to her. Danielle whispered right back to It, smiling inwardly as the Issue murmured back at her with unmistakable affection, in a secret language that only the two of them knew.

“She’s not dead because He did not wish it,” a new voice said, a woman-voice, interrupting the babble of the males.

The woman-voice managed to interrupt the reverie that Danielle was sharing with the Issue, allowing her attention to drift beyond the serene chambers of her catatonia for a moment.

She thought she recognized the woman-voice. Maybe. She wasn’t sure. Wait… Yes, she knew this woman-voice. The same voice had allowed her and some friend-like people rent a cabin, and that same voice had told her that Raymond Banks was the devil. Danielle remembered a fleshy face and thick eyeliner and eyelashes clumped together with cheap mascara, looking like black bug legs.

“Why the fuck not? Are we gonna have to kill her now? He ain’t never done this before, He always drains them and…”

“Idiot,” the woman snapped. “She isn’t dead because He seeded her. Are you so blind that you can’t see the virgin’s blood on her thighs? His markings all over her? Tell me any other time you’ve seen Him leave marks of ownership on the other whores. He hasn’t, because the whores are for feeding. He deemed this one fit for seeding.”

“The hell,” a male voice exclaimed, baffled. “Seeded? But why ain’t she froze?”

“Because,” the woman-voice hissed, “He’s fed her His blood to strengthen her after their union. To strengthen the seed inside of her. With His blood inside of her, she cannot freeze or even be hurt without her body healing itself. It is such a blessing! Don’t you think that delivering His spawn would kill her otherwise? Don’t you think that He would protect the dame of His offspring? Were you sleeping through every single town gathering? Or were you drunk, as usual?”

“Sorry,” the man-voice mumbled, “It’s just, this ain’t ever happened before.”

“No, it hasn’t,” the woman agreed. “Blessed be His consort and His spawn. We are so fortunate to witness something that has not happened in living memory! He found a suitable virgin to bear His spawn!”

Her fervent, chant-like rhetoric was interrupted by a new man-voice.

“Her friends are not too far away,” he told the group. “Headin’ this way. Should we kill them?”

“No,” the woman told him. “He will need to feed after His seeding of her. To regain His strength. Leave them alive; He does not feed on dead blood.”

“What about her?”

“Leave her here as well; let them find her. He will be able to find her friends much easier if she is with them. She has His blood now, and He has hers. They are linked. He will bring her to us when her time is near, which will be soon. We will take care of her and His spawn. This town has always made sure to please Him."

The voices faded then, and Danielle was left alone and shivering in the chilly morning light, hoarfrost clinging to her eyelashes and her breath clouding the air in front of her. It wouldn’t have been correct to say that she was freezing, because she was not. If anything, her shivering was a psychosomatic vestige of a past life in which her body knew that if it was cold, it needed to shiver.

Other voices approached now and the Issue fell silent, curling in on Itself with child-like fear. Danielle knew these voices. They were those of the friend-like people. She murmured internally to the Issue as It quivered slightly inside of her, telling It to not be afraid, because It was hers and she would protect It. And there, in between the tall pines, she saw the friend-things approach, their alien-sounding voices calling out to her.