This is a story for the Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Super-Ultra Mega Game of Aspects.

I highly suspect the RNG is out to get me at this point. Two weeks in a row with a genre I’m not a fan of. So this time I just took it literally and that’s that. I actually don’t mind how it came out.

So what the “thinks it’s funny, but really isn’t” RNG gave me was:

Subgenre: 3. Monster Erotica
Setting: 9. The Villian’s Lair
Conflict: 10. Temptation Versus Virtue!
Aspect to Include: 10. A small town
Theme: 10. Innocence can never be regained

And what I came up with follows:

Red and white lights blur past. Just pinpricks of light at a quarter mile away. The sounds of cars and trucks on the dark interstate are muted whispers. Speaking the language of movement, of travel, of escape.

Sally watches each vehicle appear and disappear into the night.

She has to get out of here. She has to leave. Tonight. Tonight or its not going to happen, she can feel it. The tipping point on the precipice. There’s a fall on either side and the mountain is crumbling. She’s falling either way, the choice is just which direction.

A big semi-rumbles past with a long load. She feels it distantly through her sneakers in the grass. A shortcut milky carpet around her. Lit by a soaring moon. A full moon.

It has to be tonight. For reasons she knows and doesn’t. For what tonight is. For Tuesday.

She swallows. Smells a whiff of blood on the wind. Possibly imagined. Coppery and bitter and sweet. Screams. Growls. Wet tearing. Heavy breaths.

Her stomach twists, not unpleasantly. Her fingernails and teeth shiver. She swallows again.

She has to leave.

The interstate is right there. She doesn’t have a car, but that doesn’t matter anymore. That convenient excuse doesn’t stand up now. She’ll walk if she has to, but she’s leaving.

So why is she still standing here? Why is she just watching the cars slide past? She should be moving.

She finally grits her teeth and forces herself to turn from the highway. To start walking back down the hill.

The town lays below her. What there is of it. It’s not what it once was. Two streets, one four way stop. A handful of glowing businesses spreading away from it like mold that stopped growing years ago.

Maybe it was a good place to grow up. She’d always thought so. There had been fields to run through and woods to. Old trees and a creek. She survived it, so maybe it hadn’t been all bad. She might have stayed at one point. Not now.

She walks along the shoulder of a gravel track. Past the entrance to the quarry, open, and the cemetery, locked. Coming and going. Only going is hard. Or perhaps they don’t want any coming from that one. Who knows. She keeps walking.

Old oaks appear as the gravel empties onto pavement. Oaks so old the road curves around the biggest of them. It would take a nuclear strike to uproot them anyway. Tornadoes have tried and failed. Men weren’t about to give it a shot. In places even the curving road is already cracking from far reaching roots.

A half mile of trees and she steps from a grassy shoulder onto sidewalks. “Downtown” as it is. Quiet on a Sunday night. The diner is open, she can see Melvin behind the counter through the big windows, but the cafe is closed along with the grocery store and even the bar. No hard drinks on Sunday so why bother. Most of the bulbs around the marquee for the theater are burned out but they had enough letters to spell the title for once. The one and only showing for the night will be getting out soon. The little glass box office booth is already shuttered.

She turns on to a side street. Starts passing shortcut lawns in front of ranch houses. The green ones signal sprinklers, the yellow ones, nature’s plan in early spring. More trees here, but smaller. A few more oaks, a few evergreens. Like naked Christmas trees planted and abandoned for 11 months of the year.

Her feet slow as she reaches the corner of Ash and Willow. She looks catty-corner to the big lot with the bigger house. The place is old. It exudes it in twisting waves through the yellow grass, the bare trees, the bent sidewalks. The Victorian house has settled. Everything has settled, but the house shows it. The porch swing creaks crookedly in a slight breeze. The high peak of the house leans slightly askew. There’s a scattering of soft light in the small windows. She knows if you look out through those windows the world looks twisted and wavy as if smeared by an over generous dose of paint thinner. Old glass looks like that. She’s looked through it before.

She looked through it on Tuesday.

Tuesday. Her heart pumps harder being this close again. That feeling radiating out from her stomach. Up across her ribs, down across her thighs. She curls her fingernails against her torn jeans. She steps off the curb.

Pale light through the bare branches of the old sagging willow dapple the walk in temporary camouflage. A few leaves scatter dryly beneath her shoes. Crumbled survivors from the fall.

The fall.

She focuses on the warped steps, the peeling paint. The top step creaks just like she expects and the door to the house opens before she knocks. She expected that to.

Meg is standing in the doorway. Her opening the door doesn’t surprise Sally, but her appearance does. Jeans and a too tight t-shirt. It’s clear there’s nothing underneath it. She didn’t expect it at this time of night.

They stand eyeing each other for a moment.

“Is Jack here?” Sally finally asks. Jack is always here, but she has to ask. It’s like tradition or something.

Meg doesn’t say anything, she just steps back out of the way. Sally takes a breath and walks inside.

The house smells of … everything. Scents too numerous to pick out but a thick musk hangs under everything. Jack’s smell. Sally’s nose twitches, her stomach clenches. She keeps walking down the narrow hall.

The living room is mostly filled with a huge couch and an equally large TV. Both armrests are venting stuffing through ragged holes. Frank is sprawled across it in a hoodie and shorts, he barely looks up as Sally walks past. Meg plops down beside him, leaving Sally to continue on her way.

She doesn’t need Meg to guide her, she knows the way on her own.

Up the narrow rickety stairs with the broken balusters like missing teeth in a warped smile. Up to the second story then down the tilted hallway to the back of the house. To the lone closed door. Light leaks out from underneath, through the old keyhole big enough to shove a pencil through.

She sees herself knocking, but another door opens before she gets a chance and Jack stands there framed by the light.

Her heart turns over.

Jack. He’s not much too look at. Not very tall. His sandy hair hangs unstyled. His stained t-shirt curves over a soft stomach. He’s not much too look at. Not now, but soon.

Sally feels the faint tug of the moon. A reminder, a promise. Soon now. She has to hurry.

“Hey, Sally,” he says, his voice soft, softer than she remembers it in her head.

His scent is in her nose. Deep and thick, and exciting. It’s wafting from the open door in waves. Her pulse speeds up, her breath quickens.

She tries to muster speech.

“You want to come in?” he asks before she can say anything.

She doesn’t want to at all. She does.

New smells hit her as she walks through the door. Familiar smells. Bedding, linens, sweat, and that metallic tang underneath it all.

This was a mistake, a big mistake. She turns in the center of the room.

He’s already closed the door, is leaning back against it with one foot up.

“I didn’t think I’d see you tonight,” he says.

He keeps beating her to the punch.

“Jack,” she says quietly.

Her determination left her somewhere up on the hill, she searches for it desperately. She has to hurry.

“I’m glad you came,” he says. “I wasn’t sure if you would after…”

He looks down, looks up, smiles. Even his teeth are crooked now.

His teeth. She squeezes her fingers tight.

“Well I’m glad you came anyway.”

He’s still smiling as he walks to the door of his closet. The floorboards creak. Something else creaks as well. It sounds like a taut rope.

She sucks in a sharp breath as the closet door open. A breath of shock, but it sucks the scent deep into her lungs. Harsh and calling her.

A  man dangles in the closet from his wrists. Bare chested. A thin line of blood runs down the side of his face and drips softly onto the plastic sheeting beneath him.

No. Not so soon.

“It wouldn’t be the same without you,” Jack says.

Sally feels the surge and Jack must feel it to. He flips the switch.

Pulls the skin back. Unrolls the fur. Goes long in the tooth. Pops the claws. Whatever you want to call it where you’re from.

He growls deep in his chest, let’s out a roar, and it’s done.

Jack isn’t Jack anymore. He crouches beside the open door, his t-shirt and pants are shredded. He casually yanks the remnants away. His coat is thick and dark. His ears long, fangs longer. He whips his pink tongue along his jaws. His eyes gleam yellow at Sally. He grins wetly.

She tries to fight it. For a solid heartbeat she tries, but his smell hits her like a tidal wave. Wild, and powerful. He shakes his head and his thick mane whips about his shoulders. A growl from deep in his throat rolls up through the floor into her. Her knees go weak, her nostrils flare, and she can’t hang on. Doesn’t want to.

Bottled lightning rushes through her. She stretches, goes free. Goes wild. She revels in the sensation as she lets the shell fall away.

Then she’s panting before him. Her clothes are ruined. Her own fur light and dusky now. She feels the strength rolling off of him. His tail whips from side to side at the sight of her.

There’s still time. Her mind battles through the tingling sensation running back from her nose. From the feeling deep in chest. From the sounds she’s trying to contain.

It’s just like old times. She tries to think it through. It’s just like old times in the woods with Jack. In the meadow. The chase, the pursuit, the capture. Him on top of her. His teeth in her neck. Their pulses racing as one. Growls and whines and hard breaths.

Jack yanks the man out of the closet and tosses him on the floor. It’s not like old times at all.

The smell of blood rushes over her. Her mouth goes wet, her lips pull back in a snarl before she can help herself. Jack snarls back in response. Growls again.

She wants him, wants his teeth, his claws, his power.

The man on the floor whimpers. She doesn’t want this. Not again.

Blood and tearing. So sweet in her jaws, in her fur. In Jack’s fur. The rush of death between them as he leapt atop her snapping. She shudders and reels and hangs on.

Not like this, not again. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It couldn’t be this way. They said it wasn’t allowed, not here.

Jack crouches over the man. Jerks him up by his hair. His tongue laps across the bloody cheek.

Sally barely holds herself from doing the same. She has to leave, she has to leave now.

Jack looks up at her, his eyes flash.

They say, join me. I want you.

He lays the claw of his index finger across the man’s throat.

No, no, no.

The claw jerks. Blood flows.

Sally’s eyes dilate. Her own blood surges at the smell. Horror wars with desire. A fresh kill.

She has to make a decision. There’s blood everywhere. Jack is calling.

She can barely hear the whispers from the highway so far away in the dark now.

She takes a deep breath, strains her lungs.

She makes up her mind.

Sally howls, and Jack grins.