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|Age of Innocence (standard:drama, 963 words)|
|Author: MJ Dayton||Added: Apr 26 2010||Views/Reads: 1834/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A man with a penchant for young runaways encounters a very different young woman.|
This was submitted for a 24 hour short story contest. The topic was: He'd had a lifelong weakness for football, golf, and younger women but none of that mattered anymore. The vultures were just outside, already fighting over the best morsels. He hadn't moved or spoken in weeks but, as she reached over to touch the thin vein slowly pulsating in his hand, his eyes flashed open and he said... Here is the story. He had spotted her at the Downtown Transit Center in Las Vegas. Like so many girls before her, she had arrived clutching naïve dreams of escape. Abuse, domination, or addiction-born poverty flushed them from their homes and cast them upon this shore of promise. Most would quickly find themselves imprisoned within another well of suffering and plummet to its depths as heaven closed its ears to the cries of forgotten children. Many arrived broken, ravaged by despair, but she looked unscathed by its icy hands. Her beauty had barely begun to blossom, ethereal features developing as she began the transition to woman from child. Though mussed from hours on the bus, her sun-kissed hair came to rest in waves just below her shoulders. Her eyes were a dazzling blue, but shadowed by some experience which had shattered a piece of her childhood. In those eyes, he saw his opportunity. Hope was the seductress he used to lure her in. As always, he dangled the promise of a better future and she had taken the bait. Posing as a hiring agent for the MGM Grand, she was his latest conquest in a stream of many. It was so simple – the offering of a card, a ride, a “business” dinner to discuss what the world-class casino could do for them. At 37 years old, he was handsome with a touch of femininity, his boyish good looks belying the depravity that dwelt within. He caught them at the ideal time, before they became tainted by the desperation that led them into prostitution or drove them back home. Their innocence was his for the taking; he would devour it, leaving its corpse behind. One child could give him weeks of pleasure before he'd discard the used and broken body and soul. A desert ranch provided the perfect hideout for his intentions. It was secluded enough to offer the privacy he required but close enough to the city that his captives did not become nervous before arriving. He'd speak of the MGM and the positions they had available. He'd mention the minimum age requirement but add with a wink that he could help with documentation. He boasted of promotions he earned by bringing in the prettiest girls, giving them reason to believe this was a mutually beneficial encounter. Her name was Claire, and he guessed her to be no more than fifteen. They had arrived at his house and he had offered her a stack of brochures on the MGM Grand to peruse while he whipped up “a bite to eat.” He had opened a bottle of wine and poured two healthy glasses to celebrate their good fortune of finding each other and another sure-fire hiring success. She took him up on his offer to let her clean up, and she had emerged from the shower looking radiant and fresh. He had put the finishing touches on a meal enticing to most teenagers - charbroiled burgers, fries and a fresh green salad, and brought it to the table where she waited. He awoke in his own bed, sunlight hot on his face and his tongue feeling heavy. As a man with many demons to drown, he had awoken on many mornings fighting the effects of a hangover. But this was different; he struggled to open his eyes. As he pried them open and let them come into focus, he saw her sitting there, her beauty reigning over him like the gaze of Athena as she smiled. She gently stroked the pulsing vein of his hand as he tried to speak. No words would come and he pleaded with his eyes for her to help him understand. “Shhh, my darling,” she whispered, as she kissed his forehead. He felt dazed and disoriented as the sounds of his surroundings started to push through his haze. He noted hissing outside the windows and the ticking of the bedroom clock. She saw the questions in his eyes and began to speak. “You've been unconscious for several weeks, weakened by blood loss...following your surgeries,” she explained. “I did what I could to save your arm and leg, but had to remove them once infection set in.” In shock he gazed down at his body and noted the bandaged remains of his right arm and leg - stumps; both of them. Tears sprung from his eyes and she stroked his hair as they flowed down his cheeks. Outside the hissing grew louder as the turkey vultures fought over the pickings. She had tossed them out that morning after letting them harden in the freezer. They fought over the meat of the discarded limbs, frozen but full of flavor. He searched her deep blue eyes for an explanation, but saw only the fire of excitement. She poised the needle of a syringe in the crook of his remaining arm, whispering, “Rest, my sweet,” as she depressed the plunger. Allowing the drug time to take effect, she rejoined him at his bed fifteen minutes later. With the aid of a scalpel, she slowly flayed back the skin of his remaining arm. She greedily fed the warm flesh into her mouth, satisfying the craving that came so often. Strip by strip, she cleansed the arm, her hunger dissipating as her needs were met. Outside the vultures hissed in anticipation of their next meal. Tweet
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