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Age of Innocence (standard:drama, 963 words)
Author: MJ DaytonAdded: Apr 26 2010Views/Reads: 2597/0Story 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 

“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. 


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