A Secret Existence

**This week’s writing prompt is “My options were dwindling by the minute. Right or wrong, I had to do something. I couldn’t just wait this one out. I told my secretary to cancel all my appointments for the afternoon and slipped out the back door and into the alley. Sure enough, waiting for me…” Where do you think the story will go?**

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My options were dwindling by the minute. Right or wrong, I had to do something. I couldn’t just wait this one out. I told my secretary to cancel all my appointments for the afternoon and slipped out the back door and into the alley. Sure enough, waiting for me there was the cloaked figure I saw following me this morning on my drive to work. Wind ruffled the person’s cloak slightly, revealing a womanly figure. Her face, however, was impossible to see through the shadows created by her hooded cloak. She started walked towards me. Each step she moved forward; I took a step back. My heart raced, and I felt short of breath.

“Who-who are you?” I stammered, continuing to walk backwards. The woman said nothing. She continued her march towards me until my back bumped into the wall of a building. I desperately searched for any way to escape. The alley was wide enough that I might be able to run around the strange woman, but I suspected if I tried that she would catch me in a matter of seconds. She clearly wanted something from me, and I probably haven’t exercised enough to out run someone like her.

Finally, she stopped just inches from me. Heat seemed to radiate off the woman as if a fire burned brightly inside her core, and she even smelled of something burnt. The smell was difficult to place, but it reminded me of when I tried to cook the other night and burned a burger to a crisp. I tried to look at her face, to see anything of what she looked like, but even this close her hood protected her with dark shadows. Her hands reached up to the hood, and she brought it back just enough for me to see her face and the edge of her hair. She was frighteningly beautiful; her features strong and bold like she could kill a man with a single glance. Her deep amber eyes seemed to burn a hole through me, reinforcing my earlier thought. Her soft lips curled at the corners into sharp angles, causing her smile to look menacing.

 “What to do you want from me? You can have anything in my wallet, just please don’t kill me,” I begged. I hated how terrified she made me feel, but there was nothing I could possibly do to get away from her.

“You don’t even know what you are,” she said with a deeper, rougher voice than I expected. She sounded annoyed, but I didn’t know what she was talking about. “It’s pathetic how these pests have forced us to live, to keep our very existence a secret from ourselves,” her eyes slid over my body. It felt like she was appraising a meal before devouring it, and I was to be her meal.

 “Please, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

She slapped her hands onto the wall on either side of my head. I flinched and screamed, thinking she was going to hit me. “You’re the worst one I’ve found yet. Our secret has been kept from you for too long. It’s time you knew what you are and how you should be living,” she growled from deep within her chest. I watched, shocked, as a stream of grey smoke trailed from the woman’s open lips. What appeared to be flames followed the smoke, but that would be impossible. This had to be a bad dream. There was no way this was real. There wasn’t a living being that could breath smoke, much less fire.

“See,” the woman leaned forward so she was whispering in my ear, “that’s where you’re wrong. Once there were hundreds, thousands of us to roam the skies, but then the humans grew smart and hunted us nearly to extinction. Now we live in secret among the pests who tried to kill our race.” She pulled away and her pupils had turned to vertical slits while the irises morphed into a deep crimson.

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