As they left the apartment, Fern thought about telling Brook about the man she had sensed. However, when she turned around she saw he had pulled the hood of his hoodie up and put his hands into the single deep pocket. He had all ready started walking too, heading around the back of the apartment block. Fern followed in silence.
The side and back of the complex was very much like the front with short grass lawns boarded by trees and low bushes. Fern paused when they were a quarter of the way across the back lawn and looked around. In the distance straight ahead, she could just make out a dirt clearing which was the outline for what would have been another block of apartments. Between them in the grass she could make out two white stringed and wooden pegged rectangles.
‘What are they for?’ she asked Brook’s retreating back.
Fern saw him cast a look over to where she was pointing before replying, ‘outlines for a swimming pool and tennis court.’
‘Oh. Okay,’ she muttered thoughtfully.
‘It was going to be a holiday venue, remember?’ Brook shot over his shoulder.
Fern nodded and hurried to catch up with him. She fell into step behind him and tried to figure out where they were heading too. They reached the edge of the lawn and Brook stepped off into the woodland area which as Fern saw seemed to circle the area. The trees overhead blocked out the rest of the light from the sky and created monstrous shadows onto the ground.
Brook moved with surprising stealth but Fern failed to match his steps. She found herself tripping over roots and small plants. Low twigs snatched at her hair and scrapped her clothes. She stopped and gathered herself, taking in deep breaths of the damp, earthy, tree sap aroma that hung in the air. When she set off, she moved slowly and took the time to take in everything around her.
Stepping out from under the last tree, she saw a narrow line of mud running parallel to a low barbed wired fence. Beyond which was a farmer’s fields. Fern walked over to the fence and looked for Brook. It took her a good few minutes to pick him out across the field. She looked down and wondered how he had gotten over.
Thinking that there must be a stile or something close by, she walked for a few minutes in one direction then came back and tried the other. The fence was continuous. Frowning and feeling worried, she tried to pick Brook’s figure out of the darkness again, but she could no longer see him.
‘Brook?’ she called in small voice.
Cleaning her throat she tried again then waited for his response.
Nothing but a gentle breeze answered.
Pulling a face, she looked at the barbed wire and found that were large enough gaps between the twist metal knots for her to place her hands in. Gritting her teeth, she did just that then carefully placed her feet on the bottom wire. The whole thing shook under her weight, but it did hold her. She stepped up again, trying to keep her balance. She swung her leg over and moved her hands at the same time.
Laughing, she climbed over the fence and began walking across the empty field. When she reached the other side and another fence, she had thought Brook would be waiting for her. He was nowhere in sight. Panic filled her empty stomach and Fern turned around madly as she shouted his name over and over again.
She grabbed the fence and felt the bite of sharp metal in her palms. Springing back, she stumbled and fell to the ground. Shaking and crying, Fern licked at her left palm and tasted the warmth of her blood. She wrapped her lips to the punctures and sucked. Blood filled her mouth and she hummed happily. Before she knew it, she had done the same with her right hand and both wounds had healed over.
Fern got up, wiped the dirt from her jeans and tried to figure out which way to go. She climbed over the fence, feeling her senses heighted. Her nose picked up the scent of blood and she let that be her guide. She crossed the rest of the farmer’s fields and found herself on a single road. Following that lead her to more farmland, but the growing scent of blood called still. She walked on, losing all other thoughts and senses, only paying attention to the sweet, salty tang that wafted on the breeze.
Somehow and she had no idea how she had gotten there, Fern found herself entering a fishing yard. Slipping through the gate, she stood and listened to gentle sea waves lapping against the dock walls and boats. Mixed in were male voices, faint music from a radio and the chiming of bells. The air was heavy with fish, death and salt. Staying against the gate, Fern sniffed and tried to pick up the trail of blood.
It had gotten so faint, she realised that she could hardly detect it. She went to the side of one of the small warehouses and peered in. Shadows of two fisherman moving crates were displayed on the wall. Fern listened for a few moments then moved on, she circled around the other warehouses till at the last one, she picked up the blood again.
Aware that there men inside, she stepped in and moved along the wall. Right at the back was an office like room and inside three men were talking, one of whom had a bandaged up hand. Fern sighed and licked her lips. She felt the urge to dive right in and sink her teeth into the man. Her other instincts held her back and knowing the man would leave soon, she walked out of the warehouse and found some shadows close by to hide in.
Luckily, he was the first to come out and he was alone. Without even thinking about it, Fern begin to make childlike sobbing sounds. The man turned, his attention caught. Fern still crying stepped further back along the warehouse, covering herself in more shadows. She saw the man walking over and looking around.
‘Hello? Is anyone there?’ his rough voice called out.
Fern let out a louder longer sob.
‘Hello? It’s okay. Come out. I won’t hurt you…’
He moved closer, the shadows swallowing him as he approached Fern, who had gone silent. When he was close enough, she reached out her arms and dragged him into a hug. He tried to scream and fight her off, but Fern suffocated his face in her shoulder and buried her teeth into his neck. She sliced through salty damp skin and hot delicious blood filled her mouth. She swallowed and greedily began gulping more down.
She felt the man struggling useless against her. His hands were slapping and punching her upper body, his feet kicking out at her legs and his head trying to wiggle out of her shoulder. She could hear his muffled cries alongside his racing heartbeat as well. She bite down harder and sucked faster, fearfully aware that someone was bound to hear them.
Fern’s eyes darted up and looked over the man’s shoulder. She watched for any movements and listened hard for voices but everything remind in the background. She felt the man weakening as his struggle against her seemed to slow down. She however kept going, the blood feeling her making her feel powerful and satisfied. The man slumped in her arms and Fern had to take all of his body weight.
She could hear his heart slowing down too and felt drawn to making it stop. Her instincts spiked and she was suddenly aware of someone coming from behind her. Before she could let the man go, that someone forced themselves between them, tearing them apart. Fern tumbled to the floor, the cold sea air bringing her fully awake. She hit the hard ground and pain jarred through her back. Looking up, blood dripping her chin, Fern fully believed it was Brook standing with the man in his arms, finishing him off.
However, when he dropped the body and turned to face her, Fern saw he clearly wasn’t Brook.