--

You have turned the white plum, red...

What have you done?*

                        --

            It is night again, bright moon, light stars, and no sun.  The wind whistles and she watched the foreign lands before her unveiling its face.  Bright city lights shone in the distance where the downtown is coming to life again, and the more seedy part of humanity begins to waken.  She leaned against the metal rails, her eyes searching for what she knew not off.

            Bored, she thought to herself as she absent-mindedly swirled one finger along the cool, metal rail.  She looked down at the world below her, noted the shadows along the walls as young couples walked by her apartment complex.  So careless and stupid those humans are, she narrowed her eyes at them.  These worms were just a walking bunch of energy source for Mother, and sacrifices to the Hunger.

            The eerie glow of the television in the room behind her caste shadows onto her own face as she raised her hand before her eyes.  In a simple twist of her fingers and the flick of her wrist, she looked at the small cards displayed before her.  "Kage," she commanded as one of the cards flickered with its own light and came into life.  It drifted away from the deck in her hands, coming alive slowly at its mistress' bidding.  Had Ail been there, he might have scolded her for picking such a lesser demon.  But she didn't care, tonight Ail was nowhere to be found.  Probably after that human bitch, she thought bitterly, but she dismissed the feelings as she did not want to linger on the growing distance that was slowly separating her from him.  The night was young still, after all, and the fertilizers for Mother were ripe for the plucking.

            A wicked smile spread across her lips as her glamour shimmered away to reveal her pink hair, streaked with blue, the red of her body-hugging suit, and the green of her skin.  "Let the games begin," she murmured to herself, and with a snap of her fingers, the card came to life.

            "Kage is here!" the demon declared its being as its mistress watched it lazily through lidded eyes.

            "Let's have a bit of fun in this city, hm, Kage?" she murmured coyly, "We can call it a date," and with a humorless giggle they both disappeared from the apartment's balcony.

                                                *          *          *

            The stripe of Main Street at down-town Tokyo was packed.  She allowed her glamour to appear once more, only this time, the black leather-skirt replaced her usual red.  She sported a clinging white tank-top and black, knee-high boots.  Men, she had come to learn, on this planet were driven by sex and attraction.  The animals were easy to lure, and thinking there is non-superior than its existence, most of these creatures did not know it was being hunted till it was too late.  All the better for her, Ann thought as she draped the leather jacket over her shoulders.

            She sauntered out of the alley, where Kage trailed her from the shadows, melting in and out of the darkness.  Ail always wanted to make spectacular attacks, not that she didn't find them somewhat entertaining.  But it attracted unwanted attention, especially form those stupid little Sailor Senshi and their all too revealing costume.  At least she was doing something about it, her infatuated brother would get them both killed, and he said she was the reckless one.

            "Love you to pieces as if you're still one of the faithful," she had told him once when he was sleeping while she watched over them both.  She sauntered down the street, knowing she caught more than a few seedy men's gazes.  She didn't care.  Humans were food for her hunger, their life falling like rain before Mother's throne.  And at least they knew she was better than that blonde-bitch her brother followed around like a lost little puppy.

            Traversing with humans, how disgusting, she almost snarled at the thought but reminded herself that she was out hunting.  She turned a corner, into another alley way and promptly found herself facing a gang.  They were equally startled as they turned, and she saw that a young girl with black hair and dark-brown eyes was unceremoniously having her shirt ripped in two.  "Well, well, someone's decided to join the party."  The leader of the gang smirked with a predatory light in his eyes.

            Sex and power, humans are so dirty and disgusting.  All they do is hurt each other now when they have nothing else to hurt or destroy.  Humans were little pesky beasts that crawl through life, so ugly and many, destroying their own Mother so carelessly.

            They were all worms at Mother's feet.

            A hand rested on her hip as she watched the struggling girl with the gag in the other's mouth that looked like a piece of school-uniform, but there was a sparkle of hope in those fear filled eyes.  Oh but would it soon die when that stupid little female beast realize that she was in a fate worse than what these men of evil intentions could possibly deal?  Weak little beasts, she thought, and an answering, predatory smile on her lips appeared.  "I didn't know I was interrupting something," she purred as she twirled one finger through her hair, watching with pleasure as the hope in the little girl's eyes turn to horror.  Maybe one day she would be able to place that same look on that bitch that made Ail such a weakling, stabbing whatever poison the clumsy idiot fed him, shoving it all right back into that little worm body, that weak, pathetic body.

            Some men were already rising and nearing her, but she knew she could crush these worms with a flick of her wrist.  "A pretty girl like you, doing at a place like this?  Obviously you're looking for trouble," another, ugly worm said with their weak little mouths.

            "You've found me," she perked up brightly, all an act to prolong the pleasure, to prolong the anger that burned within her.  And with that same silly smile on her lips, and a snap of her slender fingers, Kage rose from behind her like a dark demon in the lighted night.  "You found us both," she bared her little white teeth in the darkness as Kage caste shadows onto her and the horrified faces of Mother's food.  "Little worms, so easy to crush, I think I'll have you for dinner."  She stretched each word out with her pleasured smirk, and without further prompting, Kage descended over them.  The demon-card's shadows muffled their screams as did the beeping of car-horns and the blasting of the stereos on the city streets.

            They were all dead little worms being nothing more than food for their Mother.

            The hunt has but began.

                                                *          *          *

            By the time she got home, it was reasonably late.  She tugged Kage's card back into her deck safely before opening the door to the apartment.  She could have gone the other way, but she would rather Ail think that he wasn't the only one out on a date.  Ann seethed at the fact that Ail was with a stupid human bitch instead of hunting with her or being with her.  These thoughts made her angry, but she suppressed them just as quickly because it would not do for her to elevate the blonde-worm's status by being jealous of the little, weak thing.

            "I'm home!"  She called out as she closed the door behind her, but there was no answer.  It was reasonably late, and she saw Ail's shoes in the closest when she had opened it to put her own in.  He must be sleeping, she thought as she set her feet into her slippers.

            Living like humans, hmm?

            But she ignored that voice in her head as easily as she had ignored her earlier annoyances and frustrations.  She traveled to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water, drinking it.  She leaned back against the counter and watched the florescent lights.  She could hear Mother's singing from the other room, singing with the energy she had collected on her own.  But would Ail even notice?  Or would he be too busy with his mind on that worthless worm?

            A dark-haired man came into her mind then as well and she let the predatory smile spread across her lips.  Ah, but the worm loved another little worm, didn't that stupid girl?  So I'll punish her over and over if I must with him, she decided, though the man -- handsome by worm standings -- really was no more than fodder in her mind's eye.  They were all ignorant little worms, playing games that are so simple that anyone could come in and toy with their little precious hearts.  She drank the tasteless liquid, letting it run down her throat before setting the empty glass in the sink.

            "Oh, Mamoru San, you are such the little ace up my sleeve," she murmured to herself with a dark, wry smile before turning off the kitchen light and heading for her room.

            She paused and looked to the doorway to Ail's bedroom, and hesitatingly opened the door.  Was he really home?  She asked herself, but she knew it was just an excuse to see him.  Opening the door as quietly as she could, she peered in and saw his shadowed form in the darkness, slumped in his bed, back to the door.

            Why did they sleep in separate rooms?  She wondered.  Before, they had always slept together, sharing their warmth and their loneliness while traveling through the darkness of the universe.  Now, now he wanted his own bed, his own room, as long as it was without her in it.  She frowned into the darkness at his beautiful, narrow back.  Was this for the blonde-bitch too?  Her fingers curled into a fist, knuckles turning white to reflect the building anger inside of her as she saw the odango-haired blonde clinging to her Ail's arm in her mind.

            Hands off, he's mine!  She wanted to scream at the image, but it was just an image in her own little head.  Her eyes cleared as her glamour faded.  She noted that he was still in human form as she closed the door.  Was he ashamed of who he was... of what he is?  Was he ashamed of what they were?  It cannot be, because they were the predator, he could not want to be one of the worms they hunted for Mother.

            That is so disgusting!

            Blue hair, brushing hers as his fingers closed over her own.  Hot breath against her throat and his warmth all around her...  But that was not to be anymore, he has fallen into the role of her brother too easily, leaving her with nothing but memories.  What was so pleasant about these humans anyway?  Their stupidity and ignorance, their weakness and dirtiness, everything about them begged for her to use them, to hunt them down for Mother, for the Hunger.

            And you are acting as one of them, that little, mocking voice came back.

            That blonde-little worm shall die.  Ann pushed the voice back with her anger, her shame.  I'll kill Mamoru San before that little bitch's eyes if I must to crush that worm, she snarled.  Nobody but her had the right to Ail!  Nobody else would understand his pain but her.  That blonde little worm had not stood by him when their world had ended in the dreams they sometimes shared about the past.  The worm was not there when they traveled through empty blackness, starving and dying with nothing but Mother as their guide through the painful stages of starvation, caught in the tight grasp of the Hunger.  The little worm did not grow up with Ail, holding him when he needed holding, comforting him when he needed comforting, and sharing the nights with him when he felt the dark demon of their combined hunger clawing through him and making them both mad.

            The worm did not have that hunger.  Unlike theirs, human hunger was of a baser nature, not half as compelling as their own.

            She closed the door to his room and went into her own.  She turned her eyes to the TV that was never off and watched the worms interact.  She pondered what it would be like to be a worm, but only for a second.  Would it have been easier to live so helplessly, so ignorantly?  Would it have been far easier than being a predator?  She doubted such silly, senseless thoughts as soon as it came up.  She wondered if Ail would love her again if she could become more of a worm, though, more ignorant and weak and dirty she would become.

            The idea disgusted her and she immediately dismissed it entirely.

            Why would she ever be content being fodder for Mother and the ceaselessness that raged from the Hunger?  She shivered slightly at such oppositions, closing her eyes instead till a steadiness came over her.  Falling back onto the bed, she opened her eyes again to look at the ceiling of her room, content with the lack of blackness to be seen and the silence to be heard.  In a few hours, they would be returning to worm school, and she would have to brush up and touch those little beasts while trying to hide her own disgust.  They were food for the Hunger, food for Mother.  It will be alright here where at last they were not hunted for the Hunger that drove them.  Humans were cruel to their own Mother, unable to hear their Mother's songs and cries of agony as she could, as Ail could.  They were insensitive to the pain and the shriveling of leaves, of the dying of the grass beneath their feet and the seasons that put to sleep a world before awakening it.

            How could Ail even be fascinated with a deaf, little worm as that?  It was outrage that he could be so fascinated.  It was outrage that but a few days ago she had been so fascinated herself, finding another race that never heard the silence of the universe outside its sphere.  Such innocence and such ignorance were allowed to shrive and exist on this little, backward planet.  What she had once admired in Mamoru though, was gone.  Painfully reminded, as she was but a few days ago when she had caught Ail coming from the roof-top of their worm school with the sent of worms on his jacket, and the strange look in his eyes.

            But as long as Ail was happy, as long as he was no longer hungry and lost in the madness...  She could be strong for both of them.  Even now, she hated him a little for the bliss he found in a source she could no longer share with him.  Ail didn't know a thing though, blind as he was to her moods nowadays.  He stopped noticing awhile ago on how forced her affections for Mamoru had become in his presence.  He even failed to notice the feelings swelling in her when he turned away when once he would never have inspired such emotions, he would have stayed by her side.  It was better this way, him not noticing her vulnerabilities when she became too tired to hide them from him.  Yet, such knowledge only brought her disappointment instead of relief.  The confusion of it all distracted her to no ends, and still she could not find the strength inside to bring up such an issue.

            It would hurt too much if he brushed aside what she felt nowadays.  So the melancholy of her self-induced silence stayed only in the corners of her mouth when she smiled at him.  The spark in her eyes had long dissipated, though Ail never looked into her eyes when she was happy anymore.

            She could and would continue to hunt, to drive away her uncertainties as she fended off the Hunger for one more day and one more night.  She could learn to be stronger, she could gather the energies on her own, if need aroused.  For the both of them, even if Ail failed to notice how much she had been feeding them both, or how much her hand had rested on that familiar part of his door-frame at night, watching him but afraid to speak.

            She closed her eyes till she felt herself in Mother's embrace.  She was far, far away from the pesky little noises falling from out of those weak, worms' lips.  She was far, far away from the faces of their preys, and the pointless tales of weaknesses turned to useless strengths.  She was far, far away from the room her and Ail had once shared when first they arrived on Earth.  A room the two of them had rested in before he turned away with a casual shrug and a smile, telling her excitedly about how they could now be brothers and sisters, simply because he had caught such a notion from his first experience with a movie downtown.  The human fools called their safe and secure little boxes of rectangles and circles, home, but having drifted her whole life she knew no such home except for Ail.  Nowadays though, all she wanted was for the two of them to drift far, far away from the weaknesses inspired by the mere nearness of a worm.  Her Ail was becoming more and more like those little worms they ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, each day they spent longer on Earth.  The loneliness he left her to in his own blindness to the way her smiles no longer reached her eyes, or that her infatuation with Mamoru no longer carried the weight of truth as her gazes and touches, even the way she threw herself at the man, all seemed overly exaggerated and no longer natural... no, Ail no longer noticed anything about her.  He went on, hunting now and again when he woke to the Hunger gripping his body and reminding him that he was not human.

            No, tonight, without Ail to hold her or remind her how far they had fallen from each other, she would sleep with Mother instead.

            Did you miss me, Mother?  Did you like what I brought for you?

            Mother's leaves rustled in the darkness with that same, beautifully sad song with words she could not understand and sounds she had long taken for granted since childhood.  Now, she closed her eyes and bathed in the constant presence of their Mother, and then, with her pink hair spilling over Mother's body, she slept and dreamt of Ail.

            In her dreams, he never turned away.  In her dreams he held her close to him again like he had once done as a child, his arms clinging to her waist.  In her dreams, he reflected the emotions inside her once more, as much as she reflected his own.  In her dreams, the loneliness and silence was blanketed by the pounding of his heart by her ear and his warmth surrounding hers, giving comfort in return for her own.  In her dreams, they never parted…

                                                *          *          *

            She listened to the rumors of a killer in class with masked amusement.  They were talking about her hunting sprees with fear and fascination in their eyes.  She fought back a laugh at the wide-eyed girls, and turned her head to the blackboard of the human classroom to distract herself from her own mirth.

            Wiggling little food, not one would get away if she so choose to devour them with Kage or any one of the lesser demons if she desired it.  Without the Sailor Senshi to interfere, that is, she would have had a much easier life here on Earth.  Still, it was far better than most of the other places they had visited before and fighting the Senshi was more controlled than the inescapable hunger that came for them always.

            The door opened at that moment and her thoughts halted as her gaze fell upon a surprising sight.  Tsukino Usagi, for once, was early.  Or perhaps, it would be better put that the teacher was rather late and had probably forgotten to inform the school of whatever the predicament the woman was in.

            "Ohayo, Naru Chan!"  Usagi proudly giggled when she finished furtively inspecting the room and realized she was not going to be in trouble this particular morning.

            "Usagi, I can't believe you actually made it on time!"  Osaka Naru exclaimed in surprise.

            "Good morning, Usagi."  She drawled out the little worm's name slowly.  Her eyes remained hooded and lazy as she considered her options of how to kill the blonde at a later date.

            "G-good morning, Natsumi."  Usagi replied uncertainly, slightly perturbed already at her own presence.  "Not chasing after my Mamo Chan today?"  Usagi demanded, emphasizing the "my" more than was necessary.

The blonde had the audacity to challenge her?  Ann raised a brow coolly, the only indication of her ire at the small worm's challenge.  "Why would I need to when he barely glances at you to begin with?"  The slight watery look in Usagi's eyes confirmed what had long been obvious to Ann.

            "What would you know?  He doesn't look at you with any more affection!"  Usagi rattled the desk as the blonde slammed her palms against it.  Usagi leaned heavily on the desk, jealousy and resentment flashing in her blue eyes as she leaned over Ann, trying to seem as intimidating as possible.

            Ann rose abruptly then, and leaned in return, not in the least bit intimidated.  "Stay away from my brother!"  She leaned in further as Usagi backed away slightly in surprise and said in a softer tone so that only the two of them could hear, "And maybe, while I'm screwing your Mamo Chan next, I'll think of you."  Ann smirked at the horrified look that came over Usagi's features at her words.  The smile that usually stayed so pleasant for the boys in their class was gone.  In her presence, at least, Ann could rattle the human girl enough that the darker side of the worm's true nature finally showed its ugly head.  "That's as far as you'll ever get to him, Usagi San.  And you will not ever get even that close to Ail.  Not ever."

            The blazing anger came and Usagi moved so fast that had Ann not fought since childhood for survival, the other might have actually landed the slap.  Ann tightened her grip on the blonde's wrist, enough for pain to register upon Usagi's face but they did not progress from there as the teacher stepped in just then, out of breath and thoroughly flushed.  "Sorry for being so late, everyone!"

            Ann withdrew and sat back down.  The entire class seemed to heave a sigh of relief from the breath everyone held since Usagi first slammed her hands onto Ann's desk.  Everyone had been silently watching them before the rushed arrival of their teacher.  "Turn to page 61 of your textbooks everyone," Haruna Sensei commanded as she set down her bag, clueless to the happenings before her arrival.  "Have you forgotten how to sit, Usagi San?"  Haruna asked with a hint of amusement and slight annoyance to the back of Usagi.  The worm-girl who continued to stare at Ann with a clear look of confusion and something close to hate in those worm eyes of hers finally stirred at Haruna Sensei's direct question.  "Usagi San, you may return to your seat now.  I'll overlook this one detention since you actually got here before me for once, but class has commenced so please be prepared."

            Usagi snapped out of whatever thoughts she might have been thinking and nodded silently at Haruna Sensei.  Casting one last mixed look at Ann, Usagi returned to her own seat with unnatural submissiveness in her silence, even as the other's entire body remained rigid from withholding whatever emotions raged within her.

            Ann could only smile ever so innocently.  She had rattled her greatest rival and most desired prey as much as the girl seemed to do to Ail.  But such affects the worm had on Ail would not last much longer.  Ann would make sure of it.  For soon, soon Usagi should fall into the very heart of Mother as fodder for the Hunger and nothing more.

            Soon.

From predator...

*Author wrote this imagery question with Ann in mind.