I was sitting on a bar stool at the counter of a luncheonette. The door to the diner opened and I spun around on my seat in anticipation. It was pouring outside. I could see the rain and the wind lashing at the large picture windows of the diner. People were hurrying by, clutching their umbrellas or huddle over, trying to protect themselves from the weather. But the man that opened the door, the man that I knew I was waiting for, walked in unaffected, as though it was a calm clear day. He was young, very tall with light blond hair. His skin was especially pale skin and his eyes coal black. Rain darkened the shoulders of the grey trench coat and hat that complimented his long lithe frame.

The first thing I notice as I took in his alabaster face under his dripping hat were the scars. Faint semi-circular shapes marred the square line of his jaw. Similar small crescents also appeared above his left eyebrow. His collar was turned up, but it could not completely hide the damage to his neck, more extensive than what was on his face. He looked like he had been mauled by some sort of animal. Yet in spite of this, and maybe a little because of it, he was beautiful. I could not take my eyes off him. He had the look of someone that had been at war for all eternity, like the archangel Michael or Gabriel. I began to muse that his mutilated face was from some celestial battle.

He ventured further into the diner. His dark eyes darted from one end of the room to the other, finally centering on me. I hopped off my seat and walked toward him smiling. He showed no fear in his coal black eyes, however his expression became guarded, as if he were about to defend himself from an attack. I knew it was impolite to do this to a perfect stranger, but I reach out slowly to touch his face, to speak to this warrior angel to see if he was real. I wanted to tell him there would be no more battles. He would have peace.

*****

It had all been a dream. As my fingers made their way to his face, he vanished. Frightened, I bolted the corner of a room completely different then the one I had just been. It was a hayloft. I could smell the cows and the horses in the barn below. Away from the distraction of the angel in my dream, I swallowed wincing. My throat burned with a thirst so strong that immediately I could think of nothing but its relief. I jumped down from the loft and I began to look water of any kind. The animals in the barn retreated as far as they could from me in terror. Distracted momentarily from my search, it amazed me that not only could I see the panic in theirs eyes, but I could smell it. I could smell their fear.

Like the angel in my dream, my eyes quickly darted through out the barn. There was a hand pump and a hose near a trough that I assumed was used to take care of the inhabitants. I was disoriented from the fact that as soon as I began to approach the pump, I was there. Being so parched, I didn't waste time pondering this and began to move the handle up and down. Maybe if I could relive this thirst I could think straight, figure out what was going on. Soon, water flowed from the black hose, but as I put my face to it, the odor pulled me away. Maybe there was something wrong with the well here.

Walking out of the barn, my focus pivoted to a scent that made my already aching throat burst into flames. Instinctually, I knew that whatever this was, it would be the key to making the ache go away. At the same time however, it didn't smell quite right. The odor was old and with an aroma of faint decay, nevertheless I knew it was what I needed.

I followed the smell, searching for the source for my relief. It seemed everywhere but was strongest in the yard in between the house and the barn, the pain in my throat intensified as I drew nearer to it. The source appeared to be coming from the ground itself. I got down on my hands and knees sniffing the earth. I followed an ever strengthening trail that led out to a field and a large mound of turned up dirt and ice. My raging need possessed me and I clawed deep into the frozen soil with my fingers, desperate for some reprieve and feeling certain that whatever this rotting smell was, it would eased my pain. The first thing that I unearthed was a hand. I pulled back in terror, the burning in my throat extinguished by the horror of what I had just done. Far faster that I thought possible, I fled from the field, back to the house.

The smell that drew me to the field was here as well, but it was different. It was not as strong and did not contain the scent of which I now determined was that of death. I was scared to call out. People don't just bury people like that. I was afraid that whoever had killed that person in the field could be in the house, and they would hurt me too. But my needs overrode me fear, the sweet aroma drawing me to the back door. I turned the handle. The door was unlocked and I walked cautiously into the kitchen. A large wooden table sat in the middle of the room surrounded by six chairs. I opened the icebox but shut it quickly. The smell of death and decay was as strong in there as it was in the field. I walked thru another door out of the kitchen that led into a dining room and then a parlor.

As I walked from room to room, I began to distinguish that it was not just one scent that had pulled me out to the field and into the house, but several. I climbed the stairs, praying that I could discover whatever these smells were that made me so thirsty that it clawed at my sanity. The first room I peeked into was a little boy's bedroom. A baseball mitt and ball lay on the end of a small unmade bed, the handmade quilt crumpled to the side. A pair of blue jeans draped over the chair by the little desk that had a half built toy truck on top. Further down the hall was another door hanging open. This room was clearly a nursery. There was a crib, and a rocking chair inside. Baby sheep adorned the wallpaper. I turned the handle of the door opposite the nursery. I entered into a bathroom and zeroed in on the sink. I turned on the faucet and put my mouth down into the stream. Just as the hose outside, it did not smell like what I needed, but I was desperate. But as quickly as I swallowed, I choked and cough, spitting up the small amount that I had manage to get down.

I looked up from the sink and froze in terror. The reflected image facing me frightened me more than at anytime since I opened my eyes. My eyes… they were vivid red. I stared into the mirror, touching my skin. It was pale and hard. Where the sun that streamed thru the window shown on it, it sparkled as if encrusted with diamonds. I touched my short hair carefully; relieved that the pieces that were stuck pointed together were not dangerous spikes.

Pieces of the puzzle began to click together. The scent that had drew me to the field and the scent that wafted throughout the house were one and the same thing. I knew immediately that there was no need to look for people in here to help me. They were all outside, buried in the field. I stared at my demonic reflection in the mirror. Had I killed them? My horrific red eyes burned as strong as my throat as I deliberated that it was not only possible, it was likely. I fell to the floor sobbing tearlessly knowing that what ever I was, it was evil.

Just then, I heard the sound of a motor in the distance. It was too loud for a car, I thought. It must be a truck. It was another human. I wanted to run down the stairs, run to whoever was approaching, begging for help. I turned from the sink, away from the image in the mirror, waiting for whoever was approaching, unsure what to do next.

This time I knew what I was seeing was not happening… at least not yet. It was a truck approaching the house. And I was in fact a demon. A man got out. I ran out the door and leapt at him, tearing into his throat with my teeth. My face relaxed as the thirst that had been torturing me for the last hour was finally quenched. I would murder this stranger and drink his blood. Then the vision changed. It was a funeral, the man in the truck's funeral, his wife and his children crying at the side of his coffin.

I pulled out of the vision and back to the present. The sound of the truck coming down the road frustrated me and horrified me. I didn't want to kill another person, but I knew instinctively that I needed him, him and his…blood. It was going so slow and I was so thirsty.

The vision changed. I was on the road pulling him from the truck. I cringed away from the sight of the man's terrified face as I tore into his neck. I saw his blood on my hands.

I came once again back into the present. I wallowed in despair even as I began to retreat for the bathroom, down the hall and toward the stairs. How could this be? I did not want to be a monster; I just didn't want to be in pain anymore.

Another vision appeared, but this time it was not me. There was another man. He was not the angel I had seen in the loft, but they looked a lot alike. They both had blond hair. They both were very pale, just as I apparently was. This man was running fast, bearing down on a deer. He took the animal in his hands and put his mouth around its throat. The animal struggled briefly in the blond man's arms, and then succumbed. He laid it gently down on the ground.

"Thank you." The man mouthed silently.

Then I saw myself repeating the same act. I could see the relief on my face.

The nearness of the truck's motor brought me back. My mind raced to understand the pictures in my head. The engine stopped and as the cab door opened, I caught the first true smell of what my body had been yearning for. It was sweet, wet and hot. The monster that I clearly was already was down at the bottom of the stairs, being drawn to the spot where I knew he would pull his truck to a stop. As I waited in the kitchen hidden behind the icebox, I watched in my mind as two visions played back and forth, me killing the man, and me killing the deer. I understood completely that one or the other was about to occur.

"Ned… Grace…" The man was at the kitchen door knocking.

I turned and fled out into the parlor, straight through a closed window. I was at the edge of the forest that pushed up against the field before the glass hit the ground. I ran wildly thru the trees, desperate to find the animal in my vision. Finally, there he was. I had no time to think about what I was doing. In a blink of an eye I was on him, tearing into him, just as I had seen minutes ago. I sucked down the hot pulsating fluid, feeling instant relief from my pain. He did not have the delicious aroma that the man back at the farm had and I beat back my desire to return there. I laid the deer on the ground and patted his still warm body.

"Thank you"

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