Disclaimer: The author does not own any of the characters from the Twilight novels and movies, which will be barely recognizable here. He does, however, own the fuck out of this plot.

AU, rated M for violence and dark themes.


The man in the long black coat arrived in town at midnight. He drove no car, rode no motorcycle. He walked down the middle of the two-lane highway, his pace neither fast nor slow. Black steel-toed boots followed one another on the double-yellow line, a metronome in motion.

He carried himself like a man without concern, his shoulders square and his jaw set tight. His disheveled, copper-colored hair looked as if it had always been as it was right then. It seemed like someone had quickly pushed it back with fingers eons ago, and it remained that way because it made sense for it to do so. His long sideburns blended casually into the three-day beard he wore, which had the effect of darkening his pale skin. His deep-set eyes reflected the moonlight. They appeared to be devoid of color. The pupils and the irises were one black mass.

When he arrived at the crossroads, he did not hesitate. He stayed on the yellow line and took the road that forked left as if that were the path he had been aiming for all along, as if destiny had brought him there.

The man paused as a police cruiser approached. He lit a cigarette and quickly moved to the side of the road. He pulled his collar up high to ward off the cold and ducked his head down to ward off unwanted attention. The cruiser slowed, its headlights briefly catching a deep scar that gouged the man's cheek. The man lifted his eyes, but not his head. He looked at the driver, a middle-aged man with dark hair and a mustache to match. He wore a police uniform, a badge secured to the front.

The officer nodded at the man in the long black coat, and the man nodded back, knowing from the officer's thoughts that he harbored no ill will. He held no suspicions. The man allowed the officer to be on his way.

The man kept his pace. The police cruiser made one turn, and then another, leaving him be. He stubbed his cigarette out on the bottom of his boot and placed the butt into his coat pocket as he continued down the road.

A gas station lay ahead, its harsh fluorescent lights turning everything around it a cool shade of blue. When he arrived at the edge of its parking lot, the man stopped, noticing the lot was empty but for a green mid-1990s Toyota Tercel. He pulled his hands from his pockets. He gritted his teeth and opened the front door.

"Can I help ya find something?"

The young man at the counter wore khaki pants and a denim button-down with the gas station's logo embroidered above the right breast pocket. His name, "Mike," was printed on a name tag that was affixed above the left breast pocket. He wore a matching baseball cap and his blond hair spilled haphazardly out from beneath it, over his ears.

The man in the long black coat said nothing. He smelled burnt coffee and the cheap cologne the boy at the counter wore, but nothing else, no one else. That no one else was here was good for the man in the long black coat, but bad for Mike. The man turned around and locked the gas station's double doors. He pulled a two-foot length of chain from his coat pocket and wrapped it around the handles of both doors, securing it with a twist that bent the metal at the ends of the chain.

"Hey, what do you think you're doing?" The boy behind the counter reached for the phone, but the man in the long black coat was already there.

He calmly pulled the phone's cord from the wall. He reached into the rear pocket of the boy's khakis and removed his cellular phone. He crushed it in one hand as the boy backed up against the wall.

"Take what you want, dude. I won't stop you. I won't even tell anyone you were here. I swear."

The barest hint of a smirk tweaked the corners of the man's mouth as he moved, very quickly, violently stirring the air behind the counter so that a wake of dust swirled behind him.

"The video system." He raised his eyebrows at the clerk named Mike. Mike's thoughts were confused. He was too frightened to think clearly, the man realized. Mike's mind jumped around; homework, his mom, his boss. He was worried about a term paper that was due at the end of the week but which he had not started yet. The man put his hand on Mike's shoulder, squeezing until he heard the crunch of bones. Mike's thoughts ceased at once as he screamed and crumpled to the ground.

"Where. Do. You. Keep. The. Security. Video?" The man spoke slowly, knowing the boy was traumatized.

"There is no system. It's just the camera right here" - the boy pointed above the counter, at a small camera facing down - "and the laptop over there." The man could tell that mike was being truthful, his thoughts focused only on the jerry-rigged security system.

The man jumped onto the counter and removed the camera with a firm pull. He jumped back down, pulled cords from the laptop, and folded it closed. He turned to Mike, who lay squirming on the ground.

The man bared his teeth. He reached for the boy, who had backed himself into a corner. The man gripped the boy's neck with one hand, lifting him from the ground. He pulled him close and sunk his teeth into the boy's carotid artery. The blood geisered. It ran from the corners of the man's mouth, dripped off his chin. He clamped his lips more tightly to the boy's skin. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he gulped heavily and moaned with pleasure.

He was so focused that he did not hear the old pickup pull into a spot outside. Nor did he notice the rattle of the door, the jangle of the chain, the sound of clenched fists banging on the glass. He kept his eyes closed as he drained the clerk dry, careful not to spill any blood onto the floor. That would be a waste of a precious resource.

When he had finished, a sense of euphoria overtook him, as it always did. It was as if the outside world did not exist, as if the thoughts of others could not invade his mind. There was only him and the blood; everything else be damned. He savored that moment, licked his lips. He used his finger to scrape away blood that had run down his neck, then put the finger in his mouth, sucking until it was clean.

Slowly, he came down from his high. He began to feel the warm air again, sense the light in the room. He heard banging. Opened his eyes. The banging grew louder. It was joined by a voice. A girl's voice.

"Mike! Mike! Open the door. What's going on?"

He looked up from behind the counter. A girl, seventeen or eighteen. Mike's girlfriend, perhaps. He would read her thoughts to find out before he dispatched her as well. He rarely took two meals in such close succession, but sometimes he had no choice.

A puzzled look crossed his face when he realized that she had no thoughts that he could read. She screamed for Mike, sounding more and more panicked as she yanked harder in the door.

"That's impossible," the man in the long black coat mumbled, unaware that he had spoken aloud.

The girl suddenly stopped banging on the door and screamed loudly, knocking the man from his temporary gaze. He rushed to the door, ripped the chain away, and pulled the girl inside. He nearly passed out at the smell of her, at once alluring and revolting. He could taste her now, before he had taken a bite. Her smell was that powerful, that alluring.

She struggled to get free of his grasp, successfully freeing her right arm. She slashed at him, digging her nails into his cheek. He did not react, he was so stunned by her presence. He continued trying to read her mind, becoming more and more frustrated by the moment.

"What are you?"

"Fuck you, you piece of shit. Let me go and tell me where Mike is!"

He released his grip, fighting the urge to sink his teeth in. He could not kill this human, not yet. Not until he found out why she drew him in so strongly ... and why he could not read her mind.

"Mike is dead. His corpse is behind the counter. If you'd rather not end up the same way, I suggest you come with me quietly."

"What? He's dead? Holy shit! Why'd you do that? I mean, what did he ever do to you? Why'd you have to kill him?"

The man scooped her into his arms, despite her protests. He grabbed the laptop from the counter and headed for the door, the girl slung over his shoulder. He removed the chain and placed it back into the pocket of his long black coat.

"I killed him," he said, "because I was hungry."