A Different Kind Of Monster
The figure stumbled through the darkness of the alley, one hand fumbling for something to grab hold of. They clutched a trash can, their coughing fit distant at first; and then the retching was so loud it was as if she was standing right next to him.
Stacia wrinkled her nose in disgust.
Stacia’s eyes shifted to the one next to her. Her face was shadowed in the dim light, her expression devoid of emotion. Her tone was low, and there was a hint of threat under the casual calm. It was rare to see Camilla this way, and a shudder ran up Stacia’s spine. It didn’t just chill her to see and hear her friend this way—she liked it. She liked it a lot.
“Yes,” she answered softly. “That’s him.”
Camilla lifted her head a little higher. There was a look in her amber eyes that made Stacia’s heart beat faster. What was she about to do? It was Stacia’s favorite thing to wonder. Her friend was open, and yet Camilla still always surprised her.
Camilla started toward him, and with a leap of her heart, Stacia followed. She stayed a little behind, her eyes on Camilla. Her friend, as usual, was dressed in black; her high heel boots clicking loud upon the smooth black pavement, her long dark hair blowing softly behind her in the night wind. You couldn’t see her coming in the darkness—but you could hear her.
And when he was done gagging the last contents of his stomach to the ground at his feet, he did. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he turned his head to look at them.
Camilla stopped, and Stacia stopped at her side. His eyes shifted between them, blinking several times as if unfocused. Sweat shimmered on his pale forehead, his blond hair a greasy mess.
“You know my friend here?” Camilla asked with a tilt of her head in Stacia’s direction. Stacia fell under his gaze. He spoke, but it was slurred and muffled behind his hand. The smell was making Stacia’s stomach turn, and she knew that soon enough, she would be gagging. She glanced at the puddle of yellow at his feet, and had to close her eyes and hold a hand to her mouth as her stomach gave a flutter of disgust.
“I didn’t catch that,” Camilla said as she took a few steps toward him. “Here’s the thing,” she started, “it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is you weren’t very nice.” The last word was stressed as she stopped in front of him. “You touched her. You kept touching her, even when she asked you to stop. You touched her legs, pulled her hair. Thought it was funny.”
He lowered his hand and opened his mouth. If he was about to say anything, he didn’t get the chance, as all that fell from his lips was a grunt of pain. Camilla kneed him in the groin, and he fell to his knees, gasping, his fingers clutching her leather jacket.
Camilla’s fingers grasped a hand full of his hair, pulling his head back. “Don’t you ever touch her again,” she warned. “If you do, I’ll cut off your hand, you got it?” She tore his hands from her jacket, and he pressed his palms flat upon the ground. “You might not remember this in the morning,” Camilla said, “so here’s a reminder.”
Stacia winced at his shout, a cry full of pain, as Camilla crushed one of his hands under her boot. She pressed down harder before stepping off, and the moment she did, that boot met his face with a crunching sound. His head flew back, and he fell backward, right into the yellow puddle. He sobbed and grunted, hands cupped over his nose.
“I don’t want to see you here again,” Camilla looked down at him. “Got it?”
Camilla turned away from him. Sliding an arm around Stacia’s shoulder, Camilla led her away.
Stacia looked at her friend. That smirk was on her lips, the smirk that always made Stacia’s heart flutter. “You were really rough on him,” Stacia commented. “And he wasn’t even one of your monsters.”
“He was,” Camilla said. “He’s just a different kind of monster.”
Stacia pressed her lips against Camilla’s cheek, and whispered softly into her ear. “Always my hero.”