Ashlie's ears perked up when she heard a twig snap to the left of her.
He was close.
Her breath fogged the crisp air in front of her.
She took a deep inhale and held it.
Matthew followed her from the wedding into the woods. He was quite stubborn about being with her that night. Ashlie had been heading home when he came at her. She went deep into the Brailey Bottoms and he pursued. Hunters had become lost in these woods and were never heard from again. Thanks to her father, she would not be following them.
Another twig cracked, this moment a slight further away.
Matthew was advancing further away.
Ashlie reflected about the events at the wedding and the discussion she had with him. He made it obvious from the minute they made eye contact; he would come for her. Matthew winked at her while he was best man strolling with the maid of honor at Olivia's wedding. Ashlie had struggled to remain free of him but he ultimately cornered her. He started out subtly flirting but as the night continued on and he had more drinks in his system, his flirting got way more forceful. She had tried to leave the party when Matthew caught her by the arm and tried pulling her to the dance floor. Ashlie had refused him and now not only was he angry but he was shamed and he would take what he craved.
"You can run, you can hide, but this town is small and someday I will take you," Matthew bellowed out.
Ashlie peeked around the edge of the tree and caught sight of his cell phone's light up ahead of her. Her father prepared her to hunt when she was a teen and it was paying off. He couldn't find her. She walked towards the next tree, being conscious of each step she took; she made little noise with each stride.
"I wager, you consider yourself unique. I'm here to inform you, you are not. I have preyed on many women like you. They assumed they are strong by telling me no. Well, I broke them like I will crush you," Matthew yelled into the night air.
Ashlie noticed what sort of man pursued her. He was a particular predator. She settled her back against the tree and tuned in to his heavy footed steps lead away. It was obvious, he had never been hunting. Otherwise, he would hold still and observe his surroundings, but instead he was going the wrong direction .
"You will fight back but you will give up. It's getting colder and you are becoming fatigued. I prefer a decent struggle from you and can't give that if you are too cold and tired," Matthew taunted.
Ashlie took a step and her foot found contact with a broad stick and it snapped.
He heard it.
His light met her.
She couldn't see his face but felt his nasty smile.
"Ah, there you are. Decided to come out and participate?"
The words that fell out of his mouth were threaded with hatred.
Matthew ran after her.
Her heavy breathing and the pounding of her heart muffled everything he was hollering at her.
She made a left at the scarred tree and was right where she needed to be.
Matthew's cologne filled her nostrils.
He halted in his steps.
Ashlie could sense his apprehension. She noticed he understood he was now her prey. She lifted her nail and passed it down the collar of his neck.
He twisted so fast he stumbled over his own feet.
Matthew was lost for words.
Ashlie lowered herself till she was on top of him and face to face.
"My people has hunted hunters of these woods for generations. You are not unique. Many men like you have assumed they were capable and could overtake us. Yet they realized the desperation of their position and accepted their failure," she growled
She plunged her teeth into his throat.
His fear pushed the blood in her mouth.
She moaned as her venom paralyzed him.
Matthew went stagnant.
Ashlie pulled aside for the one more second.
"Thank you for such a wonderful night. I have not had this much fun in a long awhile. My papa would be very proud. "
She slashed at his pudgy belly and filled herself with Matthew's body.
Ashlie emerged from the woods satisfied. She was drained. She felt she would sleep completely. After all, she did have work in the morning.