“Breathless” from The Shifters of 2040
Melissa walked the stranger to her door and opened it with a placement of her finger to the secure pad on the wall.
“Lights on,” she spoke and tossed her alligator purse on a side table.
The stranger followed closely behind her, his pheromones strengthening in power and in intoxication. Melissa smelled him like she smelled fine steak and she wanted to eat him up. She poured them each a glass of champagne in two tall crystal glasses and took them into the living room. Lying on the sofa, she gestured with her head for him to join her.
“You have a lovely home,” he said, sitting down, and scratched his right forearm again. He hid his right hand underneath his leg.
“Thank you.” Melissa laid her palms over his dark blue jeans. The plaid flannel shirt he wore over a white tee hid most of his chest hair, but a few curly strands snuck out and teased Melissa. The light stubble across his chin excited her. Stroking his cheek with the back of her hand, her gaze explored his face, his brows, his eyes, and then focused on his mouth.
Leaning over her, he whispered, “You are breathtaking.” His lips found hers, wetting her lips with each kiss. His tender, thin mouth stretched over her plumper lips and took them in his own. Melissa responded by pushing his shirt off his shoulders, then pulling his t-shirt over his head and tossing the garment to the floor. The shirt hid his toned arms, muscular chest, and her hands took their time exploring this new discovery.
His strong fingers, with nubs of hair over the knuckles, unbuttoned her red satin blouse to reveal a black lace bra. After planting searing kisses along her cleavage, his husky voice murmured, “You sure you want to do this?”
Her answer came in a breathless, “Yes.”
The push and pull of the impassioned bodies bumped them into furniture and walls before the stranger asked, “Where’s your bedroom?”
She pointed down the hall, only to be picked up and carried in that direction. Placing her on the king-sized bed, he shed his jeans and lay beside her, holding her close.
“I could so easily fall for you,” he told her, helping her off with her red satin skirt. “Please…” he rolled onto her, “…don’t forget tonight.”
Her bed saturated with sweat and heat from the friction of two bodies. After tossing, rolling, giving and getting, the stranger laid his head on her chest and listened to her heartbeat, while his fingers rubbed over her belly. A strange electrical heat emanated from his skin and warmed her as she basked in his sun. His pheromones drove her mad and she wanted him to devour her all over again. For a few minutes, all that existed to her, to him, was the moment.
The stranger wet his finger with his tongue and continued to massage her stomach, kissing around her navel. She grabbed the pillows under her head while the guilty pleasure intensified, drawing away her breath. Her head rocked side to side while his fingers burned her abdomen with an addicting passion. Each nerve ending throbbed, every muscle constricted, then a release hit her, so intense it slammed her back into her pillows. She arched her back, biting her lip to stifle a moan.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she heard him whisper, “My baby, my baby.”
When the heat abated and his fingers parted from her skin, they lay side-by-side over the wet, white sheets. Melissa grabbed a cigarette from the pack on her nightstand and lit it while they lay entangled. She breathed heavily a few times before inhaling on her cigarette and then turned to the man, widening her eyes.
“Wow! That was amazing. I’ve never had such an…experience.”
As she finished her thought, she noticed the man’s human features flicker with only a shadow remaining and then they returned in a moment so fast, if she hadn’t been staring at him, she might not have noticed. Her body jerked back and her leg unwrapped from his.
Seeing her jarred expression, he asked, “What is it?” The man sat up and drew toward her, but she pulled away.
“What?” he asked again with a baffled expression. His brows quirked.
“You…” She jumped out of bed and wrapped the sheet around her. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?”
“What!” He gasped and leapt off the bed. Red rashes covered his right arm and body, and his human features faded out and in again as shadow filled the missing qualities, like a television with bad reception. His human skin, fading in color, tried to maintain the fragile appearance, but static left a rash of red-pink coloring.
“You are one of them!” Melissa shrieked and felt confused, disappointed, and betrayed. She ran toward the walk-in closet, pulled out her handgun hidden underneath her sweaters and aimed it in his direction. He swung away from her and toward the door. After only a second’s hesitation, she fired, hitting the far wall and he pounced out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.
She chased him, stumbling over her nerves, and raised her gun to fire again. His bare feet sprung off the marble kitchen floors and he propelled himself through the glass window. His human shape vibrated into a shadow and then into a human and then a wolf before becoming human again. Shattering, the glass spread over the floor and one piece sliced her foot. The man landed on the ground and rolled over the soil, then, in one fluid motion, sprang to his feet and darted toward the forest.
Melissa raced to the window, avoiding any more glass, and watched his back draw further and further away. She fired again, hitting one of the trees, before he disappeared altogether. She stood at her window, frozen, unable to disengage from the recent events, afraid he would return, afraid of what she felt for him. Knowing he deceived her, she felt more deceived by herself. She should have known. She was trained to see through this species. The gun sat aimed out the window and her eyes stayed fixed ahead while her arm shook and her cut foot bled.
* * *
The stranger hurled himself into the forest, his limbs full of energy, his mind oblivious to the cold snow on his bare feet and the chilled wind slicing at his bare chest. Despite the low temperature, he felt warm. Always warm. His only thought fixed on the whizzing bullets and became a mantra. Don’t get hit. Don’t get hit. He ran for a mile before he stopped, his hands resting on his knees, his sides heaving.
At the sound of a sharp female voice, he whirled around and peered into the darkness.
“Did you find her?” A woman with cinnamon red hair to her shoulders stepped out of the shadow. A worried expression covered h
“Yes, I found her at the bar, just like Diamond and Demri said.”
“And the mating?”
He paused for a moment. “Done.”
“Good. Good.” Her features relaxed and she laid a hand on his shoulder. “I know that must have been unpleasant for you, but you did what you must to keep our kind alive.”
In the night, she didn’t see his eyes flicker in disagreement. Far from unpleasant, he knew he’d have a hard time forgetting Melissa. Turning into their normal shapes, a cylindrical internal light surrounded by a grey-jelly malleable form, husband and wife disappeared into the trees.