Displaced: Chapter 1

The night air hung thick as sludge, reminding her of her Grandma’s milk gravy.  About as easy to breath in too.  Sam hated the weather here, and for the hundredth time, she swore to herself that she had to get away.  “Maybe Portland,” she mused.  “I would fit in in Portland.”  It was an impossible dream, her entire life sucked her in, holding her down, and yet leaving her feeling all alone.

That sense of solitude was only exacerbated by the events of the LGBTQ social she’d just left.  Honestly, they all knew her sexual preferences, but to some people, that just didn’t matter.  Some just saw it as a challenge, a dare.  Her face burned with many emotions as she stormed off down the sidewalk to where she’d parked her car.  Angry, frustrated, and on the brink of tears, her feet stomped down the uneven sidewalk, her steps clapping a steady rhythm through the night.

As she left the thumping “music” of the dance club in the dust, a bark of human distress broke the still night.  Sam sped up, pulling out her cell phone, reading to call in the authorities if need be.  Her hand automatically reached for her bag, where a retractable baton waited.  Currently about the size of a pen, all it would take is a single motion of her arm to turn it into her self-defense weapon of choice.

“Get off!” the voice said, now distinguishable as female as Sam drew closer.

Sam accelerated into a jog, her leather messenger bag smacking her butt with every stride.  The anger from her own recent episode multiplied as the words drifted to her, feeding on her own experiences to give it life.

“Let her go.  Leave us alone,” a softer feminine voice said, her voice quivering with emotion.

“Come on,” a deep masculine voice said, “How do you know you’re not going to like it if you don’t try it.”

Masculine laughter filled the air.

Sam’s anger spiked into the red zone.  She might have roared, like some horror movie monster about to attack.  She sure felt like roaring in that moment as she rounded the corner of the alleyway.  Sam stopped in her place, already punching in 911, forgetting her phone had it easily accessible from the lock screen.

She froze, phone held in front of her in one hand, baton limp at her side in the other.  The phone’s screen went black as she stared, numbered entered but no longer having the wherewithal to press the send button.

Sam’s brain sat frozen, almost useless in her brain, slow to process what she’d seen.  There had been a roar, but not from her.  Men grabbing at two small women.  They’d attacked.  Blood, so much blood.  She whimpered, shaking in the aftermath of what her mind refused to process.

The two women turned to her at the sound, heads tilting in an animalistic way, crouched as if to pounce, hands flexed like claws ready to strike.  And they had.  Oh, how they had struck.

They made a step forward as one, one of them having to take a large step over the chest of a bloody, lacerated torso.  Sam stepped back without thought.  The phone fell to her side as well, forgotten.

The duo paced closer, bringing to mind the big cats at the zoo—lions and panthers, pacing their enclosures.

Sam continued backward—step, step, step, stumble.  She fell off the curb, stumbling and catching herself.  When she looked up, the couple stood right in front of her, staring her in the eye.

Animal eyes.  They had animal eyes.  In that moment before they grabbed her, that thought stuck in her head.

They had animal eyes.

Oh, you so know you want to...