by Kody Boye
©2007 Kody Boye

Home -=- #15 -=- ANTHRO #15 Stories
-= ANTHRO =-

   The man whose bed she shared tonight was only the very beginning of her plan. She knew that changing him had worked this time—it had finally, finally, worked!—unlike her other failures of the recent past.
   Those failures, or at least what was left of them, were hanging from the logs on the upper portion of her lair. That, of course, wouldn’t be seen by any visitors, because it had been sealed up long ago, and she was very good at what she did.

   The diner was old, musty, dusty, and filled with oddball people (whom some would call freaks) but it was Shaun’s favorite restaurant. It was the ‘Hillside Café’. Not an original name; just the cheapest and quietest restaurant in town, more or less. And it was on days like this, the typical Sunday morning, when the coffee was good and it was an easy day to read The Stock Exchange or The New York Times.
   Shaun, fresh out of High School and eagerly waiting his acceptance into the military, read from a newspaper in his usual booth, waiting for the waitress to bring him his coffee.
   Shaun placed the newspaper on the table and gave the waitress a smile.
   “You ordered dark coffee, right?”
   “Yes, Maddie, thank you.”
   She nodded and walked off, cleverly sliding her jeans down a bit to expose her thong.
   Maddie Corvetta was a well-known waitress hereabouts. Or maybe 'notorious' was more like it—most people described her as, ‘A charmingly distasteful young woman’ and, ‘The reason why I don’t go to that diner.’
   He shook his head and picked up his cup of coffee. Before Shaun took a drink, he noticed that the beans were floating at the top, something he wouldn’t have done if he’d been at another restaurant.
   Every single time he came to this diner—every single goddamned time—something was wrong with his order. But then, Shaun didn't come here for the service. Today, his order was something too simple for even the Hillside Café to screw up: A grilled cheese sandwich.
   After silently debating whether or not it might improve the taste, Shaun grabbed a spoon to crush his coffee’s single, Siamese bean against the side of his cup.
   The sandwich came, surprisingly, normal. The same waitress, Maddie, had come back to deliver the sandwich.
   After giving Shaun a wink, she walked off.
   Damn, she’s hot, Shaun thought to himself after it had finally sunk in, I’ll have to get her number before I leave.
He distracted himself from looking at her “nice ass” as everyone called it (all the horny High School and college guys, anyway) by taking a bite out of the sandwich. Grilled cheese, an odd morning meal, but it was better than not eating.
   He ate the sandwich, while alternating between the newspaper and his coffee. While Shaun was eating, he noticed something go by under his feet.
   It was a cockroach…
   That truly showed how dirty this restaurant was.
   Shaun had pretty much lost his appetite by the time he saw the third cockroach go under his foot. Standing, he left the money for the food, coffee, and a rather large tip of twenty dollars on the table.
   He gave a wink at Maddie before he left the restaurant and drove back to his apartment.

   She was the last of the half-cats. The second-to-last, her father, was years and years dead; he always said she was infertile, and that she'd be the one who killed off her race. She despised him. And after she ripped his heart out of his chest, she swore she'd prove him wrong.
   But although it was easy to say that a thing be done, it was harder to actually do it. So it was that the long years of aloneness went quickly by. She hardly noticed their passage, because she occupied her time with attempt after attempt to fulfill her oath.

   It was about ten-thirty in the morning when he got back to his apartment. A strong smell of sweat and unwashed clothes came from the corner of the room, but Shaun ignored it.
   Putting his jacket on the rack, he sat on the bed, flicking on the television. The normal channels came on, and, by the time he’d flicked through the twenty channels he had, he had lost interest in the television. The screen died in a blink of a white, pixilated blur.
    Shaun laid himself on the bed, remembering the way Maddie had bent over to show him her undergarment.
   The thought that he may soon be hooking up with her turned him on, and he desperately wanted tomorrow to come, so he could go to the diner again.
   Sure, the diner smelled of bad, musky perfume. Shaun didn’t care—any more than he cared if the food wasn’t all that good at times, or that there were cockroaches and Hell knows what else crawling around the restaurant floor. He went to the Hillside Café for exactly one reason, and food wasn’t it:
   Shaun went there so he could get in Maddie Corvetta’s pants.
   The phone seemed to beckon to him, along with the fact that his friend, Michael, had wanted Maddie for himself for some time. He would flip when Shaun told him that he had scored Maddie for himself.
   After dialing the number, Shaun sat for a moment, waiting for Michael to answer.
   “Michael, you won’t believe what just happened.”
   “What… What happened?”
   “Are you drunk?”
   “What’s it to you?”
   “Never mind,” Shaun said, rolling his eyes. “You’ll never guess who was flirting with me today.”
   “Who? Come on, tell me.”
   “Maddie Corvetta.”
   “No way, you’re shitting me!”
   “No, I’m serious. She was winking and smiling at me. She even slid her pants down so I could see her thong.”
   “Do you have a date with her?”
   “No. I think I’ll just go to the diner at night when no one’s there with her—she does work the night shift.”
   “All you want to do is get in her pants.” Michael said from the other end of the line.
   “How do you know— ”
   “Because that’s all you’ve ever wanted Maddie Corvetta for. Come on, that’s all anybody wants Maddie Corvetta for. No one cares that she’s a slut… Well, us guys don’t, anyway.”
   “Well, whatever, just called to brag about that.”
   “Fuck you!”
   “See you later, bro.”
   “Wait, Shaun.”
   “What is it?” Shaun asked. “If this is something about you being jealous of me going out with Maddie, I don’t want to hear it.”
   “It’s not me being jealous, Shaun; it’s about Maddie.”
   “What are you going to tell me about Maddie?”
   “You know the guys Maddie’s been going out with?”
   “Yeah. And?”
   “Have you noticed that some of them aren’t around anymore?”
   “So you’re telling me that Maddie’s some kind of freak?”
   “I’m not saying that, Shaun.”
   “Then what are you telling me?”
   “I’m just saying, Maddie might be different. Be careful.”
   “I’m not listening to this bullshit anymore.”
   Shaun hung up the phone. Michael probably wouldn’t even remember the call by the time he woke up tomorrow morning, or after he passed out, whichever came first.
   Shaun shook the thought away, and was met by an onslaught of more.
   No, he was just jealous, that’s all, he thought to himself, maybe I can actually get into a relationship with her.
But in reality, he knew that actually getting into a relationship with Maddie Corvetta was a lie. Her name might have sounded like that of an expensive car, but all she wanted from men was sex. After that, she dumped them and went in pursuit of another man.
   “Well, whatever she wants, she’ll get it.” Shaun said as he got up and walked into the bathroom to take a shower.
   After stripping out of his clothes, he jumped into the small shower stall and turned the water on. The cold water made him jump at first, but it eventually evened out into warmth. Shaun washed his hair, then got out of the shower, dried off, and dressed from the waist down. As he got some shaving cream and a new razor out of the medicine cabinet, he smiled at his reflection in the large mirror.
   He was everything that a girl could want: pure, hard muscle. He was no stranger to the gym. His six pack and his well-defined pecs were proof of that. After shaving, he flexed his muscles in the mirror again, giving a wide grin at the mirror. “Damn, I’m hot,” Shaun said to himself, throwing a bit of cologne under his arms.
   He walked out of the bathroom, closing the door so the steam could dissipate inside the bathroom and not in his small apartment.
   Three rooms—the living room, his bedroom and a bathroom—was not a very large apartment, but it suited him. It was all he could afford right now, being fresh out of High School and only able to pay for this place by running a night shift job at a gas station…
   Well, that and the photo shoot last weekend. They’d paid him a good thousand dollars, with offers for more. The magazines liked him, and even then, there were other photographers from other places that liked his body well enough to put in print. Posing for a few pictures was not very hard, and he enjoyed showing off his—as the women called it—‘perfect body.’
   “Well, I like it, and it’s better than living at my parents’ house,” Shaun said with a smile. “Besides, I have privacy here.”
   It would be enough, until he was able to get money for college through the military. Oh, well; if he got called off to some foreign country to do some work, it didn’t bother him. By then he’d be through with college and have a nice job and—if he was lucky—maybe even a girl, one that found him through the Hunk magazines he’d be posing nude for.
   He sat on the bed and let the air from the fan cool his rather hot skin.
   After that, he laid back on the bed again, resting his hands behind his head.
   Now he only had one thing to think about, and that was what night he was going to go to the diner to meet Maddie. He wanted a night when the place would be empty…
   A weeknight might work, but no matter how lousy the Hillside Café was, a customer might be there even so. Or a weekend but, there was double—no—triple the chances that there might be people there. Either way, it wouldn’t be easy to get at Maddie Corvetta. But… Well, maybe he could go shopping and pick out something to wear that night. What would Maddie like on him?
   What did she like on all her men?
   Of course, Shaun didn’t actually know what Maddie liked her men to wear. Fortunately, he knew just who to ask: Jack, the one among his friends who really had gotten into her pants. He just hoped Jack was able and willing to answer the phone…
   “Hey,” he heard Jack say. Excellent! “Talk to me.”
   “Hey, Jack, it’s Shaun. What’s happening?”
   “Not much, around here. How about you? Haven’t heard from you in a while.”
   “Sorry about that, I’ve been busy. Filling out paperwork for the military has been killing me.”
   “Congrats, man.” He could practically hear Jack’s eyes rolling. “So what was it you needed?”
   “I…” Shaun stopped for a shirt moment, grinning. “Hey, Jack… I think Maddie’s trying to make a move on me. I need some advice.”
   “Oh, was that all? I can help, what is it you want advice on?”
   “What should I wear?”
   “Something casual—but it’s gotta show your muscles, she digs men with muscles—and something over it. Maybe a denim jacket, and jeans, but make sure they’re tight. Really, really tight; she likes observing her men.”
   “All right… But that’s not what I wanted to hear.”
   “Oh. You think she may be really into you, then?”
   “Yeah, so, what do you think?”
   “Hmm… ” He stalled for a minute, thinking to himself. “I suggest something you can see through, something white. I think I’ve got something… But, before I offer, do you have anything like that?”
   “Sorry, I don’t usually shop in ‘Erotic’ stores.”
   “All right, I can bring something over. I’ll be there in ten, will that work?”
   “Yeah, see you then.”
   The only thing Shaun could do was smile as he placed the phone back on the receiver.

   She’d been so terribly alone for so many years… but not any more. The man whose bed she was sharing had taken a liking to her, and she to him. They made love several long times, and all those times she tried to change him. But after so many unsuccessful attempts, she’d almost given up.
   That is, until the spark from drinking blood gave her something.
   She had fed off of a victim before she came to his house. She tidied herself up and came in a pretty, short red dress. She’d turned him on; she traced the muscles of his chest, and then she brought him to bed.
   And she gave him the power.
   He convulsed a few times shortly after he fell asleep, but that was normal. Maybe biting his upper chest had done something to him as well, but she didn’t think so; she’d done that several times before, and every single time it hadn’t worked. She had also opened his eye the slightest bit and saw the gold there, showing the state that he was now in: The half-cat state.
   She knew it was the blood.
   And now that she knew the secret, she could begin her task.
   She could begin the repopulation of her race.
   She let her hand rest on her lover’s bare chest and sighed her relief, her gold eyes flashing around the room as her mouth parted in a wicked, fanged smile.

   “Shaun, open up!” Jack called from the hall.
   Shaun opened his eyes. After rising, he walked to the door and opened it.
   “You have to show me where you work out, I get goose bumps every time I see those muscles of yours.”
   “Oh… Sorry, I fell asleep and didn’t notice.”
   “No problem, bro,” Jack said, slapping Shaun on the back as he walked in. “I didn’t forget it, just to let you know. It just took me a few minutes to find one that was your size.”
   Shaun closed the door and turned to watch Jack fumbling through a bag.
   “Here you are.” He pulled out a white shirt piece.
   “You sure that’ll fit me?”
   “Yeah, I’m sure. Trust me—this is what she likes.” Shaun nodded, giving a small yawn.
   “Are you tired? I can leave if you want me to.”
   “No, that’s all right, Jack.”
   It was true. Shaun was tired, but that was only because he hadn’t been able to fall asleep until four in the morning.
   “So, how have things been?”
   “All right, I guess,” Shaun said as he sat on the bed, grabbing the tight shirt and placing it in a bare drawer, where he could easily find it. “Just been working my ass off.”
   “It’s gonna be a long night for you, bud,” Jack said as he watched Shaun yawn again. “You should probably take tonight off.”
   “I don’t know… I have to make money to pay this place off, and if I miss today, they’ll deduct, like, twenty bucks out of my check because I’ve used up all my sick days. I can’t afford to lose that kind of money. It’ll set me back on the rent payment.”
   “I can help you pay your rent,” Jack said, sitting on the bed beside Shaun. “I don’t mind helping you.”
   Shaun looked over at Jack, thinking. It’s not polite to take his money… But I am tired, and there’s no way I can last through the night.…
   A smile appeared over his face.
   “Jack, that’s exactly why you’re my best friend. You can pretty much help me whenever I need it.”
   “Well, just helping a friend out.” Jack said.
   “Thanks! Hey, you want to talk or hang out some time, like we used to in High School?”
   “Shaun, we never just hung out in High School. We were either screwing our girlfriends or getting drunk.”
   “Well, we can do that too. I’ve got beer in the fridge.”
   “What the heck… might as well have a good time.”
   Shaun smiled, patted his friend on the back, and went to the fridge and grabbed two beers.
   “Thanks,” Jack said as he rose from the bed and grabbed the beer. The two of them walked to the table and sat down, making small talk about what they’d been doing after High School. Sure, it had only been six months, but the two of them hadn’t seen each other in a while, and they needed to catch up…

   “You’re kidding! You got accepted into Harvard?”
   “No, I’m not.” Jack said with a smile. “Who knew that stringing random words into poetry could get you somewhere? Go figure.”
   “Jack… That’s great, I’m really happy for you.”
   “Thanks, bro!” By now, Jack was on his fourth beer; he was starting to slur his words. Shaun, on the other hand, hadn’t drunk more than one.
   “Jack, are you feeling all right?”
   “Better than fucking ever!” he said, giving a plastered smile. “Why? Don’t I look… alright?”
   “No, you look fine. I was just making sure.”
   Jack nodded, and popped open another beer.
   “Ah, this… is the… life!”
   “I suppose so,” Shaun said, casting Jack a nervous look. Okay, he’d brought clothes like he promised, but why was he still here? When Shaun suggested that they hang out together, he hadn’t meant they should do that tonight—not when Maddie was waiting for him!
   “Hey, Jack, it’s getting late. Want me to drive you back to your apartment?”
   “What? I thought we were just getting started?”
   “We were, but it’s getting late. And I’m kinda tired.”
   “You… mind if I crash here then? My roommates are too loud, and my hand… head… is starting to spin.”
   Shaun nodded. “Sure, Jack. You don’t mind sleeping on the couch, do you?”
   “No, doesn’t bother me.” Jack started to rise, but Shaun just barely got up in time to catch him. “There’s all kind’a gravity in here,” Jack said, giving a small laugh.
   Shaun helped Jack to the couch and dumped him off there, where he promptly fell asleep. With a sigh of relief Shaun searched through Jack’s pockets until he found his car keys.
   “I don’t want you waking up and driving off on me,” he muttered to himself as he went back to his room.
   But as Shaun walked out the door, Jack’s eyes flashed gold for one moment.
   “I’ve got him right where you want him, Maddie.”

   She had the secret! And that changed everything.
   Before, men were just meat; she picked victims nobody would miss or care about, took her pleasure and their lives, and then stored their carcasses for later use. But now, each man was a potential member of her kind. That meant she had to choose with care. She didn’t want to be mother of an race of defective weaklings!
   And there was one man who’d wanted her for some time now. She’d wanted him, too, and why not? He was tall, strong, good-looking—prime breeding stock, in other words. Before, she’d passed him over for that very reason: Every woman noticed him, so she couldn’t afford to have him disappear. But now? Now, there was no reason for her to avoid him.
   He’d make a fine half-cat.

   Tonight was when Shaun would get some! Once he’d showered, shaved, put some cologne on, combed his hair and put gel in it, he dressed and walked out the door. After locking the door, he walked down the stairs, careful to not wake any of the people who might have gone to bed at nine.
   He got out to the parking lot, got in his car, and drove down the road for a mile and soon, the Hillside Café came into view. Shaun parked out front and got out of his car, making sure that all the doors were locked before he walked up the sidewalk to the café.
   He opened the door, and heard the bell above him chime. It chimed as a warning, both as a customer and as a potential… pleasure to Maddie for the night. She looked up from her spot at the counter, gazing at Shaun. She’d been doing the previous day’s crossword puzzle in the newspaper.
   “Hi, Maddie,” Shaun said as he approached the counter. “I hope you don’t mind me coming in.”
   “No, I was getting bored anyway.” She smiled. It was a smile that could make any man’s blood boil. “Is there anything you wanted?”
   “Other than you?” Shaun said, smiling back at her. “No—how much do you charge?”
   “Oh, I’m sure we can work something out,” she said, smiling and twirling the loose strip of string on Shaun’s shirt. “Follow me.”
   Shaun eagerly followed Maddie, where she led him into the restaurant’s single bathroom. It was small, but it would more than accommodate their needs.
   Maddie locked the door, and gave Shaun a seductive, charming smile.
   “What would you like to order, sir?” she said, starting to unbutton her shirt. “Medium, or rare?”
   “Whatever suits you,” Shaun said as he advanced on Maddie and began kissing her. She eagerly accepted him as he kissed her, holding the back of his head with one hand while the other trailed down his back.
   “Mmm,” Shaun moaned as Maddie massaged his back. The two broke the kiss only for a moment before the two of them stripped off their shirts and started kissing each other again.
   “What a fine body you have,” she said, trailing her hand down his chest “And you smell so good—I could just eat you up!”
   Shaun smiled and pressed his lower body against hers.
   “Feel free to do anything, my love.”
   All she could do was smile as he started kissing her again, trailing down to her neck, and soon, down to her shoulder.
   She gave a slight moan of lust.
   Shaun was enjoying himself. This woman was the whole reason why young men like him flocked to the Hillside Café.
   And then disappeared…
   “Come here, honey,” Maddie said, making Shaun rise from fondling her breasts. “Let Maddie give you some.”
   Shaun smiled as he rose, feeling Maddie unbuckle his belt and unzip his jeans. But he noticed something in Maddie’s eyes. Her beautiful, blue eyes… But they weren’t blue, now.
   They were gold.
   “Let momma give you some sugar.”
   She opened her mouth, and in place of her normal, white teeth, were sharp fangs.
   Her fingernails elongated, and grew, until they were no longer human—no, they were claws! Shaun gasped as the thing that was no longer Maddie spun him around, slamming him into the wall.
   Shaun felt the claws dig into his chest, and cried out in pain. The creature forced him down onto the floor shortly after, sending sharp fire into his back.
   “Now you know why I like men so much,” she said, her breath nearing his face. The smell of rotten flesh emanated from her mouth. “Their blood tastes good.”
   Shaun cried out in pain as she bit down on his chest, right below his left pectoral muscle. She purred as the blood flowed freely from his chest and into her mouth. He knew he had to get away from this… thing!
   He forced his arms out of her strong grasp, and threw her off of him. He dove for the door, leaving his shirt behind. After unlocking the door, he ran blindly out of the bathroom and into an unfamiliar portion of the diner. From the ceiling, bodies hung from sick, twisted hooks.
   Bodies that bore the signs of Maddie’s love.
   He didn’t want to end up like them. He heard the door crash from inside the bathroom and saw as Maddie leapt onto the wall opposite of the bathroom.
   “Come back here, you stud! Let Maddie give you some sugar!”
   Shaun needed no other invitation to leave. He ran out the door and to his car, where he unlocked the door and inserted the keys.
   He revved the engine and sped out of there. He hoped to God he was just imagining Maddie’s eyes, glowing and golden, receding in his rear-view mirror…

   Shaun ran up the steps to his apartment at around midnight. He nearly ran into Jack, who was waiting for him by the door.
   “Shaun—what happened? You’re bleeding!”
   “Maddie… did this. Get out of my way!” Shaun pushed Jack aside and ran inside.
   Jack followed him in, and Shaun locked the door.
   “Maddie did this? How?”
   “She’s not Maddie, Jack! She tried to kill me, and there were dead bodies, and she… She tried to kill me.”
   Jack stared in horror at Shaun.
   “You mean she… ”
   “The men she’s been dating—she killed them, and hung them from hooks—that’s why the diner smells so bad!”
   Jack gave a weird smile. A warning bell rang in Shaun’s head.
   “Jack… What is it, what aren’t you telling me?”
   “So she couldn’t take care of you? What a shame that is. ”
   Shaun watched in horror as his best friend metamorphosed into something terrible and feline, the same thing Maddie had been turning into before he left the diner.
   “Don’t, Jack… please.”
   “Sorry, Shaun, but we can’t let you live—you know too much.”
   Shaun ran for his bedroom and dove in through the door. The cat-thing that was no longer Jack misjudged its leap and slammed hard into the wall. It shook its head, hissing in pain, and slowly rose from a tangle of limbs. Not waiting for it to get its second wind, Shaun fumbled for something in the nightstand drawer.
   “You’re going to die, Shaun,” the creature said in an inhuman voice.
   “No, Jack,” Shaun said, pulling out a gun. “You’re going to die.”
   The sound of the shot punctured the dim, quiet night—and Jack's left ventricle.

   The thing on the floor was a perfectly normal, perfectly human, body.
   With lots of bullet holes in it.
   Shaun had killed his best friend… or at least, that’s what the police would say. And the police would come, sooner or later—no, make that ‘sooner’. Surely the noise of the gunshots couldn't have gone unheard! He had to do something, and he had to do it fast…
   He stayed only long enough to make sure his makeshift pyre of highway flares and rubbing alcohol really was destroying the carcass that wasn’t his best friend. And even then, he’d almost stayed too long; when Shaun drove away, he could hear sirens approaching in the far distance.
   What would he—what could he—do next? He had no idea. But Shaun knew he had to remain free to act, for one simple reason:
   There was at least one more of those cat-things, out somewhere in the darkness.

   Maddie had felt Jack’s death—it seemed there was some kind of psychic bond between her and her children—but it didn’t bother her. Why should it? The fool had allowed himself to be killed by a mere human with a gun! Clearly, Jack was weak. And her race needed to be strong.
   Shaun, now, he was something else entirely. If she’d thought of him as a likely candidate before, she really wanted him now. And, even better, she felt something from him; not the full bond she and Jack had had, but a vague sense of…
connection. Maybe she hadn’t converted Shaun, but her night’s work hadn’t been a waste! She’d planted a seed. And everyone knew what seeds did, in the fullness of time:
   They grew.
   And sprouted.

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