Don't Look Back
The first time itís like snapping kindling. Just break and crack, look back quickly, but donít stare. Block out the faces, just focus on the reward. Crimson rivers flowing from shattered limbs and gouged flesh. Itís an easy way to live, if you can keep from looking back.
Mortal men canít imagine the power in it. They can hear the stories, wonder if they are true, but in the end they have to look away too. If they look into your eyes too long they might start to believe your tales of cutting through Africa, fangs at the ready. Traveling through Russia, China, most of Europe, sampling the wears and dancing through the graveyards.
The second time thereís a bit more pause. You aim your punches a little more squarely. Bite with purpose, actually swallowing more than once before releasing the body to the floor with yet more cracking of bones. Moving on to the next with your blood splattered mouth grinning. You smell the fear in the air and know that this is what you are supposed to be doing.
The downtime is the hardest. Burning sun forces you to hide for hours on end, sleep rarely comes in those early days, canít even force your lids to close most days. Itís easier to stare at the walls, skin crawling in anticipation of the hunt. Thatís what it is now, a hunt. Looking for food nightly, no town square markets, throw your penny down and youíll have a fine meal. Sometimes it feels like being a thief, nothing so subtle as popping fruits from the vine while the vendor isnít looking. This is taking the vendorís wife while he watches and making dessert of his children. This is cardinal sin. Sin with your eyes closed.
The third time you go straight for the jugular. When the last gulp hits your throat you realize you didnít even see the color of their eyes this time. It seems odd to be so intimate with a body that has colorless eyes. In the morning youíll remember the taste, the struggle, but nothing of the meal, no details beyond warm, three bones crunched under powerful fingers. When the scene replays itself you canít even remember if you took them from the front or the back because they had no face.
After decades of the hunt your motherís words ring through your ears, itís not polite to stare, donít play with your food, leave the scraps for the dogs. All still there on the tip of your tongue when you watch others feed. He always stares, she always plays with her food, they always hide the scraps from view. Lessons learned and unlearned every night. Teachers all, they scold and reward, but some of their words still fall on deaf ears.
Because he still canít see their faces, and for that at least, heís grateful.