Hiding In Shadows by Aldis Kreicbergs
I gaze at the myriad of scattered stars adorning the night sky and feel lucky, fortunate to live on a lovely island free from light pollution. Millions of city dwellers will never witness this glorious spectacle. I am lying naked on a blanket on the beach, which is where I always sleep, unless a tropical hurricane is forecast. I give Kalani a final cuddle, say goodnight and roll over.
When I wake in the morning I feel giddy and have a sharp pain on my bum. Something has bitten me. I must have rolled over onto a crab or something. Kalani is awake and presses her body and lips against me. We kiss long and passionately. She cries out in pain.
“You bit my lip!” she squeals.
“Sorry, I got carried away.”
I can taste her blood in my mouth and feel lightheaded, breaking into a cold sweat as I watch blood dripping down her chin. She scrambles to her feet and runs towards our beach hut.
“I need a plaster. If I need stitches I will kill you!” I start to feel delirious. The sun is scorching hot.
Sweating like mad, I run towards the welcome shade of the trees. Gasping for breath I fall down exhausted, dragging fallen palm leaves over me to protect me from the sun. As the day lengthens I crawl further into the shadows. I hear Kalani and others continuously calling my name. They are searching for me but I do not care.
Night is approaching and as the sun sets shadows lengthen and merge into the night. When black clouds block the glaring moon and glimmering stars, I begin to feel alive again. I can breathe and smell the dank night air. I breathe deeply and sigh contentedly. Why? I do not know.
“Because you are now one of us,” says a dark figure looming over me. WHAT? I can sense his amused thoughts and realise he can read my mind. My confusion gradually clears to excited realisation and acceptance of who I am.
“Did you bite my bum?”
I realise that we are both beyond redemption and I do not care.
“Let’s go hunting.”