The African landscape was covered in twilight. The baby rhinoceros nuzzled its mother unnerved by the quick shadows surrounding them. A smell of danger permeated the air. The mother rhino pawed at the dusty earth.
The first hyena moved in quickly from the female rhino’s blind aide. It snapped at the baby then ran for cover in the dry bush where its pack waited. The mother rhino tensed for the next attack. When they came, the hyenas rushed from different directions, using short delays to confuse and imbalance the adult rhino. But the mother was up for the challenge and met each attempt to capture her baby with charges of her own.
The hyenas were patient. Time was own their side. There were five of them and only one adult rhino. Eventually, the mother charged erratically at the swift figures, losing her sense of direction as the hyenas snatched the squealing baby away. They tore their capture apart with powerful jaws as the mother roared, charging at shadows.
Mr. Simmons raised the projection screen. Sunlight flooded his fifth period High School Biology class.
“Most people believe hyenas to be scavengers,” Mr. Simmons addressed his students. “But, as you witnessed in the film, they can be cunning predators as well.”
Mr. Simmons’ voice faded as Ron stared across the room at the new girl. Simmons had announced that Sandra was a transfer from some state, Ron couldn’t remember where, at the beginning of the fall term. Ron was one of the ‘bloodhounds’ perpetually sniffing around the halls after girls. This new girl fit his criteria nicely: shocking red hair bundled in a knot on her head, fair skin dotted with beyond-cute freckles, and a body, what a body, with firm breasts riding high on a short compact curvy assed frame. Ron’s goal was to taste this sweet apple before Christmas break rolled around. But, he would take it slow. Get to know her. Just like the hyenas, time was on his side.
It started with impromptu sittings at lunch: “Would she mind?” “Could he join her?”
She never sent him away, even when her budding friendships with other girls were threatened by their dislike for Ron. “He’s nothing but a ‘dog’” they warned her. “All he wants is to get in your pants. Just ask Becky or Susan or Mary or . . .”
His conversation was general, his questions typical: “Where you from?” “How do you like it here in Paducah, Kentucky?” “Pretty small berg for a girl like you I bet.”
And she answered. She had relocated from Abilene, Texas. She came ahead of her parents because they had six months left on the contract at their jobs and did not want her to miss the beginning of the school year. Her father had accepted an offer from the hospital in Paducah. Both of her parents were registered nurses, so her mother had been hired as a stipulation to her father’s accepting the job in charge of Pediatric critical care at Paducah General. She was staying in an apartment building, The Pomegranate Tree, and rode the bus to school each day.
“No need to ride a bus when I’ve got a car. Why not let me pick you up in the morning? I can even take you home after school if you want me to.” Ron grinned an easy smile, confident and aware of the trust building between them.
It wasn’t long until they went on dates, sometimes driving to Mayfield—a larger city with different activities to appreciate like a shopping mall, dance clubs, multiplex cinemas, or rock concerts. But mostly they hung around Paducah. There was no indoor movie theater there, but a Drive-In still hustled enough business to stay open. It was there they finally kissed and petted, and there, after a few dates, they started to steam up the windows as cold weather approached.
Then, the moment finally arrived. Ron had her flat on the back seat while the soundtrack from the drive-in speaker became a meaningless jumble of words and music. His hands unhooked her bra; he kneaded her rigid breasts while fumbling to unzip Sandra’s jeans.
She grabbed his hand. “Not here,” she said breathlessly. “Not in your car.”
“No. Someone might see and it will get back to my parents. Don’t you know somewhere else?”
He was frustrated, impatient, but smart enough not to destroy his chances by forcing her. He sat up. He ran his hands through his sandy sweat-slicked hair. “Yeah, sure,” he said. “There’s a motel about two miles out on I 62. We’ll go there.”
“Just hurry,” she said almost panting, the heat rising from her body, ready and wanting. “Just hurry.”
The temperature was in a steady fall. It was late November, a time for cold weather in Kentucky. The sky clouded and threatened snow. Ron pulled in to the Wildcat Motel’s parking lot. It was Thursday night and the place was almost void of other cars. The neon sign fought the cold—the W I L C A burned steady, but the D and T flashed like strobe lights and crackled against the damp, cold, night air. The night manager at the motel, a burned out alcoholic in his late fifties named Jesse, wasn’t surprised to see Ron walk in; he was one of their steady customers.
“Hey, Ron,” Jesse said casually as he ground out a cigarette burned down to the filter in an overflowing ashtray. “Need one for a few hours or the whole night?”
Ron laid a twenty dollar bill on the counter. “As long as it takes,” he said as he accepted the key from Jesse. It was for No.11, his lucky number, the room located in the back away from the highway.
Jesse smiled, the wrinkles and dirt-lined creases on his worn face dancing as he did.
The room was cold when they stepped in, the air heavy with the smell of cheap rug and bathroom cleaners. But the two didn’t notice the cold or the odor. They were too busy pulling off each others clothes on their way to the bed.
They fell on the marshmallow mattress in a tangle of arms and legs, each groping and kissing the other in heated foreplay.
And then, Ron was inside her. At first their sex was animal and brutal, but it slowed down as the night wore on and became a ballet of rhythm, a mutual gliding of insatiable partners.
“Don’t stop,” she whispered as Ron lay exhausted on top of her. Their bodies were held together by a line of sweat that stretched with any movement.
He raised himself in a pushup motion. “My, God,” he said with a slight laugh. “Don’t you ever get enough?”
“Never,” she said then used her groin muscles to squeeze his penis, which was lying flaccid inside her.
“I felt that, you little devil.”
She did it again, this time a little harder.
As Ron opened his mouth to laugh, two thin streams of liquid were expelled from the corners of Sandra’s mouth. They landed on Ron’s tongue. It was so sudden he swallowed some of the sweet, acid-tasting fluid instinctively before spitting out the rest. The liquid coagulated with his saliva and landed with an audible plop on Sandra’s stomach.
Ron was livid. He grabbed Sandra roughly by her shoulders. “What the Hell’s wrong with you. Why’d you spit at me?!” In the middle of his yelling, another two streams of fluid were dispensed into his mouth. Unable to control his reflexes, he swallowed all of the stuff this time. His hands went to his lips. He reached inside his mouth and tried to pull the sticky material out. The fluid was stinging the soft tissue lining his mouth; the inside of his cheeks and his tongue went numb. Ron tried to speak but his larynx was anesthetized, allowing only a choked, airy moan to escape. He tried to push himself away from Sandra but her tightening vaginal muscles locked him in place.
Ron panicked and made a strong effort to free himself. An enormous pulling pressure moved him forward. His upper torso snapped in a curving motion. The strain on his spine was agonizing. His genitals were alive with pain as if being injected with battery acid.
Sandra’s abdomen convulsed in short rhythmic waves. Her mouth gaped; her arms spread out and twisted behind her head. She looked like she was in labor only she was pulling in, not pushing out.
Ron flailed his arms uselessly like a bird whose feet were stuck in cement denying it takeoff. He could not grab Sandra’s upper body due to his awkward, bent position, so he locked his fingers on to her thighs, pinching into the flesh as hard as he could, but it had no affect as Sandra’s leg muscles tensed, repelling his fingers in their effort to cause pain.
Before Ron could try and re-grip her thighs, Sandra’s internal muscles made an enormous inward convulsion. Ron was pulled deeper inside her. He was being shaped into a ‘v’ when a terrible crack split the silence in the room. As his brain exploded in agony when the splintering vertebral column severed his spinal chord, Ron’s spine fractured at the pelvic connection.
The pain then quickly abated and the pressure was relieved when Ron lost all sensation to his lower trunk and legs. He wanted to both laugh and wail as his head slipped between two feet he recognized as his own.
The fiery acid sensation continued to spread into Ron’s belly and chest, flowing slowly toward his neck. “She’s eating me!” Ron’s silent cry burned in his fevered brain. “She’s swallowing me like some monstrous snake.”
Sandra’s stomach moved in pulsing waves as it shifted the living prey into her enlarging pelvic cavity. Her abdomen bulged to the point of bursting. Ron’s face was a purple mask as the pre-digestive fluid entered his head and brain. What uncontaminated blood was left there pooled in his occipital lobe, causing a temporary elevated sense of sight. The last thing he focused on was a large water mark on the ceiling above him.
“Jesse better fix that,” Ron mused insanely to himself, “or the rain’s gonna’ pour in one day.”
Sandra’s eyes rolled back, exposing the whites. With one final tug, Ron’s head and feet were pulled inside her. She had digested about one half of his body.
By the time she left the motel, the organic material in Sandra’s womb was reduced to the size of a softball. One would only see a slight bulge in her abdomen if they noticed at all. Digestion took longer on this planet, most likely caused by the food’s composition as well as the different gravitational pull on Sandra’s fluids.
She had folded Ron’s clothes and placed them in his car which she left parked outside the room. She could not drive and would not take the chance of calling a cab as she might be identified as the girl leaving the motel. Ron’s disappearance would instigate an investigation, but it took the authorities here awhile to get the ball rolling. She would be long gone by then.
Sandra stayed off the highway. She made good time through the fields and was soon back at her apartment in Paducah. It was early morning now. The sun had not yet risen. She gathered a few clothes and walked away in the opposite direction of her apartment building. She would hitch hike until she felt far enough away and safe enough to catch a bus to another city. Farther north, she thought. Maybe the east coast this time.
The first car to stop for her was on its way to Louisville which is a good number of miles from Paducah. The driver was a woman who looked to be middle-aged. She was a pharmacy representative who covered a number of counties in Kentucky. She was on her way to Louisville to attend an area meeting of the surrounding hospitals. She was quiet and kind, offering Sandra some coffee from a thermos and half a Bear Claw pastry which Sandra declined.
As the car moved smoothly through the early morning, a light snow started falling. Sandra leaned her head against the passenger window. It would not be long, she assured herself, until the detention period on her planet was lifted and she could return to her home so far away.
Sandra sighed, drifted into a comfortable doze, and then dreamed of home.
© Copyright 2012 Timothy C. Hobbs
MUSIC BOX SONATA BY TIMOTHY C. HOBBS
At the top of a steep cliff a derelict church serves its congregation of dust, cobwebs and birds roosting in the rafters. One human occupant lives there hidden in the cellar. He is cursed never walk in the tortuous sunlight, but to roam the woods on the cliff at night in the form of a hideous beast struggling with the violent desire to kill while striving to preserve remnants of his own humanity.