From the author: A serial killer hunts a pregnant woman in this tale with a twist.
Marco Calabrini stood in the shadow of a skeletal tree, squinted down the path between the tombstones, and cursed the full moon. It shone over his cemetery, silvering the marble and revealing every hiding place he haunted. It was hard to hunt on nights like this.
Footsteps announced the approach of his latest victim, one Louisa Luchini. She was twenty-five, with lustrous black hair and brilliant blue eyes. Other men found her beautiful but Marco did not. He was a new breed, far removed from the species he had once been. Louisa was human and human beings were sustenance, nothing more.
Louisa stepped into the moonlight at that moment and the most attractive thing about her came into view. Her large, round belly strained against her coat as she walked by.
Hunger wrenched Marco’s insides. To feast on a pregnant woman! Such things happened only in dreams.
Marco stepped out from behind the tree and slipped over to a nearby statue of the Christ. Jesus stared after the woman, a benevolent smile on his face, and Marco snickered. The Good Shepherd couldn’t protect this member of his flock tonight.
Louisa passed by several towering crosses and Marco followed. She led him toward a small, marble building near the outermost edge of the cemetery. Marco knew it well. Louisa visited it every night.
A wooden door led to the inner chamber of the crypt and Louisa passed through it. Marco’s blood surged in his ears as he pulled the knife from his coat pocket and crept after her.
A single torch sat ensconced in one stone wall. It illuminated the chamber with soft, flickering light and revealed the dais at the center of the room. A lonely casket lay upon the dais. Louisa knelt beside it.
The subtle perfume of Amaryllis filled the room as Marco fingered his blade. What ambiance! It was better than he’d dreamed it would be. He shut his eyes and his tongue darted over his lips. The image of warm and succulent flesh filled his mind. He could wait no longer.
Marco opened his eyes. The room lay empty before him.
He glanced about. Where had Louisa gone? He hadn’t closed his eyes long. No footsteps had sounded in those brief seconds.
The door suddenly slammed behind him and the tumblers of a lock clicked. He turned and found Louisa leaning against the door.
Her feverish blue eyes gazed upon him.
“At last,” she whispered. “I thought you would never come.”
Trembling, she took a step toward him.
He raised the knife, and she slapped it out of his hand. The blade clattered against the wall as she lunged forward and took him by the throat. She lifted him off the stone floor as though he were feather-light and tossed him toward the dais.
Something cracked when he hit the stone floor. He moaned.
“He is here, my love,” Louisa cried.
Marco’s arms and legs refused to obey him. He tried to rise but his body remained limp. Something moved in the casket above.
A skeletal hand clutched the side of the casket. An emaciated man rose to sitting position, his bare chest, heavily bandaged. He stared down at Marco and grinned. Two sharp canines gleamed in the torchlight.
Louisa moved into Marco’s field of vision. She smiled at the living cadaver in the casket and then down at her belly.
“Papa will be alright now,” she crooned.
The cadaver climbed out of his casket and knelt beside Marco. He licked the tip of one canine and croaked a single word.
This story originally appeared in The Sirens Call e-Zine.