What Lurks
Beyond Our Sight

© 2004, 2010 Rogue (rogue.megawolf@gmail.com)

I did not notice as I hurried up the walk, my shoulders hunched against the raw wind, that the entire house was dark. If I had, I would have known what was coming. After all that I've seen you would think that I would not be caught off guard so easily. All that I could think about that evening, though, was the bitter cold, or rather, getting my ass out of it. I was so happy once I was finally inside that I did not bother with the lights at first. I shrugged off my parka and my hat and shook the snow from them, then tossed them into the closet beside me. It was as I was crouching down to untie my ice-crusted shoelaces that I heard something that made my blood chill as cold as the wind outside: a growl, soft guttural, and far from human. It came from somewhere in the darkness ahead of me. Even before I reached for the light switch I knew that it would not work. I have seen enough cheap horror movies to know that trick. Purely on instinct I turned and grabbed for the doorknob behind me.

The sound came again, lower, angrier. Naughty, it seemed to say. No trying to get away. I knew better than to try. Somewhere in that darkened room I knew what was waiting for me. I knew that even in the suffocating darkness it could see me as plainly as in daylight. I knew that it could hear my heart thudding against my ribs as well as I could hear it in my own ears. If I were to let the doorknob so much as click it would be upon me before I could even scream. No, there would be no escape. I could sit there and wait, like a cornered mouse, for the mammoth bulk to come hurtling at me from nowhere, but I knew that would not happen. It did not want to pounce on me as I cowered in the foyer. No sport there. It wanted me to try to fight.

As my eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness I became aware of the feeblest illumination leaking from under the door to the bedroom, which lay directly ahead of me at the other end of the apartment. That, it seemed, was the goal. How pathetic, to be lured by the promise of a few rays of light, as if they would somehow make the match more even. Still, it was my only hope, a frail straw toward which I could only grope blindly, but I was not fool enough to try to make a mad dash toward it. The bedroom door was at the end of a long hallway, and to reach it I would have to cross the full breadth of the dining and living rooms, where in any of those areas it could be lurking. Suddenly, as if to taunt me with the very danger I was contemplating, a shadow flitted across that faint glow.

Quickly I dropped to a crouch, arms outstretched defensively, waiting for an impact. My ears strained for the slightest sound, a telltale breath, the flick of a tail. There, in the kitchen to my left -- the whisper of a padded paw on the floorboard. Careless, if it meant to slip behind me as I passed, or clever, if the sound was a deliberate distraction. There was no telling which. I guessed the former.

Moving into a crouch I shuffled forward, turning my head first right, then left, holding my breath and listening hard. Groping forward, I found the edge of the doorway with my fingers, then leaped abruptly past it and whirled around, arms thrust forward, ready to grapple anything that lunged from behind me. A second passed, then two, then ten. I sensed that it was still in the kitchen. If it was, I might have a chance of making a run for the hallway.

No. No good. It would be ready for that. And it was fast enough to take me down before I made it halfway across the living room.

Something brushed against my arm. Something furry.

With a panicked cry I spun around and lashed out with my foot. It swept through empty air before me, carrying me into another half-turn before I caught my balance and threw myself back, panting, against the wall. A growl rumbled from somewhere ahead of me and I leaped toward it in a desperate counterattack, but again I felt only the empty darkness against my fingers. The growl came again, behind me now, mocking me, and I whirled to face it. I could not tell which way I was facing but struggled to keep my body language from telegraphing that fact. The sound had been oddly hollow, which meant that it had come from within the hallway. It was waiting for me there, anticipating that I would make a rush for the hallway and blunder right into its clutches. Little did it realize, though, that I had it right where I wanted it.

With the hallway straight ahead, I knew that I was in the open area of the living room. That put the sofa to my left and behind. To confuse my assailant, whose keen and haughty gaze I could all but feel upon me in the darkness, I kept my head turning blindly from side to side as if trying to get my bearings, while all the time shuffling sideways until I felt my leg brush against the sofa. In our neck of the woods the power often failed in bad weather, and I had learned to keep a flashlight handy in every room of the house. The one in the living room was tastefully out of sight but still handy, hidden beneath the sofa. If I could get my hands on it I would at least be able to see the hulking beast that was waiting for me in the dark.

I was being watched closely, though. It was fast. It could cover the distance between us with a single leap if I made even a remotely suspicious move. It knew that as well as I did. I could imagine it grinning as it crouched there in the void, arrogantly watching my blind and helpless fumbling.

That arrogance, though, could work in my favor. It would suspect nothing if its prey were to stumble against a sofa in the darkness, and in fact would cruelly enjoy the spectacle. I made it a good one. Slowly I took a step forward into the room, then made a great show of breaking and running. I let my foot kick hard at the side of the sofa and went down. A sound smack with my fists on the floor helped complete the illusion, but then in a lightning-fast motion I thrust my arm beneath the sofa. My groping fingers found the cold metal shaft of the flashlight. Triumphant, I seized it in my fist, swung it before me like a samurai sword and thumbed the switch at the same time. "Eat photons!" I cried.

Nothing happened. The flashlight felt strangely light and flimsy in my hand. The batteries...

Without warning a massive bulk slammed into me and hurled me back onto the sofa. I bounced off of it and landed in a sprawl on the floor. Howling in terror, I scrambled and clawed at the carpet as I tried to climb to my feet. I almost made it, but I was caught from behind and driven forward, landing hard on my belly on the carpet. Immediately I felt the warmth of a heavy foot bearing down on the back of my neck. I struggled wildly, primitive survival instincts taking over, but the more I flailed the heavier it pressed. Desperately I pressed against the floor with all the strength of my arms but the tremendous weight did not budge, not even a little.

"Mjomba," a gruff voice demanded.

I grunted and clenched my jaw, then kicked my legs hard and tried to twist away. It was no use. "Mjomba!" it roared, pressing down harder on my neck.

There was no choice. "Mjomba..." I rasped. Uncle.

The weight lifted abruptly from my neck. There was silence, then a huge hand landed upon my back and I felt a violent tug. I remember seeing a movie once where a hunter skinned a rabbit by holding it by the legs and pulling its skin off all at once, flipping it inside out. I knew at that moment just how the rabbit felt as my pants were yanked clean off of me. Before I could muster the strength to fight I felt my legs being kicked outward. I tried to clamp them together but two firmly planted knees held them apart. My breath rushed out as a warm and furry bulk crashed down on my back. Pinned, I could only claw feebly at the carpet ahead of me and grit my teeth against the abrupt and nearly unbearable pressure behind.

He entered me with a single powerful thrust and mated me hard, his muzzle resting against my ear and snarling in triumph. I could not fight it; his immense weight pinned me, held me at his mercy. When I tried to turn my head he seized my neck in his teeth, biting down hard and holding me motionless. I could only groan and submit, relaxing my body and letting him take me. His hips pounded firmly against me, over and over in a relentless cadence, driving himself deep into me and growling savagely through his grip on my neck, until at last I felt him throb and groan and the warm gush of his pleasure filled me.

He settled atop me then and did not move. The only sound in the darkness was a satisfied purr. I panted and had to gulp several times before I was able to speak. My own voice sounded dry and feeble. "Couldn't you just greet me at the door with a hug and a 'how was your day?'" I whimpered.

"Where is the fun in that?" Nekobe purred. He rubbed his cheek against mine.

"It's traditional in this country, you know."

"It's not my country, remember?" His tongue began to bathe my neck where his teeth had gripped it. "

I groaned as his heavy malehood shifted within me. "You've been reading Calvin and Hobbes again, haven't you?"

He chuckled. "Perhaps." Slowly he withdrew from me. Two strong hands slid under my arms and lifted me to my knees, and his warm and furry arms surrounded me in a loving hug. "But I suppose I should respect the local traditions anyway. How was your day?"

I smiled. "It was fine, Love. Did you enjoy your day off?"

"Mostly. I missed my kulungu though."

His pet name for me. It sounded so beautiful when he spoke it in his rich, rumbling African accent. "Goofy lion," I said softly and turned my head to kiss his muzzle. "Are you ever going to tell me what that means?"


"Aw, come on. Please?"

Nekobe chuckled sonorously and pressed his forehead to mine. His deep yellow eyes peered into my own, their pupils widening so that I felt I might fall into them. I felt his claws pricking into my back, and with a lick of his lips he whispered the answer. "Antelope."

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