Fireflies (Story 2: College Campers)

For story 1 (the intro), click here! Note: This story has profanity. If you have issues with that, do not read it.

Fire, Bonfire, Night, Evening, Burning, Warmth, Heat

“FUCK yeah, we aced them!” shouted a man in his early 20s. He was wearing ripped jeans and a black band shirt. The fire reflected off of his onyx skin, and as he ran his nails through his dread-mohawk (with the tips dyed blue), his grin only widened. “2020 might be hell, but at least we passed. And with flying colors, too. Those online courses are rough, let me tell you.” Asher took a sip of his drink, already tipsy from celebration.

His deep brown eyes fixed upon a woman with long blonde hair, fair skin with freckling, and greyish-green eyes staring out from behind square frames. Her garb was of a similar nature, though her shirt had some video game characters upon them. At the moment, her gaze was latched onto a thick book, one that most definitely had nothing to do with her major.

This was a time to relax.

Asher cleared his throat rather loudly, and groaned, “Aw come on Eves, I know you rarely drink, but we all had our noses in books for weeks! Let’s tell some horror stories since we’re by the fire, why not read later?”

Evelyn blinked a few times and looked to Asher, providing an embarrassed smile. “Oops! Sorry, sometimes I get a little engrossed. What?! I wasn’t able to free read during hell week, come on now!”

“He has a point,” muttered Alex, popping a marshmallow onto a sharp stick and sticking it into the fire. Their eyes were a light blue, and their skin a slight tan. Their jeans were black but not ripped (not a style they enjoyed like the others), and their shirt design included a character from the same game as Eve’s shirt. A rival, though, of course. After all, video games could be like sports. Alex’s hair was wavy, falling off to one side of their head, some strands in their face. While Eve’s nails were painted a midnight black, Alex preferred a dark blue.

Once the marshmallow was done, Alex munched on it while taking a sip of their own drink. Then, they continued, “We’re in the middle of the woods, after all. Pretty eerie. Might have a monster jump out at us at any moment!” They, no doubt, believed what they were saying, too. Eve looked skeptical, but convinced, but Asher rolled his eyes.

The fourth and final member of the college campers spoke up in a feminine voice. “Monsters don’t exist, dumbass,” Rima chuckled, taking a swig from her own drink. Reflecting the style of the others, with some variation, she wore a tight black tank top with jeans held up by a spiked belt. Her dark jeans were ripped, but just slightly. Like Eve, her nails were painted black. She had dark lipstick on and well-designed eyeliner. She had skin the tone of bronze, and eyes colored similar to the bark on the trees surrounding them. Her long black hair was tied back for now, though she didn’t always wear it that way.

Eve wasn’t so sure, and she rubbed the back of her neck. “It’s 2020 though, Rima, so I feel like some shit might go down. Alex’s obsession with monsters might come to fruition, a-and–“

“Aren’t you an aspiring physicist? I thought you didn’t believe in unrealistic stuff like that,” Rima interrupted with a smirk.

“Hey! Even aspiring scientists can have crazy ideas. That’s how we get science, after all,” Eve replied.

Piping up, Asher said, “HEY! As a Biologist, there’s a shit ton of monsters in nature. Ever hear of the hemotoxins in Boomslang snakes?” He shuddered, shaking his head. “Scary stuff.”

Alex grinned, commenting, “We might all be science majors, but we can’t just dismiss the paranormal. Like Eve said. There’s a lot unknown to us.”

Rima opened her mouth to reply when her eyes fixed upon… something. She let out a breath, muttering, “Ash? Don’t move.” Alex, who was sitting on the same side of Rima, held the same expression, their mouth agape and their brow furrowed. Slowly, they swallowed, fear flowing like a river through their veins.

Asher glared at his friends, crossing his arms. “What? Are you assholes trying to trick me and Eve or something?” Eve, next to Asher and across from the other two as well, put her book down and bit her lip.

“This isn’t funny, guys,” she whimpered. “Don’t make me get my knife and pepper spray from my purse. You know there’s rumors of crazies in these woods.”

The two college students were right to be utterly terrified. Creeping up from behind their friends in a predatory manner, her muscles rippling, was Skadi, a hungered grin playing on her lips. On full display to the humans were her fangs. There was no time wasted–her tail wrapped around Eve’s torso and pulled her back, forcing her glasses to fly off and land upon the ground.

A shriek rang out from the student, but everything happened so quickly.

Fangs met flesh as Skadi dug into Eve’s neck, gorging upon her blood while ignoring the shouts of the other humans. Besides, they had their own issues to deal with–Komx had arrived, and his target was Asher. To the ground was the biologist tackled, and he yelled out in fear the entire time as chunks of flesh were torn and chomped on by the lizard-like invader.

Alex and Rima blindly rushed forward to aid their friends, but they were suddenly backhanded away and stunned. Fenrir arrived on scene, and his tail wrapped around Alex to hold them in place while he focused on the woman who was currently in fight mode. Her pathetic nails flashed out as she tried to catch him on the cheek, but to no avail. Not even a scratch appeared on his skin. Though he looked to have skin like theirs, it was far thicker, in reality.

His hand wrapped around her throat as he raised her into the air, humming, “Well, our first stock appear to be fresh adult humans. Intelligent…close to an institution. Possibly attendees of it. Excellent.” He looked over his shoulder to the others, smiling brightly. Tears were streaming down the cheeks of Asher and Eve, both who were no doubt staring death in the face.

Skadi had finished feeding upon the college student, licking her lips and giving a purr. From her bag, she pulled out a potion, carefully rubbing some salve upon the wounded flesh of the aspiring physicist. Miraculously, the wounds knitted together, though Evelyn’s muscles relaxed, indicating further exhaustion as a side effect. Komx repeated this process for Asher, ensuring he didn’t lose too much blood either.

Seeing the fate of her friends, Rima kicked out at Fenrir, her heart clenching. “T-take me! Let them go! You… space.. elf… monster…things!” she gasped. Putting words together wasn’t her strong suit right now. Fenrir’s eyes locked upon her, and he chuckled, showing no mercy as he too lunged for her neck and fed.

Moments later, spells were cast to knock the unfortunate college students out. Phase one of abduction? Complete.

A few hours later, the humans huddled together in their cell. Surprisingly, it was quite comfortable–there were small separate rooms with two bathrooms. In fact, it was like an apartment. Just, well, with bars rather than any form of exit. Strange silks were provided as blankets, and plumbing here provided a proper toilet, shower, and sink. Their supplies had been rummaged through and given back. The invaders knew they had no means to escape or challenge.

At the moment, Rima was sitting in a ‘lounge’-like area of their cell, her head buried into her hands as she leaned against a cushy black chair. Eve’s hand rested gently on her shoulder as her friend cried. Asher sat there across from them, running his nail over the bites that littered his flesh. “…This makes no sense,” he finally muttered. “No medicine has ever been able to turn puncture wounds that deep into scars. Not in a matter of minutes.”

Alex dragged themselves out of their room of this weird cell, rubbing at their head and groaning. “Not the best time for a hangover. So… anyone have vampire space elves on their 2020 bingo card?”

Eve shot them a glare, muttering, “This isn’t the time, Alex, there’s a number of things these… aliens, I guess? Can do to us.”

“GREETINGS, HUMANS!” came a masculine voice, at the best of times, no doubt. Fenrir stared into the cell, his fangs flashing in delight, as if he were looking upon some random beasts of the forest he’d collected to care for as new pets. “You will be our first study. How utterly exciting.

Rima finally peeked out from between her fingers and examined Fenrir. After a while, she muttered, “How are you speaking our language? A-and you torture for fun? Can’t you just eat us and get it over with?”

A booming laugh emitted from the center of Fenrir’s chest. “We will be feeding from you, yes. Torture? No. Experiment? Hm.. yes. Not much different from your own species, from what we’ve seen. Yours have a rather dark history, don’t you?”

Asher spoke up, growling, “You won’t get away with this.” He paused, rubbing his arm. “Actually, you might, because while our species is social, you appear to be carnivorous… but you hunted in a group, so you might be social too…but you might have empathy… but not for other species, and–“

“ASHER, not the time, bud,” Rima whispered harshly, glancing over to Fenrir. Strangely, he was staring the humans down with wonder, like someone would observe other animals in nature. “…What sort of experiments?” she finally mustered up the courage to ask.

“I’m glad you asked. These emotions of fear are so enjoyable to scent. But! I also seek to see happy emotions. I will have to figure out how–” Fenrir began, but was interrupted as a reptilian humanoid walked up from behind him and placed their hands on their hips.

Komx looked from the humans to Fenrir. “We’re supposed to be finding weaknesses in this species and claiming the planet for the Fae, NOT chit-chat about being happy with them, Fenrir.” Though… Komx glanced to the humans as well, with a glint to their gaze that wasn’t hunger, but curiosity.

Fenrir sighed, rolling his eyes. Probably. Such an action was a bit harder to see, considering his were a pitch black. Lashing his tail, he growled, “We can live a little before going full force invasion. There is so much we can learn of them, Komx.” He pointed a claw to Rima. “I don’t like that, for example. She’s crying.”

“PROBABLY because she thinks you’re going to torture them to death, Fenrir,” Komx replied with a snort. “You remember what we read about them? Betcha they think we’ll dissect without anesthetic. Or something.”

Rima gasped and buried her face into her hands again, now shaking. Eve gulped, barely holding it together herself. Alex, for their part, was keeping a handle on their emotions, running their tongue over their lips nervously and letting out a huff. Still, they remained silent as the invaders spoke. This was all too surreal.

Asher broke the silence, muttering, “So… you’re from a different planet, right? Honestly. Please. Just… don’t hurt them. They’re my closest friends and don’t deserve that shit. If you need some sort of test subject, just take me.”

Komx grinned eerily at the college student. “Oh, we’ll be experimenting on all of you. Just you wait.”

This didn’t bode well.

Published by Des M. Astor

Heya, I'm an author. Typically I write Urban Fantasy, and I only usually read in that genre as well. My author's website is both a writing blog and a showcase for my work. Check it out if you'd like.

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