First draft, as usual; feel free to comment and/or critique, though.
Be warned, though, one of the central characters is a man-eating beast, and that aspect of him is rather central to the storyline. If that sort of thing turns you off, don't bother reading it.
It was a typical Seattle summer wind storm. The winds were howling through Magnolia, though it wasn't yet raining. The sky over downtown was bright, clouds hanging low over the city, but Magnolia was black. The power was out, and I sat in my darkened living room, listening to the house creaking in the wind, but otherwise silent.
It was warm, by Seattle standards, and I put on only a light jacket before stepping out into the black night. My house was just a block from Magnolia Drive, and the police were on constant patrol here in the blackness. You had to go at least two miles to find a house worth less than two million, yet the police patrolled here like every gang in the city were based here. The lights of a police car fell on me as I crossed the street, but the officer recognized me, and just waved me on.
We couldn't afford the house on a police officer's salary, but the inheritance from my grandmother paid for that. The trial for the punk who killed my husband ended the week before, but that really didn't leave me any closure. I kept the house on his pension, but with our son moved out, I was alone, and it was too quiet. My son was in his old room tonight, sleeping, after visiting to watch the trial, but I felt no need to wake him. The officer watched me, making sure I wasn't going to do anything stupid, but drove on when I took a seat on the park bench, looking over Puget Sound.
There was a small stairway down to Perkins Lane. It was precarious on a good day, and this was anything but a good day. I heard a sound from the stairs, and stepped down the first few, around the bend, to look. That I was in danger never occurred to me. Once I rounded the bend, I was hidden from sight, and with the howling wind, should I scream, none would hear me. At the time, I didn't even consider this, but instead stood transfixed by the two glowing eyes, visible on the small landing halfway down the crumbling stairs.
Something drew me to those eyes, and I slowly descended the stairs, moving cautiously but continuously toward those eyes. Up close, the eyes were green and slitted. When the beast blinked, a membrane moved in from the sides of the eyes, and the glow never left, keeping me transfixed and motionless.
As I stared into the creature's eyes, unable to brake it's gaze, I began to make it's form out in my peripheral vision. It's head was serpentine, but larger than any snake in nature. It was covered in black scales, only just visible in the light scattered from downtown and had the upper body of a man. Just to my left, I heard what sounded like an unnaturally loud rattle-snake's rattle, and felt the creature coil it's serpent body around my own as a clawed hand held my arm.
"Good evening," I heard the serpent speak in a soft voice, almost unnatural for such a beast. "What brings you here on this night?"
I felt no fear at the time. I don't know how much of that was due to the hypnosis from his eyes, or just not caring, after the loss of my husband. "I've always been attracted to the wind, especially at night," I heard myself answer.
"It is an amazing force, the weather," the serpent answered, holding me tightly in his coils. I felt myself lowered to the ground, the snake never breaking eye contact with me as we reclined. I vaguely recall him stripping off my clothing and coiling around me tightly, but I couldn't say how long we lay there, hidden, on the small landing.
"I am a cold-blooded animal," he finally spoke, "and need warmth. I am sorry if I am a bit forward, but, coiled around you, you give me warmth. It is necessary."
Somehow, that seemed reasonable at the time. "My pleasure." I felt the snake tighten his grip on me, cool scales holding me motionless.
"Alas," the snake continued, "that simply isn't enough. I must feed, and you, my dear lady, are my prey." The snake moved his face close to mine. His scales smelled of musk, and his long tongue ran over my face. "It's been nearly a week since I killed someone, and I certainly look forward to this."
My head was still foggy from his hypnosis, but the words eventually did reach my mind. I was too weak to fight, but spoke quietly in reply. "I don't want to die."
"Of course not. Alas, I want to eat you, which will kill you, eventually. And I seem to be the one in control of the situation at the moment."
I remember, very distinctly, seeing the serpent open his mouth. I remember the sickening crack as he unhinged his jaw. At the last minute, he broke eye contact. As the hypnosis subsided, I felt my head press against the back of his throat. By the time I was myself again, I felt his mouth around my chest, and my head was deep in his throat. I started to fight, but something in my just accepted my fate, and I let him swallow me. By the time I was halfway into the snake's body, I heard a voice from within my own mind. "Why don't you fight?" The serpent sounded almost disappointed.
"I give up," I tried to say. Even though I barely had air to breath, he heard me, either through thoughts or sound. "I've just had enough."
"That's unfortunate. It's so much more fun when my meals fight back."
I didn't bother to answer that, but allowed myself to draw deeper and deeper into the creature. I probably was suicidal that night, looking back. I may well have jumped from one of the ledges, if it weren't for the fact that none were actually high enough to do more than break a few bones. Perhaps I didn't know if the snake was real, but if he was, I was ready to join my husband in death.
When I hit the beast's stomach, everything changed. Falling into the business end of a snake's digestive system is entirely unpleasant. The beast breathed slightly into his stomach, so I wasn't lucky enough to suffocate. "I do that on purpose," the beast spoke into my mind, "especially for those of you foolish enough not to fight on the way down."
"Get out of my mind, you bastard!" I mentally yelled back.
"Ah, there's the spirit. I knew you had it in you." I could actually feel the serpent in my mind now. The acids within his stomach were beginning to cause my skin to rash up, and I could feel the beginnings of pain throughout my body. "I like this part the best," the beast spoke cruelly. "This could take a while." I felt the body around me coil, twisting me uncomfortably, but presumably more comfortable for him. I could feel blisters beginning to form all over my body, and dreaded what was to come.
The beast continued to push at my mind. He was feeling my pain, literally, relishing it, feeding on it. I can't explain how I did it, or how I knew what to do, but I pushed back. I fought the beast, my mind against his. He was far more powerful than I, though, and I felt no more likely to win this battle than the one my body was engaged in, for physical survival.
I felt about to pass out, when an image fluttered through my mind: My son. The beast laughed into my mind as I fought to keep the image to myself. "It's too late," I heard in the thoughts of the serpent, "He's mine now."
"Leave my son out of this, you damned monster!"
"Yes. I knew I could get you upset, if I tried hard enough. Always the mother."
In a heartbeat, I felt the serpent moving. He opened his mind up to me, and I was seeing through his eyes, feeling his body twist as we slithered up the stairs. I could even feel myself within his stomach, twitching unconsciously, being digested alive. Horrifically, I could feel his pleasure in my pain. When we reached the small park, his movements changed from slow, methodical slides across the ground to a lightning run. We flew across Magnolia Drive in a blur, and I fought for any control. I could feel his entire body now, as if it was my own, but was only an observer. He felt my struggles for control, meeting them only with laughter.
In a leap, we flew through the front door, quite literally. I felt the serpent hit the hardwood door head-first, and felt it splinter before the great beast, as if were little more than cardboard. I heard my son upstairs, awoken and shocked by the crash, and we were up the stairs before I could begin to react. The serpent slowed before the door to his bedroom, and I was terrified for the safety of my child. I think the serpent fed off my fear, for he seemed to grow stronger, and I weaker. He reached toward the handle to the door, and I fought to draw the arm away from it, to still the giant serpentine body which felt like my own, even to slow down digestion of my true body. Perhaps a few seconds of delay could save my child.
I tried to yell, and did manage control over the beast's mouth for an instant. All that came out was a hiss, though, and I realized, he had never truly spoken to me. From the moment I saw his eyes, he was in my mind, and I never had a chance against him. He let me hiss and sputter through his mouth, lacking in any vocal cords, and I heard laughter in my mind at the futility of what I was doing.
My son called into the hall curiously. I tried, for all my might, to press to him, tell him to run, but the serpent answered instead. "We have not yet locked eyes with him. There is no contact. To speak with him is to make him ours."
"I am not part of you, you demon!"
I felt my serpentine head nodding. "Now, you have it right. Demon, from the deepest depths of hell, that is I." He opened his mind up more to my own, for reasons, at the time, I could not understand. I felt something entirely unexpected deep in the recesses of that mind: a hint of compassion. Sitting in front of that compassion, however, was a hunger. There was nothing natural about the demon's hunger. It was driven, as he said, from the deepest depths of hell, and he had no choice but to kill. Nothing else would sate it, and without feeding it, he would be driven mad. The only way for him to maintain what little sanity he held on to was to feed, and to kill.
I was still alive within his body not because he had any cruel sense of sadism, but because his hunger demanded it. It was feeding on me, on my pain, even as I died. For a moment, as a distant thing, I could feel the pain in my body, feel what the stomach of the snake was doing to me, but I pushed the thought aside. I held the serpent's great arm back, whether from my own force or because he let me, I'll never know. I thought perhaps, I had won, when my son opened the door to his room and met eyes with the great beast.
I saw his eyes, and felt our own bore into him. He froze in place, transfixed by the giant snake. I grew hungry, the demon's hunger boring into my mind as well as the serpent's. "Run," I tried to yell, "Run, you foolish child, and don't ever turn back!" but all that came out was a hiss.
"He is ours now," the serpent spoke in my mind, "Enjoy it rather than fighting it."
"Never!" I mentally shouted in reply, while hearing confusion in the mind of my son. "Run!" I thought toward him, and he did start to back away, but the serpent's force of will was stronger. "Run, damn you!" Again, he hesitated, but only for an instant.
I could move the serpent a bit. I think he gave me that much out of no kindness, but so I would be part of my child's death. My calls to my son did nothing more than drive his fear, even as he stood transfixed by the snake's eyes. Finally, I knew what to do. I focused my mental power as much as I could, driving the thought home, "Run! Flee! Escape! Then, forget this ever happened! You don't need this memory." Just as he started to step away, I closed the serpent's eyes.
A roar of anger washed over me as I did, the beast furious and wordlessly hammering at my mind. I was pressed into some deep recess of the creature's being, my own body a distant memory. I held there just an instant, before readying myself and pushing back into the mind of the serpent.
In a snap, I was the serpent, and I was alone. I opened my eyes, and my son was nowhere to be seen, but as my tongue flicked in and out, I could taste his scent. The serpent's mind was gone, and I was in control, but that taste drove the hunger in me. I reached out toward my son, and, even with the visual contact lost, I could feel his mind. My maternal instincts battled a deep and powerful hunger, and in mere seconds, the hunger won.
Regardless of what the serpent told me when we met, I was no mere cold-blooded reptile in this body. In a flash, I was out the door, chasing my own offspring down, both by his mental image emblazoned in my mind and his scent. He reached Magnolia Drive just ahead of me, running blindly, and I knew he was mine. A police car on patrol just missed him as he blindly ran across the street, but I wasn't as lucky. The car hit me, and I was thrown to the pavement. The impact which would have killed my son just left me bruised and angry. The fury of a wild animal ran through me, and I leapt toward the car's windshield, head first. I went through, barely feeling the impact of the glass on my skull, and fell upon the officer. The car was still moving, I realized somewhere in the back of my mind, as I coiled around the man, holding him fast. I maintained enough presence of mind to toss his gun and baton aside, before quickly swallowing him, with no more concern than with the hamburger I'd had for lunch. In no more than half a minute after being struck by the car, I burst through the driver's door, the officer moving into my stomach, and bounded into the thin woods just west of the road.
I heard the impact in the distance, as the still-moving car hit something, and felt the officer still struggling within my body. My black body hid within the woods, and, having just eaten, the hunger was at bay, if just for a moment. I curled up, running a clawed hand over fifty feet of serpentine tail. As I reached the end of my tail, the rattle twitched unconsciously, the sound cold and chilling.
I rested for some time before moving into the underbrush, knowing the day would soon be upon me, and I had no intentions of being caught out in public as a giant snake. The officer died at some point while I rested, but somehow that fact seemed distant and unimportant. I don't know who the officer was; I never even bothered to look at him, My fury at being hit was too great, and he was in my jaws before I even considered whether or not I may have known him.
In the distance, I could feel the mind of my son, terrified, but unable to recall what had scared him so. He was in a police car, moving back toward the house. My mind reeled, some deep instinct telling me to hunt him down and feed, but there was enough mother left in me to hold myself back. I had no idea what the police would make of the damage to the house, and largely didn't care.
Every night, I ran. I knew I had to get far away from Seattle, where that instinct to feed would eventually draw me to him. He and I were linked, forever, and I knew if I allowed myself too close to him, I would kill my own son. The worse thing is, I can't blame some other mind for doing it: it's me who would be the killer. When I feed, I know what I am doing. I know someone is losing their life, but if I don't feed, I grow hungry, and that hunger gnaws at my essence endlessly, eventually leaving me a mindless killing machine. That wouldn't be all that bad, if I didn't remember everything I did in those spells when I finally fed enough to recover my senses.
I'm in the deserts of Nevada now, not far from Las Vegas. There are roads through the deserts, mostly deserted, but with a few cars traveling down them every night. There are rest stops along the interstate, where lone drivers take short breaks from their trips. People disappear from the desert all the time, especially since I've moved in.
I've been the snake for half a decade now. I regret every life I take, but I don't stop. I can't stop. The snake itself, I am certain, is immortal. I've been shot, hit by cars, knifed, and even poisoned, but none of these have even slowed me down. I will live forever, if I wish. I understand what the previous serpent did, now. He tested me, then gave himself up to me. He'd killed enough, and was ready to end his own life. I'm still learning, though. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't follow the path he took, yet. My power has yet to come anywhere near the power he held.
Yet every time I feed, I grow stronger, and one day, I know I will finally grow strong enough to end my own life.