The Wolf walked down the center aisle of the mall. His head was tipped slightly up so his bottom just jutted out. He felt it gave him a slight lupine appearance and he couldn’t help but admire himself in the reflection of the shop windows. He was lean and strong, his dark hair cut short and somewhat shaggy. He was wearing his hunting clothes – a black Ed Hardy pull over hoodie with a stylized howling wolf. The board bag on his back always looked to him like a riled mane.
“I am a predator,” he thought to himself, “I am the hunting wolf.”
A group of young girls walked past him chattering as they did so. One of the girls said something he couldn’t quite hear and the rest burst out laughing. The Wolf’s face flushed red with humiliation. He turned and watched them as the moved around to surround a hair extension kiosk. There were too many of them. The Wolf reminded himself of how wolves hunt. He couldn’t separate one of them off without the others noticing.
“Besides, they don’t smell like prey.”
They all laughed again as one of the girls (the Alpha?) put a clip in hair and acted like someone they all apparently knew. The Wolf was satisfied that they weren’t laughing at him anyway.
A hunger gnawed in his belly, momentarily distracting him. He almost didn’t notice when the Prey passed. He caught her scent and glanced at her. It was sweet like cotton candy and fit her.
Her long blond hair was tied back in a pony tail that swished as she walked away from him. She was smaller than the Wolf though the pink sleeveless down vest buffed her out a bit. She looked to be in her mid 20s and she was alone. The Wolf turned casually and began to stalk her from a distance. She went into a trendy clothing store and the Wolf bought himself a pretzel and a small drink from the shop across the way. He sat on the wooden bench facing the store and began to eat slowly, confident in his camouflage. He tore small bits of the pretzel and made it last nearly the full half hour that the Prey was in the store.
When she finally emerged she had two large bags with her, one in each hand as she began to walk back the way they had come. The Wolf smiled. This was good. He had worried that she would spend the remaining hour that the mall was open wandering around. That would mean she left as the rest of the sheep did. She glanced at her watch and increased her pace. Even better. She was obviously distracted which would make the hunt easier.
He followed about 20 feet behind her. He would occasionally catch her scent again and every time it happened he would breathe deeply. He exited the mall proper into the parking garage and glanced down the lane toward the Prey. She was still walking down the row. He smiled and pulled the board bag off his back and pulled out the skateboard. He didn’t ride it very well, but it was useful. He started down the garage making sure to stay in the middle of the car lane and well away from her side. He had both of his hands in the tube front pocket of his hoodie. His right hand found the hard plastic grip of the taser.
The Prey turned at the sound of the skateboard getting closer. The Wolf nodded his head slightly at her and smiled as he leaned away from her causing the skateboard to move to the opposite side of the lane from her. She smiled back and stepped a bit closer to the row of cars to allow him even more room to pass before turning her back to him and continuing toward her car. The Wolf glanced over his shoulder at the entrance to the mall. Still clear. It was time to pounce.
He swerved toward her and pushed forward once with his leg. She started to turn again but the taser was already out. He fired it at the Prey and the two needles bit easily though the down vest and into her skin. Her entire body locked up and she fell to the ground. The Wolf stepped off the skateboard and flipped it onto its back. He took his left hand out his pocket holding the ether soaked rag. He kept the current running as he put it over her mouth. When he finally released the trigger lever she was unconscious.
He dragged her between the cars and felt in her pockets for the keys to her car. He found them and picked up his skateboard and put it in one of the bags she had been carrying before taking both of them in his hand. He glanced toward the entrance again and saw no one. A car started up on one of the other floors though so he had to hurry. He pressed the button on the keys to unlock the car. He heard the beep and saw the lights flash on a red Volkswagon five cars away. He left her there but took the bags with him as he ran to her car. He opened the door and through the bags onto the floor of the front seat.
He froze for a moment and breathed deeply, relishing the sugar sweet odor of her scent as he slid into the driver’s seat. It was a tight fit but he would just adjust the seat later. He started up the engine and slid it into reverse. He backed up next to where the Prey lay unconscious and reached across the passenger seat and unlocked the door and pushed it open. He jumped out of the car and ran around to where she lay.
The door to the mall was opening and he could see someone struggling to get a cart through the door. He tossed the Prey into the back seat and covered her quickly with the bags. He checked the mirror and saw a middle aged man pushing the cart up the aisle, away from him. The Wolf let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, adjusted the mirror, and pulled the hoodie back over his head, making sure to conceal his face as much as possible. He smiled as he took another deep intoxicating breath of the Prey’s scent and drove out of the parking garage, turning toward his lair.