When I was younger, I toyed with my kills in a similar way. I’d chase them down, wound them, allow them to escape my grasp several times. Eventually, they would fall to their knees and beg for salvation. Of course, I couldn’t grant it. They didn’t deserve salvation.
Percival Sigmund was the last victim I hunted like this, back in 1694, a dark time in my existence—I’ve changed since then, truly I have. He was a sixteen-year-old boy who had a wicked crush on Ann Tibbins, but she didn’t return his affections. Her rejection ate away at the temperamental Percival Sigmund like an unrelenting maggot until it uncovered his true, murderous nature. Unable to forgive Ann for her disinterest, Percival told the town judge that he’d spied Ann, her sister, and her mother in the forest chanting spells, naked, and sacrificing animals—Percival had killed several woodland creatures and had left their remains as evidence along with a handkerchief he’d stolen from Ann. A trial was held and, after their tortured confessions, fifteen-year-old Ann, eleven-year-old Lucy, and their mother Martha were found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to death.
Percival Sigmund watched a desperate mother and her two daughters beg for mercy as the nooses were secured around their delicate necks. He smirked when Ann’s neck didn’t break and her frail body convulsed, the rope slowly strangling her to death. Remorse never touched his heart, only the thought, she brought it on herself, the witch that she is.
Two days later, I was fortunate enough to find Percival—alone—setting up rabbit traps in the woods. I hunted him, horrified him. He begged like Ann and her mother and her wee sister. So I granted him the same mercy he granted them.
Grinning, I ate him a piece at a time, keeping him alive until the last possible moment—I sliced off his tongue to muffle his cries for help. I must say, he wasn’t a very satisfying meal—he tasted a bit gamey. After I finished with him, leaving nothing but his hat, I turned around to leap away into the forest. But there behind me, still like a skin-covered statue, stood eight-year-old Thomas Herrick. He’d watched me eat my dinner. I smiled at Thomas, placed my finger against my crimson-stained lips and said, “Shhhh.” Then I skipped away.
Young Thomas Herrick wasn’t the same after that. He spoke of demons in the forest devouring Percival Sigmund, and he began mumbling to himself and constructing strange weapons—weapons to use on me.
Not understanding Thomas’ odd behavior, the town’s people believed he was also a witch and responsible for Percival’s disappearance. They drowned little Thomas, tied rocks to his feet and threw him in the lake to sleep for eternity in a watery grave.
So I don’t toy with my prey anymore. I try to kill quickly and efficiently. Because no one wants another Thomas Herrick now do they?
And there you have it.