The following nights were no different. My wounds had no time to heal, but started to bleed anew. Luckily, I felt the pain only when I was back in the shelter of St. Mary’s church and not during patrols. Otherwise, I would have sat in the corners of alleys crying and waiting for the dawn to come. So, I went hunting on New Year’s Eve, too, counting the minutes until my wounds would start bleeding again.
Traditionally, New Year’s Eve was the night of the men-killing demons. In the last years I hadn’t seen many other species on the hunt. I didn’t know why, but I assumed the streets were too busy for them and they feared to be discovered. As the ugly creatures of the night attracted more attention than beautiful women, the monsters preferred to hide. In return, the ladies experienced an economic boom, rejoicing at the night that made the streets overflow with people. Today, all were uninhibited, whether it was out of pure joy or too much alcohol. Men no longer paid attention to their surroundings. They were generous and careless. Tonight, it didn’t take more than a blink and a smile to make the lords of creation follow you wherever you wanted to, mostly dead awaited them at the end of the road.
It’s beyond me how you could come along with someone you don’t know. I have never been interested in one-night stands and I’ve also never been that drunk not to know what I was doing.
A shower of sparks lit up the night sky. Like snowflakes they fell down on me softly. A sharp smell was in the air, as if something was burning. People stood on their balconies, watching firecrackers explode. Groups of people stood in the middle of the roads, blocking traffic. Everybody shouted at each other, blabbering: “All the best!”
From my hiding place in a dark one-way street I watched them, disapprovingly. I have never liked New Year’s Eve. While some people said you cannot spend that special night on your own, I said you could. I didn’t like the drinking and I was afraid of the firecrackers. I only liked to watch them from behind a thick windowpane. So, December 31st was a real challenge for me, where I faced my fear of firecrackers. Oddly enough, that kind of shock treatment still hasn’t helped made it better after all these years, but this way I didn’t miss anything about New Year’s Eve at all.
When the group of merry men passed, I noticed one man staying behind, talking to a woman standing in a lantern’s yellow beam of light. Leaning against the lamppost, I hadn’t seen her before. The bawling guys must have hidden her, though she was pretty tall and not easy to overlook. She was a half giant and skinny like one of the Parisian fashion models. Despite winter’s cold she wore a short coat, which only reached to her knees. She wore court shoes – the ones I wouldn’t even wear in summer. All of her gestures and movements were self-confident and looked studied. She knew exactly how to turn her head or to throw her long reddish brown hair back over her shoulder to drive men wild. It was obvious she was a pro and what she was getting at. Willingly, the naïve guy confirmed her powers of seduction, taking her hand to find a nice quiet spot.
Seeing that, I shook my head. What was wrong with men? To have fun was okay, but so much stupidity just hurt. It got even worse, when I saw the long-legged woman turn around one last time to make sure his friends didn’t wait for him. My blood froze, when I saw her smile. It was a smug, confident of victory kind of smile, a hunter’s smile, who was ready to catch his prey.
A shiver ran down my spine. I knew what was happening. For the first time, I had watched the men-killing demon’s procedure from up close. Immediately, I started to run. Now, every second counted. If I would be too late, the naïve guy was lost.