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The Predator

By James Pope All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Horror

Short Story

Chris walked into the dark room, packed wall to wall with elaborately dressed teenagers. Blasted music pulsed through the air and colored strobe lights passed over the teeming mass, illuminating a few people at a time for just a moment. He smiled coolly, but was inwardly very nervous. It had been so long since he’d hung out with any of his friends, but he was a popular, attractive young man of seventeen. He could only suppress his social life for so long and he’d chosen this event, a Halloween costume party hosted by some new kid from overseas, to re-enter the world.

Chris smiled and winked at a cute-looking girl wearing bloodied, plastic fangs and a tiny red dress that showed a lot of smooth, olive skin as he passed her. She, like most girls, couldn’t help but giggle at his aloof and haughty demeanor, sold on his golden-brown hair and the sharp muscles that showed through his tight brown shirt. His costume was a black cape that hung from his shoulders, a small black mask that contoured around his eyes, a loose, thick belt that slanted against his waist and a plastic dagger stuck through it. He liked the thief look and knew the girls would, too. As always, he was looking for one to take home for the night.

He slowly shouldered his way deep into the party, dancing in what little space he was afforded, high-fiving friends he recognized and checking out the rest of the female crowd. Once he’d been there a few minutes, he began to relax and finally enjoy himself for the first time in too long. He made a few trips to the drink table, each time downing a plastic red cup of punch that he knew was spiked.

The next girl that caught his eye was a bit taller, with long blonde hair that hung down in curls from beneath a brown, triangular hat. She was clothed in an open brown coat that almost touched the floor, a close-fitting white corset with brown straps and knee-high black boots, leaving her creamy thighs and upper chest on display. Her pirate costume was completed by the plastic cutlass in her hand and the fake green and red parrot on her shoulder.

Chris approached her, making her laugh with a witty line about how he was going to ‘steal her booty.’ They talked for nearly a minute before the girl said she could ‘see her friends’ and left, blowing him off.

By now, the alcohol was beginning to take effect and he started to cut loose, like his old self. He snapped out his limbs in impressive, eye catching moves and even hopped into the empty circle, created by a ring of spectators in the center of everything, where only the most impressive dancers ventured. He spun himself around the floor on his hands and head, whipping his legs in high, artistic arcs, while being rewarded by a ripple of cheers. When he emerged, he continued his search for prospects.

He saw werewolves and devils and princesses and black cats and mad scientists and superheroes and robots and angels and a banana… and zombies, lots and lots of zombies. But there was one person who was especially easy to notice, a short figure who was laughing uproariously and stumbling around aimlessly, clearly drunk. Only her eyes were showing, as the rest of her body was wrapped in skintight black cloth. Two black katana, or samurai swords, were strapped to her back. A belt of four-pointed throwing stars circled her midriff. There was also a white, plastic bracelet around her wrist, a piece of jewelry she’d probably forgotten to take off. Anyone could tell she was a ninja, though she was doing an extremely poor job of acting the part.

When the ninja stumbled over to Chris, she looked up at him with charming green eyes that seemed to glow in the dark. Still dancing sloppily, she said in a slurred voice “Sup, bruh.” She was petit and looked especially young, which Chris liked. The costume hugged her body perfectly, showing off her slender trunk and all her curves. This was likely her first party and she had probably never drunk alcohol before.  

“Hey,” Chris replied, just intoxicated enough to go for it. “Great costume.”

“Thanks,” the ninja replied, swaying left, then right. “S’not really, though. Actual ninjas dresses like a homeless guys or someone normal. They blends in crowds.” Her run-together words were mostly understandable.

“Really,” Chris remarked, now dancing along with her, “didn’t know that. I thought ninjas were supposed to like, sneak out at night and assassinate people.”

“That’s mostly jus’ stories,” said the ninja, grabbing onto Chris for support, something his widening smile said he was not opposed to. “Ninjas uge’ly hang ‘round and gather info and lies to manip’alates people. They never uses covert action unless they’re sure they kill the target.” She hugged him tighter. “Mmm… You’re warm.”

“Uh… you too. Thanks,” Chris answered, blushing as he hugged her back and the two rocked in harmony. “How do you know so much about ninjas?”

“I di’some research,” the ninja answered. “I go t’ lot’sa conventions dress like this and I like’ta answer questions people asks. I even gotta story for m’self.”

“That’s cool,” Chris said.

“Thanks,” the ninja said again. “You’re nice guy. Let’s get’sa drink.” She pulled away from him, trying to drag him by the hand in the direction of the drink table.

“Nah,” Chris replied, though he wanted to appease her. “I’m right at my limit and I think you’ve had enough.”

“C’mon,” The ninja goaded, flashing an incredible, gleaming smile. “You’re a lightweight, or something?”

Chris couldn’t just ignore the jibe and followed the ninja as she staggered toward the drink table, smacking into other kids who gently steered her away. Chris grabbed her around the waist and guided her there.

“Thanks again,” said the ninja in a sweet tone. “Yours so nice.”

“No problem,” Chris replied happily. “My pleasure.”
When they reached the table, Chris poured a cup for himself and for the girl. He contemplated dropping a Flunitrazepam pill, or a “roofy” in her drink to make his goal a sure thing, but quickly decided against it, remembering the disaster that had ensued the last time. As he was about to take a gulp, the ninja bumped into him and he spilled some punch on his shirt.

“Urgh, come on dude!” Chris said angrily as he rubbed at the wet spot.

“Sorr’ly,” The ninja slurred. Most of the liquid missed her mouth as she drank. “Guess I’m failing m’ mission.”

Chris’s smile returned, once again relaxed by the ninja’s humorous, friendly, mock-serious attitude. “You wanna get out of here?” he asked.

“Wanna know who’s hired me?” the ninja asked, ignoring his question.

“Who?” Chris asked, indulging her.

“Dead girl’s dad,” the ninja replied.

“Why?” Chris asked in a tired voice as he leaned against the table. His vision was beginning to cloud. He guessed the booze was really getting to him now.

“For what the police couldn’t prove,” the ninja replied, her voice low and clear as a bell, “for what you did to her.”

That was the last thing Chris ever heard. The deadly powder of many crushed Oxycodone pills the ninja had put in his drink, quietly ended his life. It was an all too common party drug and kids like Chris overdosed on it every day. As he fell forward, the ninja caught him and, suddenly perfectly sober, said “Whoa, this guy’s tanked!”

She propped him up against the wall in a seated position. His limp head lolled to one side and he slid left, falling against a passed out teenager in a similar posture. Then, she moved back into the crowd and resumed dancing. After a few minutes, when the ninja was far from the wall and once again just a part of the throbbing horde, she took out her cell phone, thumbed in a number and said “Sayako desu. Pa-ti wa mo owarimasita.”She smiled with genuine satisfaction as she hung up.

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