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by Bill Diamond

The beast hunkers down in the concealing dark. Its patience is a skill both innate and practiced.

Predation has always been difficult. It was so in the ancient times when the quarry was armed with stones and staves. Over millennia, they moved from caves and made armor, swords and shields. Today, it’s more dangerous still with their weapons fierce and deadly.

But, as they’ve advanced, there are fewer believers now. It is to the creature’s benefit that many think it not real. Such psychological invisibility suits him well. The unsuspecting are more vulnerable. Skeptics are just as dead when claws slash them open.

All animals evolve. So predators must change to match their prey. Adapt to new terrain and crowded realms. His domain is now cement and stone and metal. The air has changed from clean, to smoky, to seasoned with gasoline fumes. The sprawling and crammed metropolis restricts his habitat and movement. But, in return, it swarms with more food opportunities.

Some things never change. Stealth and silence create surprise. Black fur blends with the gloom regardless of the century. Soft flesh rips.

There are men who ascribe to him unnatural and evil desires. Or believe he practices savagery for savagery’s sake. For the beast, it’s simply satisfying the deep and natural hunger.

In the city, there are more lights stealing the night, but the creature can still find shadows. So long as there is sunset, there will always be dark places. To hide, to wait, to stalk.

And there are those who risk the dark. Here comes one now.

Muscles tense, nostrils flare, eyes narrow, teeth emerge. The hunt is on.

Bill Diamond is a writer in Evergreen, Colorado, where the Rocky Mountains are both an inspiration and distraction. Webpage: www.bdiamondwriting.com.