The Weeping Beech hung its boughs to the ground. Mifkin loved its tresses, watching them dance in storms as he lay hiding, waiting in the hollow of its trunk. It was the best of places, warm inside like mother’s womb.
Wind howled across the darkening grass as the day drew to a close. Mifkin clung to his prey; knowing its dying scent would tease the snouts of the arboretum’s nocturnal predators. He rubbed at his face, still bleeding and unhealed from the last encounter.
Mifkin sniffed the air. They were coming. He bent over the young man lying beside him, his feet and wrists bound together. Casually Mifkin placed one hand over the lad’s mouth, pinching his nostrils with the other. Beneath his hold the youth bucked and twisted, screaming a suffocated mewl. The eyes popped and bulged in the emaciated face.
“Won’t be long now mate,” Mifkin said. “Give in and it’ll all be over soon enough.”
Outside, leaves whirled in fury as the tempest grew stronger. Mifkin shuddered, soaking in the primal energy.
“Don’t you just love it?”
The man on the ground didn’t respond, dead already.
“Look at you. Isn’t this better than sleeping on the streets?”
Mifkin caressed the corpse’s hair. His fingers trailed through strands of grease, stopping to pick at scabs and lice. He nibbled at them, getting the taste.
“It’s so beautiful here at night; feels like we’re in a forest miles and miles from the rest of the world, but see...”
He pulled the body into his lap, facing it outwards. Its eyes stared, taking nothing in.
“See the smog from the city, that yellow haze?” Mifkin inclined his head to whisper in the man’s ear. “That’s how close you are to home.”
Drawing the lobe to his lips Mifkin began to chew, tasting the blood before it cooled and congealed. He snapped bones as he ate, throwing torn-off fingers to the gathering creatures outside.
The feast prepared, Mifkin dragged the broken body out onto the grass.
“Here you are, my friends. Let’s clean this up before morning.”