“I’m just going to run to the grocery store and grab us some wine and cheese! There’s a store on the other side of the bridge.”
Lia looked up from her phone and paused - “Ok, just be safe.”
I returned her sincerity with a wink, and headed out on to the dimly lit Parisian streets. It was getting dark, but at least the full moon was already hanging above me.
As I headed onto the footbridge, a man approached the opposite side. Nothing about him was threatening at all - honestly, the first thing I noticed about him was how handsome he was.
But as I began to descend on to his end of the bridge, he opened his arms to block the exit of the bridge. His unassuming lips twisted and tore into a hungry grin and before I could understand what was happening, he had started towards me, swiping his ragged claws at my waist.
He missed me by an inch, and I ran the rest of the way to the store. All I could hear as I ran was his howling laughter. Manic and manged, he had found joy in my terror.
I found refuge in the fluorescent light of the grocery store. “Man can’t change to animal under megawatt lighting”, I assured myself. So I purchased my items, and with a deep breath, stepped back into the moonlight.
When I reached the bridge again, I took the steps two at a time, to match my racing heartbeat. Just as I was about to bound off the last step towards safety, I heard a male voice call after me.
I looked over my shoulder with horror. It was a different stranger now, handsome as well. “Just because he’s cute, doesn’t mean he’s not a carnivore”, I whispered to myself in a moment of inane whimsy.
He caught up to me and introduced himself as Adrien. He had noticed me in the grocery store and wanted to say hello.
I stared at this seemingly innocuous creature, trying so hard to see him as man instead of beast. My first encounter that night had painted all of the men predators, adding pounds of matted fur and snarled tooth to even the gentlest of strangers.
But as Adrien stepped into the street light, I watched him transform back into a man. More skin then hair, more opportunity than threat.
The street light smiled sincerely, and the full moon just winked.