The night has a sultry pressure and the sharp, clear smell of rain: lightning flickers on the swollen clouds. The street outside the nightclub is dark outside the garish pools of pink neon. He leans against the bricks, dragging on his cigarette, and eyes the women as they pick their way, high-heeled, down the pavement. They are gaggled by colour, pale-skinned blondes or elegant black girls, all short skirts and curving breasts under scant fabric, flanked by possessive, matching men whose presence disrupts the glances the girls throw him. He runs his tongue around the fang which has started, reflexively, to lengthen in his mouth, and waits.
The rain-drenched breeze cuts the hot highveld air like wings against his cheek. She drifts featherlight out of the dark doorway, the light catching bronze cheekbones and the high, proud line of her throat and close-cropped skull. Tattoos writhe across her scalp, pale lines on the dark skin. Her body in the tight leather is bird-thin, spiky, an atavistic warrior, enchanting and sexless. The laughing, colourful crowd, teeth white in dark faces, part around her, suddenly and mutely cowed, but he sees only that she is alone.
She stalks down the pavement towards him like the embodiment of a fever dream: her glance invites and transfixes him. Wordlessly, he follows her into the alley.
Her mouth is cold, metallic, alien; shockingly, he is no longer the predator here. He cannot distinguish the thunder from the blood pounding in his ears, the lightning from the colours behind his eyelids. The storm breaks in a cacophony of noise and light as he curls on the filthy tarmac in a puddle of his own blood, hearing through the downpour the cry of some enormous bird, and the beating of wings.