“Way to lose your fucking focus Gabe!” He raced through the trees weaving through the trunks towards the spot that he had last seen the stalker. Though he could run and dodge at ten times the speed of a human man, his fear was mounting that it wouldn’t be fast enough. Before he even reached the spot, he could see that the man was nowhere near and as he slowed to the pavement he saw the little blond jogging safely along on her way, oblivious to the near death that she had just avoided, when he heard a thud. Shit!
His sensitive hearing picked up the sound of a muffled moan on the other side of the park, and then whispering. He couldn’t make out the words because he was already in flight back in that direction. As the trees thinned enough for him to make out the movement on the other side of the woods Gabe spotted his rapist, his murderer, dragging Antonia into the brush on the other side of the path.
Gabriel sprang, without thinking, without calculating. Wasn’t it already too late for that? He covered the wide lawn of the park and crossed to the other side with focused intent. He grabbed the attacker with both hands and flung him away from Toni straight into the trunk of a tree. The man fell limp and bewildered, not having seen or heard what was coming at him. He shook his head and held up his knife pointing it towards Gabriel.
His eyes were wide in confusion. His pupils were dilated, black and round. He looked like a demon. Gabe just growled at his feeble attempt to fight, or maybe roared. He could smell Antonia’s blood, and it was making him crazy with rage. He lurched towards the man and locked a hand around his chubby throat. He lifted him off of the ground by his neck and held him there for a moment.
“Please,” croaked the man.
“Please?” Gabriel questioned. “You deserve far worse than this. You deserve ten times the torture that you have offered up to your victims. Luckily for you, I’m not a torturer.”
With a flick of his wrist Gabe snapped the man’s neck and let him fall into a heap at the foot of the tree. He pulled Antonia up as gently as he could, put her over his shoulder and set off at a sprint towards his car. He pulled out his phone as he ran through the woods.
“I got him, I need you to come down here to the park to do a clean up. I’d do it, but he beat the shit out of a girl. I’m bringing her home to Kat. Is she there?”
“She’s here. I’ll tell her to be ready for you and I’m on my way. You’re at the same loco that you were banking on?
“Yeah, the same. You’ll smell him, the nasty piece of shit. Just off of the path on the south side.”
“Gotcha…and hey Gabe?”
“I’m fucking geeked that you got him.”
Gabriel settled Antonia into the passengers seat and peeled out into the street, heading towards the house. He wished that he could hold her while he drove. He kept brushing his palm over her arms and her face. Her skin was cold and there was too much blood coming from her head wound. Gabriel was panicked and he didn’t know why. He had never reacted to anything like this before, and he had lived through scores of things that were so much worse. She was just one young woman, and she would probably be fine. Kat would get her all fixed up. It wasn’t even bad enough that he thought she needed any blood. So why did he feel so responsible, so guilty, so desperate?
The drive was short but Gabe felt like it had taken him forever. He pulled into the large basement garage and Katarina was right there waiting. She had the door open and was lifting Antonia out as Gabe cut the engine.
“I can get her Kat,” Gabe said as he rushed around the side of the car and dashed into the house on Kat’s heels.
“Oh, Please!” Katarina was less that five feet tall, but she hurried down the hallway with Antonia in her arms as though she was carrying an infant. Gabe opened doors as they went, and in moments Kat had her patient laid out on table in her office.
“Get the light over there for me will you? Gabe! Are you okay?” Kat gave him a sideways Glance and then a shove. “You aren’t acting like yourself.”
“Yeah, sorry, what was that?” Gabe frowned.
“Right, got it.”
“Hey, I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but I need some help here. Are you good to assist or do I need to get someone else?” Kat pushed the I.V. needle into Antonia’s arm.
“I’m fine!” Gabe took a deep breath and steadied himself to focus.