Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
The time clock seemed to grow louder with ever tick just to annoy Tara.Stupid fifteen minute break. Not long enough to do any good, but I’d strangle someone without it.
“Ah hell.” Tara breathed as she got out of the chair and passed through the door, leaving the ticking time clock in the break room.
Tara’s kitten heels clicked on the linoleum as she made her way pass house wears over to the makeup/perfume.
“You’re early.” Stephanie beamed.
Tara looked at the young blonde girl that work the counter at Belk with her and tried to figure out why she was so damn happy all the time. Tara shrugged figuring nothing bad had every happen to Stephanie Kruger (minus the last name). It was difficult to begrudge someone for having the very life that Tara had come to Shreveport to pursue.
“It’s cool. You can go.” Tara sighed turning her back to the blonde.
“Oh…OK.” Stephanie spoke barely above a whisper as she quietly collected her things and the left the counter to go home.
Tara sighed again as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other. She hadn’t meant to be so standoffish but…I need to fly under the radar.
She though back to three months ago when she packed up her meager belongings and left Bon Temps in the middle of the night and headed for Shreveport. She hadn’t told anyone where she was going, or that she was leaving. Since she didn’t have a cell phone no one had been able to contact her at all. Tara went back and forth about her decision to move to Shreveport daily. She was so tempted to pick up a phone and call Lafayette, or Sookie, or…
“Sam.” Tara finished out loud.
“What?” A voice said from the other side of the counter.
Tara whipped around to fast she nearly lost her balance. The man she was facing wasn’t Sam of course.
“Geez, you scared me.” Tara chastised the man.
“That so.” He chuckled.
His shoulders moved a bit when he laughed she noticed. She also noticed that the raven-haired man was wearing ripped jeans and a black t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. That was rather odd seeing as it was January.
“Something I can help you with?” Tara asked in a way that made it clear the answer was no, but she had to ask anyway.
“Nope. Just looking.” The man chuckled again and walked away towards Menswear.
“Night Tara.” Joe called as he locked the front door to Belk.
“Night.” She hollered back over the wind as she pulled her coat tighter around her neck. Tara hadn’t gotten a new winter coat and she was cursing herself now for it. Maybe toughing this winter out to save money hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to walk with you?” Joe asked already heading towards his own car that was parked close to the door.
“That’s alright. I can see it from here.” Tara answered waving to Joe.
Turning back towards her car she moved towards her beat up little Pinto. The worst thing about working the late shift was having to park so far away. Sure she could see her car, but that didn’t stop it from looking like an ant.
It had to be well below freezing which was unusual for this time of year, at least in northern Louisiana. Tara clutched her bag in closer toward her and felt around for her keys, that way when she did arrive at her vehicle she’d be ready to unlock the door.
“Damn it.” Tara felt for her keys and couldn’t locate them. “Where the hell…”I didn’t leave them in the break room did I?
Tara turned back to look across the Shreveport Crossings Mall parking lot. Now Belk looked like an ant. She saw Joe’s pickup truck speed away and stamped her foot. Something jingled.
“Oh.” She sighed with relief as she felt in her coat pocket for the keys.
Flipping through the keys Tara tried to pull out the one that went to the car. This was difficult to do with gloves on which made her fumble and drop the keys.
“Damn it! It’s too cold for this shit.” Tara cursed through her chattering teeth as she bent down to pick up her keys.
Out of the corner of her eye Tara caught something yellow just out the pool of light created by the street light she was standing near. She turned towards it and blinked.Nope…still there.
Tara’s eyes darted over toward her car. It was a good fifty feet away still.Maybe I could keep walking like I never saw it.
A deep rumble broke through the crisp air.Fuck! It’s like it knows.
The yellow grew larger until Tara could tell that there were eyes. Then suddenly the shadow around the eyes melted and turned orange, and large, and furry.
The larger and more defined it grew the louder the rumbling got until it became a snarling growl. It kept inching closer and closer until there was no denying it.What the fuck is a Lion doing at the Shreveport Mall?
Suddenly it charged toward Tara at full speed and she couldn’t scream loud enough.
The Lion raced towards Tara at full speed. Just when she thought it was going to attack it leapt up into the air flew over her and slammed into something. Spinning on her heels Tara saw that the Lion had slammed into a wolf full force and sent it flying several feet.
One would hope that the wolf had had enough, but instead it picked itself up and snarled at the Lion. The two of them stared at each other daring the other one to make the first move. Tara decided she’d make the first move…to the car.
She placed one foot in the direction of the car which caught the wolf’s attention. It charged toward her, but was intercepted by the Lion once more. They began growling and biting each other.
Not certain she gain another opportunity Tara made a mad dash for her Pinto. Suddenly the freezing temperature was the least of her problems. Reaching the driver’s side door she fiddled around for her keys again. She inserted the key into the lock just as she caught the wolf charging at her from the corner of her eye.
“Noooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Tara screamed fearing she’d meet her end in the next few seconds.
Right before the wolf could attack the Lion clamped down on the wolf’s neck. Tara could see the blood seeping from the wounds the Lion was creating, and then she saw the light disappear from the wolf’s eyes. It was dead, Thank God.
The Lion flung the wolf’s limp body across the pool of light and then looked back over its shoulder at Tara.
Not wanting to be next Tara hurriedly opened the door and started the car. Without bothering to fasten her seatbelt she slammed down the accelerator and speed towards the exit. Checking her rearview mirror to try and find the Lion she spied what appeared to be the bleeding body of a nude man.
“What the hell?!”
Tara’s eyes left the rearview mirror to focus on the road just in time to see another nude man standing in front of her.
Screaming Tara spun the wheel to avoid him causing the Pinto to spin and skid to a stop.
“Where’d he go?!” Tara panted frantically searching for the man she’d nearly run down.
Suddenly the car door was almost ripped open. Screaming Tara tried to back away from whoever opened the door by climbing over the center console.
“No! Get away from me!” She shouted.
“Tara. It’s me.” Sam stuck his head into the cabin of the Pinto. He was stark naked and bleeding.