Heart of a Hunter
    The bar stool went flying from Elle’s hands, and she smiled in satisfaction as it smashed against the young, hefty biker’s left shoulder and he went down, desperately clutching at the table top to break his fall. She was at his side in a quick moment, looking down at him. She put one booted foot firmly on his chest.
    “You slapped me. No one slaps me without taking an ass kicking, no matter how big and tough. Dude, all I told you was a simple ‘no thanks’ to your offer to screw.” Elle kicked the fallen biker’s left side sharply. “And you kept spilling your beer on me, you sloppy-drunk dick.”
    Elle turned to leave the place, ignoring the cheers, whistles, and cat calls on her way out the front door. She had stayed beneath the radar in the place, and the last thing she wanted was to catch the attention of the management. Outside, the warm evening breeze kicked up, moving her hair and cooling her face. She looked up at the red neon sign that read, “Lucille’s Family Fun Bowling Center,” and grimaced. The name would suggest some level of courteous behavior from the patrons, but in her year of visiting the place on her own, she had met more than a few guys far from even remotely polite, in spite of the family environment. The place also served beer to the adult customers, which, unfortunately, also attracted some of the local bikers.
    She looked down at her scuffed boots for a moment, debating if she should go back to the war zone she called home. The neighborhood in the dark part of L.A she lived in was far from decent, but inside her home was even worse, sometimes. Her mom and dad, both heavy drinkers who were most of the time drunk and distant, usually didn’t even try to keep her in check or keep tabs on her comings and goings. She often wasn’t sure to be thankful for that or angry at their crap ass parenting. Elle Connor was seventeen years old and had mostly relied on herself for the past two years.
    Wiping her sweaty hands on her blue jeans, she began walking the short distance home, looking over her shoulder occasionally just in case the injured biker wanted to give her a little payback for wiping the floor with him. The late summer sun was setting low in the west, casting shadows as she walked, keeping to the main streets. Nothing good ever happened on the side streets and alleys in this part of Los Angeles, and she had wisely learned to avoid them. Best to call it a night early , she thought, striding quickly as the night approached. Summer break was almost over, and she would be going back to the local high school for her senior year in a few weeks. She didn’t want to hear the speech from her mom about how a high school diploma and a college education would free her, and maybe all of them, from the hellish place they lived. She didn’t want to hear her mom pretending to really care about her welfare.
    He stood in the shadows of the alley, intently focused on the petite teen girl dressed casually in blue jeans and a tiny, tight, black T-shirt quickly making her way down the street. Her halo of long, dark curls whipped around her face in the breeze of the evening as she looked over her shoulder every few moments . Beautiful , he coolly acknowledged, taking in the whole package of her with the vibrant light brown skin. Beautiful but deadly, and definitely a problem if I don’t stop her. Better to put an end to her tonight.
    He moved from his place in the alley and stealthily followed her down the block. There was no chance of him losing her because his tracking abilities were unrivaled by any other demon and certainly by any human who ever lived. Pyro was supremely confident that in slaughtering this problem and destroying Heaven’s plans for her, he would be surely securing a greater place in Hell’s hierarchy. That was all that mattered.
    Pyro caught up to her easily, making himself visible as he wrapped a strong arm around her throat from behind and lifting her up several inches

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