The streets were barren as the man moved silently through them, pulling his old coat to his shivering chest. Newly formed puddles were getting harder to avoid as the rain fell down around him and soon, his pant legs were soaked. The rain, however, wasn't the worse of his problems.
The sky was nearly black with clouds, making the shadows stretch out, giving new homes for the creatures to hide. The monsters that lingered there were an old race, ones who saw humans as nothing more than a next meal, or a new toy. The moment the sky grew dark, they were there, waiting to snatch their next victim. Everyone was supposed to pretend that this new future held some sort of harmony between them and the human race, but those who lived in the underbelly of the city knew better.
He let out a huff, his breath smoking out in the cold like his soul leaving his body. Sometimes he wondered what the point was to this useless existence he called a life. When he looked back on this night, he often would say he should have just killed himself a long time ago to save him the hardships to come. But he couldn't know what was going to happen. His knuckles whitened as he gripped his umbrella closer to him, not really helping much. The biting winter air was cutting through every weak spot in his clothing, eating away at him more so than his fear was.
The man lifted his head quickly, he green eyes narrowing at the sound of a cry in the darkness. It wasn't an unusual sound these days, but something about it was just...different. The creatures were known for luring humans astray at night, not to kill but for the sick pleasure of it. You'd get lost, and no one would find you for days. Usually, they never recovered from getting taken.
He paused again, the first of many actions he'd claim as mistakes, straining to hear the voice over the constant drone of the rain hitting the street. The street lamps were buzzing loudly, as he paused under one to find some sort of safety from the growing darkness. His tired eyes narrowed as a cry rang out again, and for a moment, he thought he was going crazy.
A child stood in the freezing rain, clutching her naked body, wailing out in an almost animal way. It was the sound of pure sorrow; of a loss that no child should know. As she tilted her head back, sobbing louder from the shadows, her skin seemed to glow as the rain pelted it.
He wasn't stupid. For all he knew, she was just one of those creatures he had been warned about since he was a boy. It wasn't the first time they had changed their shape to lure humans away. But still...still. The way she cried out pulled at his heart, and there was something beautifully alien about her. No one in their right mind would go to her, he knew that...and yet he found himself walking closer.
"Hello." He found his voice, crouching down just a few yards away from her, away from the safety of the lights and into the shadows. "Hey now...are you lost?"
The young girl blinked through her tears, reaching out and stumbling to him. She clung to his chest, burying her face into his coat and crying so softly, it broke his heart.
"Come here." He said, wrapping his arms around her, bringing her under the safety of his umbrella and lifting her off the ground. He walked back to the lights, eyeing the darkness with the weariness and fear that a mouse had towards a cat. He headed back the way he had came, into the city again, trying to think of someplace safe he could take the girl. He was in no position to do that, with no wife, and barely any money to his name. A woman would know what to do with her, and maybe once she calmed down, her skin would stop giving off it's glow and they'd know what to do with her.
Even as he thought this though, he felt fear rise up again. How could he just let her go? He held her tighter as she clung to him, shivering as he opened his jacket to keep her warmer. She needed him, and there was no way he could abandon her now....