Schnick! The steel pick danced on the rocks again, and a few sparks leapt from the white granite to die quickly in the cold autumn air.
Torrence could see Ice crystals left on the pointed destructive instrument, as the northern wind came whistling through the Aspen trees further up the slope.
“Got to get deeper. Not much dark left! Can’t even use a shovel, yet!” The little voice in his head said, “Move faster. The hole doesn’t have to be real deep, you can pile rocks on top!”
Again, Torrence hefted the Pick, to strike down even heavier than before.
More rocks fled the scene, less soil.”Why did I have to do it this cold ass night? Oh right! I did not, she did. Damn her!”
He was in a clearing with just a few Aspen trees at this altitude, but it was only a quarter of a mile from the fire trail. Starlight made easy navigation without any headlights, as a billion points of light above helped him.
In spite of the cold, Torrence felt the sweat of desperation pooling on his forehead to course into his eyes, the cold penetrating and focusing on the sweat in the small of his back.
Vanessa was a vampire.
No, not the type in the movies, with fangs and bat wings. Not at all.
Torrence proved she was living by making her give her all, bleeding to the last drop.
No, Vanessa fed on well-meaning men and then sucked the very life out of them.
They came to her in droves.
Even after youth had left her, and the lines on her face told of her years, men came to her.
They came to her full of strength and hope, and after a time, left with nothing but shattered dreams.
A man was only as strong as his belief in himself, the strength he had.
The town rumour mill said that more than one had ended their lives after a run with Vanessa.
She liked to say she did not like pets, only men.
But, in truth, a dog or cat would take the long way around her, never getting close to her.
What did they know, men did not?
Torrence came to her, just like the others, younger than some, but just as eager, hoping for all of that womanhood.
But, he was stronger and maybe, just a little smarter than the rest.
After a short time, he knew what she was.
His little innner voice warned him of her evil, and how she would try to break him.
Soon, it came time for her to destroy him. He felt it.
Afterall, she slyly built up to it, day by day for weeks. Sly smiles and just a couple of touches here and there. Very soon, she traced his eyebrows, and shoulders as if she were magically drawn to them.
Slight cuts, but a thousand of them, was her method.
Once, when he made something for her, to wear around her pretty neck she said, “I guess on your salary that is the best you could do!”
Or, “John Stanerster will likely be mayor one day, like his daddy. But, your father was the town drunk, right?”
This night, she had flown into a rage when he denied her, and stated flatly, “You are not a good woman. I will have no more to do with you.”
She leapt at him then, in a fit of anger, slinging fists and fingernails, kicking him wherever she could, with the language he only used with the boys when no lady was around.
“How dare you! You will never be a man, always a little snivelling. You are not man enough for me! Like your dear daddy, you will die in the gutter!”
Torrence decided it was time to follow the little voice in his head.
“She has a soft throat. Grab it with both hands. Squeeze it till that horrible mouth of hers quietens down. But, don’t stop. Keep squeezing for while longer! I will let you know when it is enough! She will plead, she will beg but do not listen to the devil, keep squeezing!”
So, here he was at 7000 feet or so, in the dark, in a bracing cold, he was digging into the Rockies with everything he had, making sparks, and slowly moving rock and earth.
“Just deep enough for her, she is tiny. Stones to weigh her down and shut that horrible pretty mouth. Faster, faster, you have to finish it just for her! You have protected the world from this woman.”
Torrence was proud. He felt the hero. He felt strong.
She was nothing, anymore.
He rejoiced that ice crystals were forming on that pretty face of hers.
The silence of her mouth embraced him. Her now still eyes were wonderful.
He swung yet again with everything he had.
And, Sparks.”Damn rocks!”