"Monica hug Alice." You declared, and before the silver-haired woman could even comment, the feline had glomped her into a tight hog, bodily lifting her into the air and pressing her head against the teacher's before dropping her back down. The flustered woman quickly adjusted her hair and shot you a glare that held little heat, merely looking extremely flustered.
It turned out that Monica was taking to 'being social' far better than you'd anticipated. She learned words quickly but learned words relating to subjects around physical contact far better than the rest. It was a curious thing. Also, she'd mastered the art of adding an interrogative inflexion in her voice whenever she wanted to know a particular word. "Rick sex?" She asked, latching to your arm, eyes filled with the exact sort of intent you'd been anticipating.
You shook your head. "No." This was the... you had lost count how many times you'd said that. A pout followed from her.
"Monica, hug May." Kat said the next instant.
The girl in question became a statue, becoming incredibly tense as she barely turned her head to look at the completely oblivious Monica. The feline took her diminutive form into a huge hug, and then set her down before stopping and looking down at her. "May sex?"
Her face lit up like a Christmas tree. "N-no..." She said in a stutter, lips curling before turning away.
It was the first time you'd seen her react to anything. "May hug?" Monica persisted, clearly undeterred. May kept the blush, and apparently became unable to say anything, and for Monica that might as well have been all the consent in the world. She grabbed a hold of May in a great big hug that... admittedly, that was a lot handsier than just a hug.
Way handsier, you were sure May's clothes had been squeezed against her figure in a very un-student-like fashion. Monica almost got away with slipping some tongue with the girl who'd frozen up and wasn't struggling at all.
"Monica." You called the feline, and she unglued herself from the wriggling student, the girl taking deep calming breaths, turning towards Alice who'd been quick to approach with reassuring tones.
The feline for her part, had approached you and was looking at you with an impish little grin, obviously pleased about what she'd done. You had to sigh but leave it there. "It's getting dark, let's set down for the day." You commented to the rest, earning sighs of reassurance. Some didn't even wait to just plop down on the dirt and heave in relief.
"How much farther do you figure we have to go to get to the houses?" Tomas was the one to speak up.
"I'm not sure, maybe about half a day?" You shrugged. "Monica, stop." You called out to the feline as she was moving back towards a very shy May, obviously feeling a tad too frisky for everyone's current level of sanity.
"Stop?" She pouted, looking at May and then at you, her eyes turning back towards May.
"St-st-st-stooop." May hastily stuttered the word.
Monica looked down at the girl, huffing, turning around, the teenager hastily got some distance from the feline and curled herself against a tree, blushing up a storm and shrinking into herself once more.
Sighing, you felt slightly encouraged that Monica's over-affection were causing reactions from the girl. Hopefully, she'd recover more easily with this. Still, it wasn't something to take lightly, the feline was clearly one wrong sign away from starting to have some "fun" with whoever was in her path.
Your eyes moved towards Mr Gabriel, seeing him speaking to the mouse girl, softly he stroked her hair as she hid behind him, fearfully looking every which way and then setting on Monica before repeating the process. You had to wonder if he was having any success because there were some signs of concern as he looked at the girl he'd named Tessa.
Tomas and Kat were in their own corner of the impromptu camp, sitting side by side with their backs to the group, they seemed to be quietly looking at something. Then there was Alice, she had moved from reassuring May and taking inventory of what all of you'd been lugging around, overall, she appeared to be making sure everything was accounted for. Her forehead was very wrinkled in deep thought that looked well past what was needed to count how many water bottles each one had.
Lastly, there was Monica, she'd been sulking from the refused offer from May for only a minute before something had caught her attention. She'd approached the edge of the clearing and was now looking at the darkness of the forest. Whatever it was she was looking at, you didn't get the impression it was dangerous as she just stood there, her tail swinging left and right leisurely while she sniffed.
You approached Alice, the only one that looked like the most embroiled in her own thoughts... besides May. The woman raised her eyes at you the moment you'd approached before shaking her head and turning back towards the bags. "We're going to start starving tomorrow."
"Hopefully tomorrow we'll get help." You replied softly, keeping your tone low as you crouched next to her. "So?"
Alice blinked slightly. "So what?"
"So you have that look on your face that you'd kill for a smoke even though you quit years ago." You replied.
"How..." A pause, she seemed bewildered, then frowned. "Been so focused on this... mess... You have some don't you?" She asked.
"Yeah, though can't testify on their condition though."
"Haven't seen you take one since we got here."
"Smoking distracts me." You replied with a shrug, handing her the crumpled packet and lighter.
"Yeah, smoke break." She said, glancing at the others for a second.
Dropping what she was doing, she stood along with you and you moved to the edge of the clearing, facing away from the others. Alice didn't speak, and you decided not to interrupt the silence. Her eyes turned upwards towards the last specks of the illuminated sky that could be seen through the trees. "What if everything else is like this?"
The question came out of the blue, but you weren't very startled, having expected that she'd been chewing on one question or another throughout today. "What do you mean?"
"That Monica isn't a special case, that everyone out there are just like her."
"Hyper-charged and able to lift small cars?"
"..." A long drag followed. "Yes."
"I don't think civilization would exist if everyone were like that."
"..." Alice remained quiet, huffing some more of the smoke, only stopping to look down at what remained of the cig. "Maybe." She spoke, taking a very long drag. "But she's learning words."
You paused, frowned. "You think..."
"Yes, I think that we're going to find more like her, but smarter." She replied, another long drag. A moment of silence followed, she finished the first cigarette without much further wait, dropping the butt and stomping on it. "But I just can't shake off the feeling that it's a bad idea to meet whoever lives in cities in this world."
"...why?" You couldn't avoid asking.
Alice shook her head and sighed deeply. "The only three... women... we've found in this strange new place aren't just inhuman in appearance, they're just so..." A deep sigh. "Forget it, I'm just being paranoid." Her gaze returned to the temporal camp.
"I don't think you're being paranoid." You replied softly. "Frankly speaking, no precaution feels to be too much. I'd gladly get my hands on a gun if anyone offered."
Alice let out a half-enthusiastic chuckle and turned to head to the backpacks. "I just hope I'm wrong." She muttered.
As you returned, the scenario from before you left had not shifted save for one detail. Monica wasn't there. "She sniffed something and began running that way." May spoke up from between her crossed arms, making a gesture with her head towards the spot Monica had been standing on no more than five minutes ago.
You looked at the empty hole and felt your guts do a backflip.
Alarms began to ring in your head. "Everyone? I think we should be prepared for the worst... just in case." At your words, all the others had to take a long second to look around. "Monica left, we're without our strongest member, and I don't want anyone taking risks. No one steps away from camp, everyone stays together."
It was enough of a situation that you all opted to grab your walking sticks and move to put May and Tessa in the centre of the group as you kept eyes looking into the forest's darkness. "What if she doesn't come back?" Kat asked.
"We'll rotate sleep and guard duty." You said. "And we keep moving come morning."
Hesitant nods were shared, and silence crept into the group as they each took to carefully keep an eye out.
The minutes bled by, and the tension was starting to mostly drain out, some talk was being had to coordinate who'd be on guard and at what hour.
Then you heard it, a shrill scream in the distance, followed by louder screaming, and then a cry that chilled you to the bone. Then, silence.
Tension shot up once more with that silence, no one could hear anything but the hands holding the sticks became tenser. Tessa squeaked from her position in such a quiet way you barely noticed it. But what you did hear was the snapping of twigs. Movement in the shadows, you clenched the stick.
But it slowly became clear who it was.
Monica stepped into the clearing, looking at the lot of you with what seemed curiosity and confusion, but her focus returning to what she was carrying. With a simple bored motion, she tossed the creature she'd been dragging by an arm into the clearing. That was when you saw what (...or perhaps it was better to say who?) she'd brought.
None of the people present could tear their eyes away from the unfolding scene, let alone believe it was happening or do something about it. Then, an image flashed unbidden through your mind, that of how Monica had so casually torn off an arm from a corpse and begun eating it.
Now that you paid attention, you realized she hadn't been lugging around any of those "meals" throughout today.
Grim realization dawned on you. This lizard girl, without a shadow of a doubt, was going to become her next meal once she'd finished having her fun.
"She's going to kill her." You declared coldly; your eyes turned towards the others. "Monica is going to..." You become silent, ignoring the now moaning feline, your eyes wide, your hands were shaking slightly. Some grim side of you could see the logic, bring prey, kill it in front of the 'weaker ones', show them how it's done...
"No..." May muttered in dismay.
Mr Gabriel's lips thin, Kat become pale, Tomas closed his eyes and clenched his fists. Alice looked at you with overwhelming concern.
You feel like you have to ask, even if you know the answer. "Can we keep Monica fed?"
"We have the berries we didn't recognize and weren't sure were edible." Her voice is weak as she spoke.
You swallow, could that even sate her? Would she even accept it as an alternative? There wasn't going to be much time left. "Leave, all of you." You stated firmly, the look in your eyes making a slight motion towards May, of the list of people you'd rather not be present, she was at the top of that list.
She'd gone through enough already.
Mr Gabriel and Alice caught the meaning behind your words and nodded firmly. You turned towards Monica and the lizard, taking a long moment to calm your nerves enough to make your decision while the others hurriedly moved May away from the direct line of sight.
You grimaced, reaching for the bag, you bring out the plastic bag holding the handful of berries left, they'd certainly sate you if you had to eat them, but... you got closer to Monica. The woman was holding the lizard-woman by the throat while purring. When she noticed your approach, your eyes on her body? She purred harder. "Rick! Rick!" She called out to you.
As erotic as the sight was, you can't bring yourself to appreciate it, your mind was focused on the girl beneath her. You didn't want her to die, it was just part of who you were. You'd become a teacher to help others, not to... Bitting back the vile, you brought out the largest grape in the bag, about the size of your fist, and offer it, hoping against hope that she'd take it. And that it would be enough for her to not kill the lizard-like-woman.