Surrounded by wet asphalt, untouched by the ghost light of the moon, the manhole cover rumbled in a vacant alleyway. Traffic passed along the street with distant flashes of red taillights and white headlights moving in a syncopated rhythm, out of time with the blaring horns, out of touch with the darkness.
The brick walls on each side of the alley reverberated with a heavy metallic rumble as the manhole cover flipped over and rocked end to end before coming to rest. A thick-muscled shadow of a man lurched forth as if birthed from the sewers below. He hesitated, the whites of his eyes reflecting the light from the street, more than thirty yards away. He shivered. Rain drizzled down his face. His head jerked toward the alley's dead end.
There he found solace from the street's chaos in a dark embrace, a shadow among the substance of his kind. The only glints of light came from the eyes of the rats scurrying about, chewing through plastic bags of trash. Vile, diseased creatures they were, feeding on the refuse of humanity.
He snatched them up one by one with the quick reflexes of a predator and devoured them, tearing into their warm bodies and ripping the meat from their fragile bones.
They were not enough. They could not satiate his hunger. He needed more than they could give.
It had been a hundred years since he'd eaten last.
"Back for Blood" - A Mercer Tale