Thursday, October 27, 2016

Addicted to the Abyss Vampire Serial Parts 7 and 8 are Here!



Part 7: Recovery


Nightmares. Half remembered whispers. Secrets in the dark.
Pain. So much pain.
Why does it hurt so much?

My back is on fire.

Did I forget to hide in the trunk of my car? Did I pass out on the side of the road, and turned in the seat to lay on my side and the sun hit it full blast and set me on fire?

Am I on fire?

I was cold.

But, I’m not cold now.

I must be on fire.


“Jonah, are you wake?”

A familiar voice. A familiar scent.

I opened my eyes. Looked around. Didn’t know where I was. Didn’t care.

I was lying in a bed. Big feather down comforter. Fluffy pillows. Raw wooden beam rafters overhead. Room was warm.

My back is on fire…it hurts. So much.What happened to me?

I could hear snow flakes hitting the windows.

Can’t see any windows, must be in a different room.

It’s snowing. That meant it was winter. Fall was gone already. Has it been that long already?

Where am I?
Fire.
I smelled fire.
Ash. Smoke. Burning wood.

Am I on fire?

No.

The fire was somewhere else. That wasn’t why my back hurt so badly, it was burning, but not from fire. From something else. Something bad.

The room was lit by the golden glow of a wood fire. The fire, was in a fire-place, where it belonged.

“Hey, you awake now?”

“Where?” I asked, and cleared my throat.

“Someplace safe. They won’t find us here. I’ve seen to that.”

“Us?”

“Yes, us.”

He got up out of a rocking chair. My vision was a little blurry, things further away were out of focus.

“Mallory?”

“Yes. It’s me.”

I blinked my eyes, rubbed them and he came into focus. It was him.

“Who else is here?”

“No one, just the two of us.”

“Oh.”

I tried to sit up, red-hot pain shot through me, like there was a spear shoved through my back, right in the middle of my spine. I winced, eased back down in the bed. My back hurt. It really, really hurt bad.

All my wounds healed fast once I ate. But not this one. This one was still raw, burning, searing pain.

“Take it easy. You’re not completely healed yet.”

“What happened?”

“Do you remember anything?”



Did I remember how I got here?

No. Don’t know, not sure.


“I don’t think so. I was somewhere else. And it was cold, and the floor and walls were hard. The people there, they hurt me–over and over and over again. And then they fed me people who didn’t taste right. There was something wrong with them. I didn’t think well even after drinking their blood. I think they were lab rats too.”

Wait…was I a lab rat? Is that what happened to me?

“How did I get there? Why were they cutting me up like that?”

“They found my apartment.”

“Who Mal? Who found your apartment? Damn it… I knew that we needed to leave. I should’ve just grabbed you and took off when my instincts told me to run. Now look at the mess we’re in. Fucking-A man.”

“I’m sorry. I thought I had covered my tracks well enough, but I didn’t. We shouldn’t have stayed in one place. It was so easy for them to find me because of that. You tried to fight them off. You tried to save me. But they hurt you, bad, and then they took you to their facility. They tried to keep me there too, but I still had a few friends on the inside and they helped me escape and smuggle you out of there. I drove us as far north as I could, before ditching the car and getting a new one. Did that a few times, until I found an abandoned cabin in the woods here.”

“I don’t remember any of that, of the driving part you just said.”

“You probably won’t. You’ve been in and out of consciousness for a few weeks now.”

“Huh. Must’ve been tired then.”

“I guess so.”

“Why does my back hurt?”

He sighed, sat on the edge of the bed. I reached out, wrapped my arms around his waist, scooted down a bit so I could lay down and still hold him. He was wearing a thick black sweater. It was soft. Warm. Inviting. I wanted to wrap up in it. I wanted to wrap up in him, like he was a blanket.

But he wasn’t. And I didn’t dare hurt him like that.

“They did things to you Jonah. Horrible things. Lots of tests and vivisections and, well, they attached a metal ring to your spine, used it to hang you up on a wall. I removed it a few days ago, but it’s been slow to heal. Not sure what metal they used, but it damaged you significantly. Burned your skin, and your bone. At first I thought they had cauterised it, fused it to your spine. But they didn’t. They just drilled a hole for it to slip through. I had to cut it off with a pair of bolt cutters. Your skin was blistering and turning black and falling off. It was spreading, like it was necrotizing your flesh. Once I removed it, it stopped spreading, but the wound it made is still blistering up and turning to black ash.”

Shit. No wonder my back hurt so much. Fuckers used silver on me.
“The ring was silver,” I muttered, burying my face against his back.

“Silver? Really?”

“Yeah. Mixed with iron.”

“I thought silver only hurt werewolves.”

“You thought wrong.”

“Apparently.”

“How come I can think clearly right now? Shouldn’t I be starving?”

“Oh, I’ve been feeding you. You had a lot of tissue damage to heal, and I didn’t want you waking up and attacking me like you did that last time.”

“I see. So, you gonna tell me who those guys were or what?”

“I work–I worked for them. I quit after I saw what they did to you. I’m so sorry Jonah. I was such an idiot. I really messed things up. I thought that they’d let me try to figure out what was wrong with you without requiring that I turn you in.”

“So what? They study vampires or something?”

“Something like that. Not just vampires though. Other contagious supernatural human afflictions as well. I just happened to be hired to study vampires. After IT happened, they contacted me. Offered to pay off the rest of my schooling and to take me in as a department head. They said that my experience– my run in with a vampire– made me qualify. It paid decent, and I thought it would give me the resources I needed to help you, but…I was wrong. So very, very wrong.”

“I’m sorry but, I don’t think that there’s any fixing this. I’m not human anymore. Hell, I don’t even think I count as a living person, really.”

“Don’t talk like that.”

“Why not? It’s the truth.”

“I don’t care. Don’t dehumanize yourself. Just. Don’t. Okay?”

“Sure, sure. Sorry.”

He sat there for a bit, I was starting to drift to sleep again.

“Jonah?”

“Hm?”

“Do you remember what you did? When they attacked us in the apartment?”

“No. Why? What did I do?”

“It’s not important. Never mind.”

“That bad huh?”

“Yeah…”

I tried to think back to then.

We were at the apartment.

I was sleeping on the bare floor in the bedroom. And then…then…

Nothing.

It’s blank.

Fuck.

“Did I kill someone?”

“Several. You were…” He sighed. “You did it to protect me. At least I’m pretty sure that you did. You just got a little carried away, that’s all.”

Oh no.

What did I do?

“What does that mean? Got a little carried away?”

“You weren’t just drinking their blood Jonah, you were eating their flesh. Ripping chunks of muscle out of their necks and swallowing them whole.”

He was making my mouth water. My stomach grumbled. I was getting hungry.

“Shit, that sounds delicious.”

Mallory stood up, walked over to the fireplace, poked at it a bit, moved a log around. It didn’t need prodding, he just needed space.

Maybe…or maybe he isn’t as upset about it as you think. We should eat him. Put him out of his misery.

“Mal, how long we going to do this?”

“Do what?”

“Avoid talking about IT.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I sat up, winced again, rubbed my back. Hissed in pain.

“Don’t try to walk around just yet. You’ll damage it more. It’s not done healing.”

“Shit.”

I laid back down, sighed. Shoved a fluffy pillow over my face. Breathed in the dry feather smell. There were other people’s smells on the pillows. Not his. Not mine.

A girl, her mother, her father.

Mallory moved the pillow off my face. “What are you doing?”

“Breathing it in.”

“You can’t suffocate. You won’t kill yourself that way. Nice try.”

“Huh? I wasn’t doing that. I was breathing in the smells in the pillow. Other people stayed here. A few times. A small family. They had a daughter.”

“You can tell that from the smell alone?”

“Yes.”

“Huh. Well, that could be useful.”

“You gonna study me now Dr. Conrad?”

He raised an eyebrow, folded his arms, looked smug as fuck. “Oh? You finally remembered my full name?”

“You’re a doctor of something. Medicine or some shit. I heard you in the hallway, arguing with that woman, before you came in. I was in the freezer. I could hear, I couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t feel, but I could hear you. Your voice woke me up.”

“Wow. That’s incredible. I didn’t know if you were aware of anything in that state.”

“So, were you a doctor before or after I met you? You know, before IT happened?”

“I was in the process of getting my doctorate when we met.”

“So I knew? Before? That you were a doc?”

“Well, yes. It wasn’t exactly something I kept secret. I was proud of my academic accomplishments.”

“Cool…look, I think I get it. You and I were a thing. Like a serious thing. I remember I asked you about the photograph and you got upset and I realized that the man sitting next to you on that bench in the horrible Hawaiian shirt was me.”

“Yeah. I did. I was trying to come to terms with things. Sorry.”

I waved it off. “Don’t matter. Really. We were a thing, and then, I was attacked by that woman, and everything went to shit. And I’m sorry for that. I can’t control how I am now. But, you gotta accept that sooner or later, we won’t be able to speak like this. One of these days, I’m going to lose the rest of myself, and there won’t be anything left but a crazed, hungry monster. Once I heal up, you should go. Let me run off. Do my thing until I do something stupid and get my sorry ass killed. You deserve better man. You can still have a good life. Me? I’m fucked. Royally. There’s no saving me.”

Mallory stood up abruptly, paced the room.

“No. No, there has to be a way. You’re doing fine. Look at us, talking like normal people. You’ve come a long way. I just need to keep you fed regularly and you’ll be all right.”

“Wake up man! I can’t even remember all of it and even I know what is happening to me! I can feel it in my bones. My time is limited. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to kill you. You need to go. Just leave me here. I’ll manage. I’ll get by.”

“I can’t.”

“Maybe you should. Save yourself, before it’s too late.”

“Shut up.”

“Just pointing out the obvious. Thought maybe someone should.”

“Jonah, doesn’t it scare you? Knowing that you’re going to permanently lose your memory?”

“Of course it does. I don’t want to forget anything. I don’t want to forget you. Ever. But I know that one day, I’ll black out and when I come to, I won’t know who you are. I won’t even know who I am. And that will be the end of me…I’ll be nothing more than an animal that craves human flesh and blood. One day I’ll mess up, get too bold and some redneck hick with a shotgun will blow my head clear off, and I’ll die. And that will be that.”

Mallory shivered.

He was starting to sweat. I could hear his pulse getting faster. So was his breathing.

“Hey…what’s wrong? Are you sick or something?”

“No.”

“I can smell it on you. You’re getting nauseous. Why?”

“You can smell it?”

“Yeah. You sure you’re not coming down with something?”

“Positive.”

“Then what?”

He shivered, and stood there, shaking, staring at me with hungry eyes. “I need it.”

“Need what? What are you talking about?”

“I can’t go that long without you again. Don’t you understand? Don’t you know what you’ve done to me?”

Oh yes. We know what you’ve done. He’s yours. You’re his. And one day, you’ll turn him and you’ll both be free. Just get it over with. Do it now. End his suffering. It’s the right thing to do.

“Shut up,” I murmured. My stomach sank, a vice started closing in on my head. My back burned so badly, I wanted to run out and jump into the snowbank, just to cool it off. “I don’t…what–what’s wrong? What did I do?”

Mallory pulled his sweater off. He was sickly pale, almost ashen in color. There were bandages on his arms, upper and lower, both sides of his neck, his shoulders too. That’s when I smelled the blood on him. He was wounded. Not so much to hinder movement, but enough to be uncomfortable most of the time. He didn’t smell anemic, his blood didn’t smell thinned out. But, by the look of him, I’d say that he was about to become that way.

“Did they do that to you? Did they hurt you too?”

“No, no. They didn’t. You did.”

I could smell it on him. The nausea was getting stronger. He was having hot flashes, sweating, shaking. He was like a junkie needing a fix.

“Mal?”

“Jonah. The first few times you fed off me, I didn’t notice it. I didn’t even realize that you were affecting my physiology. But I’m pretty sure it’s why I didn’t want to leave the apartment, now that I think about it. That first time you attacked me, after IT happened…you…”

I felt ice-cold. I shivered, pulled the feather comforter around me tighter.

“What did I do?” I asked in a small voice.

Mallory shook his head. “I don’t know. It happened so fast, my memory of it is a bit skewed. But…I’m fairly certain when you bit me, something got into the wound. Something from your mouth seeped into me, got into my bloodstream.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“You were livid. Crazed. Thick black blood oozed from your mouth. You were raving mad, saying things that didn’t make sense, you kept saying one word over and over again: Mullo.”

Mullo.

HER.

That’s HER name.


Then I remembered:


The alleyway.

Hot summer night, sticky and sweaty from the night club, pissed off, drunk–just wanted to go home and sleep it off. Didn’t want to be there.

SHE melted out of the shadows. Tall, willowy, wearing tattered dress that was grey from never being washed. Black blood dripped down her chin, she had bit her lip in excitement. Her mouth full of razor-blade teeth. Her long, bony arms, those claws at the ends of her fingers, her ragged, matted hair, brown from dirt and excrement. She was nothing but skin and bones. She smelled of death, of decay and rot.

It made me vomit. When I looked up, she was there, standing over me. She picked me up, effortlessly, said something in that nails-on-chalkboard voice. Bit my neck, hard. It hurt so bad that I screamed. I thought she was going to bite my head off. But she didn’t.

She drank her fill, said I was pretty, and slit open her wrist with a razor-sharp claw, and forced me to drink her thick tar blood. It burned on the way down. It burned as my insides died. I never felt pain like that before, and I never wanted to again.

Mullo killed me.

HER blood killed me and made me like THIS.

So many voices in my head, laughing, leering, egging me on. I followed the scent, the delicious one. To the place that smelled familiar, like home. There was a man there. A man with brown eyes and dark hair. He was sleeping in a chair. I pounced on him, drank my fill, then kissed him. My teeth cut inside of my mouth. My blood mixed with his and he choked on it, spit it out. But, some of it still got into him. That pleased me, and I knew that I would always know where he was after that. He was MINE. I made him mine. No one else could have him but me. His blood was my blood. I owned it.

Oh.

Shit.

“Jonah?”

“You said her name, and it made me remember. I remembered IT.”

“Remembered what?”

“That night, the alleyway. She came to me. Said I was pretty, fed on me, made me drink her blood. Then I followed your scent home. I attacked you, fed on you. I was supposed to make you drink my blood, but I didn’t. She wanted me to. She wanted me to turn you. But I couldn’t. I was too excited. I couldn’t obey. I couldn’t even think. I cut my mouth with my sharp teeth. My blood…I kissed you, right?”

His hand went up to his lips, and he nodded. “Yes. You did. And then you ran. It took me months to track you down.”

“I hate to say it, but you were right. When I kissed you, some of my blood got in your mouth. You must’ve swallowed a bit before you could spit it out.”

“Oh my God.” He sat down on the chair in shock.

“That’s why I remembered you. That’s why your eyes and your name stuck in my head. That’s why I knew your phone number. I could see it in my head. You are a part of me now. I became a part of you, in that one instant. That one kiss, bonded us somehow.”

“That’s not possible. That doesn’t make any sense.” He shivered again. He was covered in a sheen of sweat. Shaking.

I felt so bad for him.

“Mallory, I’m so sorry. I never– ” I never wanted to hurt you. You loved me. We were out celebrating. We just got a place together. And then…I ran away. I left you. All alone. And you couldn’t stop thinking about me because I made you obsessed with me. My blood did that. I know it did. Somehow, I’ve always known. I just didn’t remember all of it. And now, I did.

“So it was your blood?” Mallory asked. “Are you saying that by getting a tiny amount of your blood into my system, you infected me somehow?”

“Sort of. More like, imprinted myself onto you. I think that’s the right word. You know, like when the baby duck hatches out of the shell and the first living thing it sees, like a person or another duck, it starts following because it thinks that it’s their mom? Kind of like that. I guess.”

“I don’t believe that. I missed you so much Jonah. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I was worried sick. For months. And now you’re implying that it wasn’t because I loved you, but because of something you did to me? Is that it?”

“Hey, don’t get all pissy with me. You brought it up, and I remembered it. I recovered a memory. I didn’t think it was possible. So, thank you.”

He sat there, thinking. Silent, shivering. His sweat was making his hair-line damp.

“Shit. They were right,” he muttered.

“Who was right?”

“My employers. They brought me in, gave me medical care, and then kept telling me that I was sick and going through withdrawal. I felt awful. I thought I had the flu. It took a couple weeks to stop. The whole time, they told me that I was going to be all right, that I could get over my addiction to you. I thought they were full of it. It didn’t make any sense. And now you’re telling me that it’s real and that is why we are drawn together?”

“Pretty much. You look like shit. You’re going through withdrawal now, aren’t you? It’s getting around the time that you’ve been feeding me, isn’t it?”

He frowned. “How did you know?”

“Lucky guess. My stomach is growling, starting to feel a bit empty. And you look like a junkie needing a good fix.”

“What are we going to do?”

“I’ll go find a deer or something. I’ll eat it. I can’t be feeding off you like this. It’s not good for you. You’re going to get anemic. If that happens your blood will be too thinned out to fill me up.”

“No! You will drink my blood. I’m yours. Do it.” He grabbed something from the table in the other room, walked back in. It was a carving knife. “You’ll feed from me, and I’ll feel better. It only takes a little. Not much. Not much at all. You’ll see.”

“Stop.” I tried to stand up, to get to him, but there was a searing pain in my back, a twinge of immense hurt that drove me right to the floor in pain.

It hurts.


He cut off the bandage on his left arm. It was covered in bite marks. None of them were very deep, really. Just deep enough to cut the skin to make blood flow out of it.

“Don’t. Come on man. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.”

“Too late,” he said, and cut a thin slit down his wrist, hitting the artery. The smell of his blood hit me, and it was like walking into a kitchen where someone was cooking a medium rare steak. 

My mouth watered. 

It smelled so good.

He sat down on the bed, held out his arm. I snatched it, started lapping at his would before I sucked on it, drinking him in.

Mallory closed his eyes, titled his head back and sighed. The more I drank the more he relaxed. When I licked the wound again he shuddered. It aroused him. His blood pumping fast, his heart racing, I couldn’t help but notice that he pitched a tent in his pants.

“Want me to take care of that?” I asked and motioned towards his crotch.

“Later, finish eating first.”

“All right. Suite yourself.”

I drank my fill. Until everything felt like it was going to be just. Fine.

It felt so good. Warm, liquid gold, spread through my body. I was floating, the pain was gone. His blood made me high.

I sighed sank into the bed, let the room drift pleasantly around me.

Mallory crawled into bed, and I noticed that I was naked.

“Nothing turns you on anymore, does it?” he asked. His voice soft, husky. Full of need.

“No. It doesn’t. I don’t need sex. I just need your blood to get off on.”

“I understand. Just let me, hold you for a while. Please?”

“Sure. I don’t care if you jack off or whatever. I just can’t join in. That part doesn’t work that way any more. I don’t need it, really. It’s just there.”

“Wow. I can’t believe you just said that.”

“What? It’s true. I don’t care. Knock yourself out.”

“You sound so high right now.”

“I am.” I laughed. “I feel good.”

“I missed you. I missed this.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t remember my life before IT happened.”

“I know. It’s okay. You don’t have to. That’s what you have me for.”

“If we’re going to stay together, we need to figure something out. I can’t have you cut all to hell all the time like this. It’ll attract other predators.”

“It will?”

“Yeah. It will.”

“All right. We’ll do something about it.”

“Like what?”

“Can we discuss this later?” he asked and took my hand and placed it on his crotch. I was right. He was turned on. Big time. His cock was hard. “Touch me here.”

Curiously, I remembered what to do, to make him sigh in pleasure. I remembered all the places he liked being touched when he wanted to get off. I remembered how he writhed and moaned under me.

Where he liked to be kissed, where he would shudder when I licked him in certain spots. How he’d moan when I’d enter him.

I couldn’t exactly do that anymore, but I could still make him squirm and beg as I ran my hands over all the right places.

“Let me help you with that,” I said and took my time making him feel good. The same way he helped me. It was only fair after all.

But, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think; how long was this going to last?

How long would I be able to go before I devoured him, body and soul?

How long would it take before I stopped caring about what I did to him, and just used him as my personal blood bank?

And would he even be able to say no and fight me off? Would he even want to?
If tonight was any indication, he wouldn’t struggle at all. He’d willingly let me kill him if he knew that it would satisfy my undying thirst for flesh and blood.

And I didn’t like that. Not one bit.

But, when it came down to it, would I even have a choice?


Part 8: Lost


Mallory was getting weak. Not just physically, but mentally. I could sense it in him, the way a dog could smell cancer in a sick person's body. The more I fed, the weaker he became.

His blood started thinning.

It was becoming...dissatisfying. I needed more and more of it to keep my mind clear, and he happily gave it to me. It was starting to piss me off, the way he was acting.

He had completely lost his ability to say no. His food supply was running out. I kept an eye on his ever-dwindling stacks of canned food and boxes of dried goods.

After two months of us staying here, there wasn't much left. He didn't have time to plan for this, for us hiding out in the woods in the middle of nowhere. He didn't anticipate what would happen to him, to his mind, to his body, after letting me feed on him day after day after day for weeks.

I worried about him.

I was killing him, and he didn't care. That, bothered me.

I couldn't stop thinking about it.

He was sitting in front of the fire, huddled up, blanket wrapped around him. Pale, tired, dark circles under his now dull eyes. They went from chocolate-brown to almost black. No shine to them at all now. They're flat. Like he's lost his spark somehow.

A part of me reveled in it. It found great joy in eating him alive, slowly. Day by day by day by day. It was that dark part, the one that took over when I blacked out. It spoke to me all the time now.

Sometimes the whispers got louder and louder until they were deafening and I couldn't even think straight. I could think...but it was difficult to concentrate.

I sat on the floor by the fire, digging my nails into the wood panels, slowly scratching parallel lines into it. Scratching in time with the scratching noises inside my head. They were rhythmic, like something was digging into my skull with a rake. I couldn't make them stop, so I just played along with it, like a strange avant garde song that no one could hear but me.

“What are you drawing?” Mallory asked, leaning over to get a better look at it.

“Don’t know. Don’t care. Looks like stick-men though. Doesn’t it? Like a whole pack of them running around on all fours, playing dog or something.”

“Yeah, it kind of does.” He chuckled and it turned into a cough-- raspy, dry, edging on painful.

"Are you sick?"

“No.”

“You smell sick.”

“Just tired is all.” He yawned, sat back in the chair, closed his eyes.

I sighed. “Mal, we--” We need to get out of here. You’re dying.

His head dropped forward, chin on chest, and then he jerked his head back, awake, and blinked several times, trying to keep his eyes open.

“You should lie down. You aren’t well.”

No. Kill him. Eat him whole. Finish it already! End his misery.

“Shut up,” I murmured to the voices.

They are getting so loud now. Why are they so loud?

“Hmm? Did you say something?”

“No.”

I stood and stretched, the vertebrae in my back popped into place. A few of them were wiggling loose, like baby teeth. Felt like they’d pop off once the news ones finished growing in.

“Your back OK?” he asked, voice soft, meek, worried. Not his normal tone at all.

“It’s fixing itself. Almost done now.”

“Are you sure?”

I sighed. Annoyed.

“What?”

“You sound like an abused girlfriend. Stop it.”

“What? How?”

“Don’t talk to me that way.”

“What way should I speak to you then?”

“Normally. Like you used to.”

“And what way is that exactly?”

“The normal way.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Just…never-mind. OK? Just ignore me.”

He sighed and shuffled to the bed. The moon shone through the window in the cabin’s tiny kitchen area. The snow piled up on the outside ledge. The snowbanks were hip-deep and rising.

There was a small herd of deer roaming the woods still, I could hear their hooves crunching in the snow as they ate tree bark to stave off starvation until spring came.

The other woodland critters were in a deep winter slumber Wouldn’t be hard to find them, dig them out of burrows, bite off their heads, bathe in their hot blood as it steamed in the frozen air. It sounded so good right about now, I could almost taste it.

“You’re drooling.” He pointed at my chin.

I wiped it off with the back of a hand and rubbed it on my jeans.

“Are you hungry?” he asked and held out an arm, rolled up the sleeve of his sweater. It was covered in bite marks, bruises in the shape of fingers- thumb prints dotted around the half-circle teeth marks. Some scabbed, some still raw wounds.

He enjoyed it, the rougher I got with him. It really turned him on. I didn’t like that. Not at all. He was too used to it. There was no fear left, nothing to flavor his blood. Not that there was much left of his blood now. Not after I fed from him for so long without him eating properly.

“You can feed if you want to. It’s time for it anyways.”

My lips twitched. “Fine.”

“Do it like you did last time. It felt so good. I loved it.”

The last time I fed, he begged me to bite his leg, on the inner thigh, high up, near his crotch.

I made a face. I didn’t want to do that. But…he really wanted me to. I could see it. His eyes were hungry for pleasure. Even if his body was weak, he still wanted to feel good.


He was addicted to me.


And it was all my fault.

I couldn’t say no. This was my doing after all.

I didn’t really want to do it, but I had to. I had to take care of his ever-growing need to have me feed from him.

He was aroused before I even pulled his pants off. He didn’t even bother putting on boxers anymore. His hygiene was getting sloppy. I couldn’t recall the last time he took a bath even. His brown hair was getting shaggy and oily. Dirt under his nails. Stubble was at the point where it was starting to grow into a beard. He was always clean shaven, and well groomed. But not now. Now he smelled of sweat and dirt. He didn’t bring enough soap or shampoo or deodorant.

He didn’t bring enough of anything at all.

I stood there, an ache in my jaw. A black hole in my heart. I wanted him, just as much as he wanted me. But…he didn’t taste right anymore. Something was really wrong here.

“Jonah, please. Stop teasing me.”

I looked at him.

He was hard. The tip of his cock was wet.

There was a word for that…couldn't remember it though. Too embarrassed to ask. Not like I’d really need to know. It wasn’t as though I needed sex anymore. I haven’t had the urge once since I changed. Not since IT happened. My only drive now was feeding. Nothing else existed. My body only craved blood. Not food, not sex, not cuddles and conversations and laughing in the sunlight. Just blood.

My normal everyday bodily functions stopped. I assumed that it was because I was mostly dead. Only fluid coming out of me now was that black tarry sludge that runs in my veins.

“Jonah. Come on,” he put a hand out. “I can’t wait much longer.”

I took his hand and walked over to the bed.

He was breathing shallow, fast, hips slowly raising and lowering sensually as I climb onto him, up his legs. He was panting, eyes closed.

“Yes please. There. Right there.” He guided my head down to this thigh. My face brushed against his stiff hard on. He gasped. “Bite me there. Bite me!” Both his hands on my head, digging into my hair, shoving my face towards it.

He wanted me to bite that? No way. I’d bite it clean off.

Do it. Bite it off. Suck him dry. Shut him up. Permanently.

I growled. Teeth grew sharp, dug into my lips, cut the insides of my cheeks.

No more waiting. Kill him now. Do it! Do it!

I shook my head.

I didn’t want to kill him. He was my Mallory. He was the only person I had left. I couldn’t destroy that too. I couldn’t.

No more. No more.

I braced my hands on the mattress, pushed myself up, lifted my face away.

“Stop. I don’t want to do this.”

“Just a bite. Just one. Please, please!” he was shivering, covered in cold sweat. He smelled of sex and desperation, nausea and arousal. Desire and hunger.

“Stop it!” I slapped his hands away, jumped off the bed. Paced. Angry. Red tingeing my vision. “The fuck is wrong with you? That would seriously hurt you. I don’t remember a lot, but I do know that isn’t something a living person would want. At all.”

“Jonah, please. I need it. I need you. I just…if you don’t do it, it hurts. My body aches for your teeth to sink into it. For your tongue to probe the wound as you suck on it and drink your fill.”

I grimaced.

“That is so messed up.”

“You didn’t mind it before.”

“Yeah, well I do now. This has gone too far. We need to stop, before you die.”

“I can’t stop. I can’t. I need you. I need this.”

“No. You don’t. Not like that. You aren’t thinking clearly. This isn’t right. I won’t do it.”

“Jonah, please.”

“No.”

“Please!” he begged, eyes brimming with tears.

“Your desperation is disgusting.”

“I can’t help it.”

“I don’t like it. Stop it.”

“I can’t. Please Jonah, I’ll do anything, anything.” He got on his knees in front of me, grabbed my legs and sobbed. "Please!"

“Get off of me,” I said and shoved him away with a foot. “I don’t like this. It doesn’t feel right.”

“I don’t care. I want it. I want you. I need you. Don’t you understand?”

An invisible knife twisted in my heart, forcing the hole larger. Sorrow poured into my body from the wound it made.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“Don’t say that. You don’t mean it. You’re not thinking clearly. I can help you think, bring you back to yourself.”

“I’m thinking just fine. I can talk and everything. I am in control. And I don’t like what I’m seeing.”

“Yeah, and what’s that?”

“A desperate man, who has stopped taking care of himself and has given in to his addiction.”

He shivered, balled his hands into fists. “I hate you.”

“Not true, if you did this would be easier. Truth is, you love me, and you love how I make you feel, and you don’t care if it kills you. You don’t care if you die.”

“It’s your fault I’m like this! It’s your fault!” he screamed, face contorted in rage, tears in his eyes, body shaking.

He needed his fix. Needed it bad. If I didn’t feed from him soon, his withdrawal would get worse. He’d start throwing up. He couldn’t afford to lose any more bodily fluids. And I didn’t care. I didn’t want this. This wasn’t right. It wasn’t. There had to be another way.

“Do it!” he shouted. “Fucking do it already!”

“No.”

He stood on shaking legs.

“Fine, then I’ll make you,” he said and charged at me, with strength I didn’t know he had left, and knocked me to the ground. Before I could stop him he shoved his forearm into my mouth, forced it wide open.

I bit down instinctively. Harder than I would’ve if I had willingly done it myself.

I didn’t want to, didn’t really need to feed right now, not like he needed me to.

He was desperate. Dying. But my body didn’t care. It did what it always does, and fed on blood. I grabbed his arm and swallowed, ran my tongue across the bite. Digging into the deep wells my teeth made in his flesh.

“Oh shit. Yes. Yes!” He shuddered, moaned in pleasure.

His blood was so thin, so watery. I spat a mouthful of it out in disgust. Tried to get the taste out of my mouth. But it didn’t work. It lingered. It tasted like death.

It was worse than those people the lab fed me. Much worse.

Because it was his, and he didn’t used to taste like this.

I was killing him. Slowly. And I hated it. I hated myself for doing it to him.

I didn’t care at first. I didn’t care as long as I had a full belly. It made the pain stop. But now, feeding gave me a different kind of pain altogether.


It hurt my heart.


Mal sighed in bliss, rolled onto his back on the floor, stared at the ceiling while he lay there naked.

There was a wet spot on my shirt. I touched it and looked at my hand.  The puddle was white and slimy and warm to the touch, but swiftly cooling.

I knew what it was. He came. I bit him and he climaxed. I could smell it, bitter and salty, where it was my shirt. I stood, wiped it off in disgust with a towel.

“Jesus Mal, you are so fucked up now.”

“Mmm…” he said. His eyes dilated, hand limp on his belly, all muscles relaxed, breathing low and slow. He was high. So very high and like all junkies, the high stopped being as intense, and wore off faster the longer he did his drug of choice.

He needed more and more of it to get the same effect as that first hit, that first flying high he got from it.

Me?

I couldn’t drink his blood any more. Not with him like this. It was diluted skim milk. Drinking his thinned blood  was like chugging a gallon of milk flavored water.

It was churning in my stomach.

I felt like I was going to throw up.

I made a face in disgust and went to the kitchen.

The last can of food was open, half eaten, on the table. Ravioli, and not even the meat kind.

He needed meat. Badly. He needed protein and iron and all that stuff that is in meat. He was malnourished, and anemic.

I cleaned up the remains he left. He didn’t even heat his food up anymore, just ate straight from the can. I threw out the piles of dirty paper plates and pop cans. I cleaned up, just to do something so that I didn’t have to think about anything for a bit.

“Hey, where are you?” he asked dreamily.

“In here.”

He shuffled over, clutching his arm where I had wounded him. Thin pink water slipped through his fingers, splatted on the floor.

“Gross.”

“What?”

“Your blood is too thin. I can’t feed from you like this. You’re diluted. It hurts my stomach.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“You need to eat. Your body needs protein, and your food supply is all out. It’s making you weak Mal. It’s not good.”

What I didn’t say, what I couldn’t bring myself to say, was that there was something else off about him now. Not just his behavior, but the fact that I knew, on an instinctive level, that he shouldn’t even be able to stand, let alone be conscious right now with his blood so thin. And yet, he was.

He wasn’t even shaking at the moment. He was mellow, relaxed, he felt good. Looked like the pain from the bite didn’t even register.

I did something to him by only feeding from him like this. I wasn’t just killing him, I was slowly changing him. And one day, he’d wake up and be just like me. I hated that. I didn’t want him to suffer. Not like this.

He swayed drunkenly on his feet, grabbed and clung to my arm. My skin twitched at his touch.

For some reason I didn’t want him to touch me.

His sick body was repulsive.

I gritted my teeth, pulled his fingers off one by one.

“Don’t. Touch. Me.”

He looked at me, confused. Hurt.

“What did I do? Is it really that bad with me?”

“Is what bad?”

“The sex.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The sex. You bite me, get me off. You get pleasure from it. It’s your way of being intimate with me now.”

“No. It’s not. It’s what keeps me alive, keeps my mind somewhat in one piece. It’s…” I knew the words. They were there, at the tip of my tongue. What were they?

“It’s what Jonah?” he asked and sat down at the table. He suddenly sounded so tired, so soul weary.

“Mallory, I’m killing you.”

Just saying it pissed me off. Anger swelled in me. I wanted to hurt someone, break something, anything, but him. Anyone but my Mallory.

He was my Mallory. My. Mallory. I had to take care of him. I had to fix this.

“I’m fine. Really. I just need to eat,” he said, rubbing his hands over his face. The high was already leaving him. It left him drained, tired, aching.

“There isn’t any food left. You ate it all. We’ve been here for two months. You didn't stock up for an entire winter. We weren't supposed to stay here this long.”

“Oh…”

“You don’t sound worried.”

He shrugged. “Should I be?”

“You need to eat. You’re not thinking right, and you are seriously creeping me out.”

“Sorry about that. Can’t help it I guess.”

“Mal, those scientist guys, when they took us from your place? They helped you kick the cravings after you went through withdrawal, right?”

“Not really. They let me go cold turkey and sweat it out for a while. Then after a few weeks they said I was good to go back to work. They monitored me, but assured me that I was fine. I went about a month and a half without thinking about you, or what they might have done to you. And then I overheard a conversation. They were talking about you. I knew it was you, even though they never said your name. I just knew somehow that you were that exact test subject number. I don't know how I knew it, but I did.

"After that, I became obsessed. I had to see you again. I had to know what they did to you. I had to get you someplace safe. I found out where you were being held, and all I could think of was getting you the hell out of there. I knew what they were doing to you. The experiments were inhumane. I couldn't let them hurt you like that any longer. I took a big risk, bribed some people, made my way in to the high security wing, where they were keeping you. When I found the room you were in my heart leapt, I was so happy I felt like crying. Then I opened the door and your condition was... unspeakable. It was horrible, what they did to you. It pissed me off. So much.”

“That bad huh?”

“Yes. You know, I did something, after I broke you out. That’s why we had to go on the run. I don’t know what they’d do if they found me.”

“What did you do?”

“I found the lead researchers that were conducting vivisections on you.” 

The way he said it made my stomach sink. I felt cold, like I swallowed a huge block of ice. I didn't like where this conversation was going.

"What did you do Mal?"

“I gave them a piece of their own medicine. Let them know what it felt like to be conscious and cut open. T-incisions are quite painful. Cutting through the belly muscle is what really got them screaming though.” He smiled viciously. “It was so satisfying.”

I stared at him.

“Are you serious?”

“If I was, what would you do? It’s not like you haven’t killed people. You’ve killed more than I can count. And you weren’t exactly kind about it. Those weren’t mercy killings. You've ripped people’s throats out with your own teeth.”

“That’s not the same.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“I did it to survive. I did it to eat. Not for revenge. At the time I wasn’t anything more than a bloodthirsty animal. It was all instinct. No words, no thoughts. Nothing but urges. I couldn't think until after I fed. And by then, it was too late.”

“There are plenty of animals in the world that commit revenge murder. Apes, dolphins, whales and so on and so on and so on.”

“Doesn’t make it right.”

“Who are you to judge? Huh? You didn’t see what they did to you. You have no idea how bad it was. So shut the hell up.”

I turned my back to him. He was right. Of course he was right.

I had no right to say what I did. I was just as bad, if not worse than him. I was the real monster here, not him. If I hadn’t tracked him down after IT happened, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“For what?”

“Everything.”

I needed to make this right. I had to help him. He needed red meat. It would make his blood taste better. It would cure his current condition, make it tolerable to be near him again.

I hadn’t been up for long. The winter nights here were longer. I liked that. I could stay awake more, enjoy more of the day. Night. Whatever. I had plenty of time to find something for him to eat.

“I’m going out,” I said abruptly.

“Why? Where would you even go? We’re in the middle of nowhere.”

He sounded like a confused child. He was rubbing his temples.

“Headache?”

“Yes.”

“Come here, sit down by the fire.”

I guided him to the chair, wrapped him back up in a thick blanket.

“Stay here. Keep warm. I’ll be back soon. I gotta get you more food. Eating will take care of your headache. Besides, if you don’t eat soon, you’ll die.”

“Death wouldn’t be so bad,” he murmured. “As long as I was with you.”

In a way, he was right. At this point, death would be welcome. Too much pain, too much suffering. All of it? My fault.

His current state was because of me, because of what I did when I had no control over my actions. I had to get him meat. I had to fix his blood-- before I got extremely hungry again. Before I forgot that Mallory was my friend. Was/Is my lover…and that we could’ve done more with each other’s bodies if I was still alive.

His addiction to me, to the darkest parts of me, to the abyss of my soul, would devour us both whole, and leaving nothing but the blackest depths of despair behind.

“I’ll be back soon. Stay warm.”

“All right. Hey, Jonah?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

“I know.”

I stepped out into the crisp winter air. The moon was full, the snow bright. It was easy to smell everything now. Must be the cold.

The wind was picking up, it was bitter and biting. Snow was falling, heavy flakes audibly hitting the snowbanks and the trees. Blanketing the world in a hush of quiet death.

The cold and the heavy snowfall slowed me down a bit, but I didn’t let that stop me. I had to find something for him to eat.

It took me an hour or so of hunting to run down and kill a deer. A straggler, but not so sick that the meat and blood were bad. I ran, leapt onto it, ripped its throat open with my razor-sharp teeth. It made an awful baying noise when I tore off its flesh.  It’s legs spasmed and kicked as I drank my fill of its lifeblood.

It didn’t really fill me up, not like Mal’s blood ever did, but it took the edge off.

It felt like I had a day or two before I’d start to lose myself again. The fear of what I would do to him once I blacked out and lost control spurred me on through the heavy snowfall.

I dragged the deer carcass away from the kill zone, covered the bloody snow; unsure if it would block out the scent, but instinct told me to do it, so I did anyways.

I grew my nails out, as long as they would go, the length of a folding pocket knife blade. They were so sharp, they easily unzipped the deer hide from the flesh.

I dumped the hide about a mile downwind from the cabin, along with the head and guts. I ripped the tongue out and chewed on it while I sliced off hunks of meat from the sides, haunches and legs. Then I walked back with a huge armload of dripping meat.

I planned on taking care of the blood trail in the snow after I cooked the venison and made Mal eat it. I could easily freeze the rest by leaving it on the shaded side of the cabin. It'd be enough for at least a few weeks.

It would be enough.

I was so focused on feeding the one who feeds me, that I didn’t notice it at first.

I didn’t notice how the annoying voices in my head got stranger, more guttural, more animalistic, louder. There were more of them, at least a dozen different voices fighting for room in my head.

Here’s here. He’s here, he’s here.
Meat!
Meat! Meat!
Meeeaaat!
Don’t kill it. Take it. Take it to Her.
Who?
HER.

I got within half a mile of the cabin, downwind, and something smelled awful. My mind immediately flashed to when I sliced my throat open with the smashed piece of porcelain sink at Mal’s apartment. Thick black sludge for blood. Crude oil in my veins.

Distracted by the foul odor, and unable to see much ahead of me due to the heavy snowfall, I tripped on a sink hole in the snow. The meat flew out of my hands. Wet chunks slapped onto the white crust of the snow bank.

"That wasn’t there before. What the hell?"

I pulled myself up, and saw that it wasn’t a melted sinkhole, it was a tunnel. It was dug out by clawed hands, up from under the earth.

Oh. Shit.

A conversation from months ago popped into my head:

"They're like ants Mallory! They're the workers and SHE is the queen."

I shivered and stared at the black pit at the bottom of the hole.

My breathing stopped.

I went still.

I could FEEL them, like maggots burrowing in my head. They were near. HER brood. They found me.

They've never been this close before.

Voices, so many voices, visions of what they were doing slammed into my mind, drowning out my eyesight in terrifying flashes. They were in the cabin. They had Mallory. They were dragging him outside into the freezing night air, fighting others that wanted to eat him. But, they weren’t allowed to do that. SHE wanted him alive.

The wind started howling, blowing snow around in a thick sheet of white. I could hear them running over the snowbanks, dragging something away from the cabin.

“Mallory!” I shouted and ran to the cabin, stumbling in the multiple foot and hand prints they left in the snow. The tracks made by people running on all fours, like animals.

The door was ripped off, hanging by a hinge, creaking in the wind. Everything inside was shredded. There were bite marks on the furniture. Bloody streaks on the floor. It was his blood. I could smell it.

Where were they? Where did they go?

I rushed out, looking for him, panicked. They ran off before I could get close. They sensed me, the same way that I felt their presence.

I was out hunting for longer than I had thought. I took too long. They must’ve been sitting here in the tunnel for weeks, waiting for us to separate so that they could get their filthy claws on him.

"Mallory!"  The roar of my voice echoed through the empty winter night. He was gone.

My Mallory was gone.

I had just gotten him back, gotten myself back, and they took him from me.

I had to find him. I had to get him back. I had to fix this.

I growled as rage took over. My teeth and nails lengthened to razor-sharp points, my muscles bunched and grew stronger as I drew on the power of the blood in my belly.

The world was tinted red. Anger seared my veins, heated me up to the boiling point.  I screamed in rage. A primal, fierce sound.

They took him.

They took him!

THEY TOOK HIM!


Kill.

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

KILL THEM ALL!

Tear them apart, set their tar blood on fire, crack open their rib cages and rip their hearts out and devour them. Devour them all!


You can read Parts 9 and 10 here. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cancer’s Requiem: A Free Story from WE ARE ALL MONSTERS


CANCER'S REQUIEM is one of the stories that can be found in my collection WE ARE ALL MONSTERS. You can read it in it's entirety here. 

They lived in that place for years and it, like his life, just went up in flames.

He wanted to cry. But he just stood there with an odd little smile on his face, like the kid in elementary school who got caught shooting spitballs at the teacher.

It had squealed. That hideous creature. It screamed as it burned to ash.

His wife Maria had said it was cancer. But he knew better.

It wasn’t cancer that killed her.

It was that thing, that demon. Its foreboding presence lingered, hovering over them the whole ride back from their ill-fated trip.

It was supposed to be a vacation, a nice week long excursion to the city that ended in catastrophe.

It had started as a sore on her neck. An angry, red, swollen lump just below hairline.

“Don’t scratch it. You’ll make it worse.”

They went to all sorts of shops that day. Later, he’d revisit them in his mind, retreading the places where they were last, just as he always did when he had lost something important, trying to find where she had lost her life.

He re-walked the phantom streets in his mind, night after night lying next to her ever-fading frame, trying to find the exact moment when that damned thing bit her and devoured her from the inside out like an invisible lamprey eel.

They spent her last winter putting things in order. First the furniture. Then her clothes. Then the pots and pans, the books, the cluttered pile of things that was their life together.

He couldn’t sleep.

Not with that thing hovering over her.

Maria clung to her life until her strength ran out. Until that damned thing drained her dry.

Then, it was six weeks of pure hell, of morphine drips and dirty sheets and people telling him it's OK to grieve. But he couldn’t. She was his life. And now she was gone.

Family and friends came, a blur of faces and condolences. The funeral was over all too fast.

All that was left was John. He drank the next three days straight. The love of his life, his anchor, was gone.

Devoured. Chewed up and spat out.

Three nights to the hour after she passed, It came back, for him.

He had fallen asleep on the couch in front of the fireplace, his only companions a half bottle of gin and a knitted comforter.

He woke up, unaware of ever falling asleep.

The only light came from the fading embers in the fireplace. He saw Maria standing behind the couch, her reflection on the TV screen.

“Time for bed John.”

“Sure.”

He yawned and paused.

Her reflection wasn’t right.

She was never that tall and lanky, never that pale.

The floorboards behind him creaked and he whirled, dropping his bottle of gin on the floor.

They stood staring at one another like startled deer in headlights; him standing there, clutching Maria's knitted comforter to him like armor. It stood just feet away. Both of them waiting for the other to make the first move.

It stood on backward bending legs. It had hands with three hideous, rusted, hypodermic needle fingers. He could see its ribs and collar bone, even hip bones. A long neck craned up and back like a question mark. Bald head, milky albino pink eyes stared at him. It didn’t have a nose, just a pair of slits where it should be. Long spindly arms hung down to its feet. The needle fingers lightly scraping the wood floor as it waited for him to move.

John's heart pounded in his ears. His body felt like ice. He was right. All along. It wasn't cancer.

It was a demon.

The TV screeched to life and the picture burst into snow.

The sound made him jump.

Then it was gone, leaving no sign of its presence, as though it had never even been there.

He scratched the back of his neck, telling himself that it was just paranoia that made it itch. It had to be. The thing didn’t get close enough to touch him. It couldn’t have. He checked the back of his neck every morning after that, waiting for the red lump to rise up and signal his imminent death.

It came back three days later.

He was in the front room, tending the fire.

The back screen door whined as it opened and slammed shut.

The floorboards creaked behind him.

He tightened his grip on the heavy metal poker and spun around.

It was closer than he thought. He swung the poker and it batted it away. He tried to push past the thing but it was too fast. It grabbed him, slammed him down and pinned him to the floor.

Its needle fingers wrapped around his throat. The sharp pointed ends were about to push into the back of his neck when Maria rose up over them, wielding the fire poker like the sword of an avenging angel.

She skewered the damn thing through the head. The poker barely missed hitting him. He stared at her as she wrangled the beast away and shoved into the fireplace.

It squealed an unearthly scream as it started to burn.

“I missed you.”

“I never left,” she said and helped him up. She was cold to the touch. He could see through her, even though her hands were in his. “Hurry. You must go.”

“But-”

She ushered him to the front door.

“I love you. We’ll see each other again. I promise.”

He tried to take her with him but the minute he stepped foot outside the demon sprang out of the fireplace, sending a spray of red hot embers everywhere.

“Run!” she yelled.

He backed off the porch not once taking his eyes off them. His dead wife and her demon, cancer, fought once more in the living room. The very room she had died in.

The house went up in flames as the embers devoured everything around them.

The demon tried to run after him and she tackled it and held it down.

It writhed and screeched in her arms.

Maria looked up at him and smiled the ceiling collapsed, and they disappeared in a wall of flame.

He hand went up to his lips.

Maria had saved his life.

“We’ll be together soon. I promise.”

John smiled and walked away.

Cancer had killed her.

But their love, in return, had changed it to naught but ash.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Submissions Open for YA Horror Anthology Locker Shockers!



Locker Shockers is a Young Adult horror anthology.  The theme is Urban Legends. 


Deadline August 31st, 2017

Edited by Cassie Carnage





The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (GLAHW)  is looking for 5,000 word stories about young adults and their encounters with the paranormal entities of urban legends.

Such as:


  •     Creatures living in the rain sewers
  •     Aliens
  •     Vampires living next door
  •     Children who mysteriously died when breaking into school at night
  •     Bloody Mary
  •     Slenderman
  •     Possessed/haunted school objects- computers, phones, furniture, appliances, pictures,    trophies, mirrors etc.
  •     Ouija boards that keep showing up, even after they are burnt and their ashes are thrown out
  •     Paranormal Games, like the Charlie, Charlie Challenge


When you were a teenager did your friends tell you scary stories about your home town or school?

Think back to your own childhood for inspiration. What scared you then? Channel that into your young character’s psyche and run with it.

Submission Guidelines:


5,000 Firm Word Count. Please note that you  can go over the word count, but not under this amount.

The main character must be between the ages 13 and 18 years of age for it to be considered a Young Adult horror story.

Keep your story PG-13. No graphic sex, no hate speech, no gratuitous violence, no torture porn, no revenge porn. Keep swearing to a minimum. (Anything that can be said on night time television is acceptable.)

Please follow the proper manuscript format, which can be found here for your reference: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Submissions that do not follow the proper manuscript format will not be considered for publication.

Multiple submissions are accepted. However, simultaneous submissions with other publications are not.

All authors published in Locker Shockers will receive a contributor’s copy.

Locker Shockers: Urban Legends

Deadline August 31st, 2017

Please email all submissions to cassie@bloodywhisper.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Her Rotten Embrace: A Free Horror Story from My WE ARE ALL MONSTERS Story Collection!


HER ROTTEN EMBRACE is one of the stories that can be found in my collection WE ARE ALL MONSTERS. You can read it in it's entirety here. 
You thought you could get away with it. You thought that I would forget. You thought wrong.

The waters of the swamp, her waters, never forget. Nor does she forgive. Nor would she let me pass on. She kept me in her rotten embrace for years; long after my body decayed and my bones were picked clean by the animals that crawled through her muddy bottom.

She kept me warm and safe. And she talked to me, told me things. About how we were going to wait, patiently, until the man who murdered me returned.

"Revenge," she whispered.

"Revenge," she cried.

Her voice could be heard in the songs of the frogs, the chorus of the crickets, the plaintive cries of the birds.

She pulled my bones up out of the muck and the mire. From the center of her hot, muddy heart, where all dead things are welcomed into her bosom. And sometimes, sometimes, she pushed them back out.

She said my time had come. She woke me up. She stitched my bones back together. Wrapped her roots and vines around them, raw vegetation serving as sinew and muscle. Mud and algae, worms, beetles, rodents; covered me, formed my new flesh. Let me move again.

I walked through the water, slowly rising from the center of the swamp. Strings of algae and rotten leaves pull up with me, trailing behind me as I go. It pained me to leave her. But, I knew that I would return to her bosom soon.

I could see again. Blurry shapes, sometimes in focus, sometimes not, as I slugged myself through the shallows of the swamp. It was night. I could catch glimpses of stars overhead, flashes of lightning bugs here and there as they slowly called out for mates. Clouds of mosquitoes buzzed around me, attracted by the warmth of my swampy flesh.

She lovingly caressed my feet as I stepped out onto land, I could feel her love in the things that squirmed in the mud that held together my new body.

"There. Look. The headlights." 

Yellow lights streamed through the trees.

I remembered those lights. Filtering through the trees as he dragged my dying body to its grave in the swamp.

A trunk of a car opened. The hinges squealed.

It was the same car. The same one that drove me here. The same one I rode in, as I was taken to my final resting place.

Someone whimpered. The sound told me that he had another victim to offer to the swamp.

I hid behind a tree, waiting, watching.

He stood at the back of the car, finishing smoking a cigarette. Tossed the butt to the ground, looked around, as if he could feel someone's eyes on him, before he turned to face his latest victim.

He was older now. Thinner, balding, dark circles under his eyes. His leather jacket worn in places. The car, rusted near the wheel wells, had seen better days.

The swamp murmured, sending out vines and tree roots to greet him.

He didn't notice. He was too busy leering over the girl in the trunk. She was tied up, duct tape over her mouth, hog tied with it, wrapped around her wrists and ankles. The swamp grew over the car tires, wrapped around the door handles, cementing the car shut with her sticky, rotting vegetation.

"It's time. Move now."

The swamp urged me forward. She knew it pained me, seeing him again. He broke my heart, poisoned me, and dumped me here to die a slow, agonizing death.

My pain became her pain when I sunk into her murky depths.

The swamp no longer wished to feel my pain. She selfishly wanted me to get my revenge so that neither of us had to feel that way ever again.

I stepped up behind him.

Tried to speak, but there was no sound, just a squishing of mud and squirming insects.

The girl's eyes widened. She screamed; it was muffled behind the duct tape.

She saw me.

I reached out, and he turned to see who was behind him.

He froze. I could see my silhouette in his eyes. Lumpy vegetation in the shape of a woman. Long tendril tree roots for hair. Burning white pinpoints of lights in my eye sockets. The jaw bone showed a bit beneath the rotting leaves that made up my face.

"You?"

I made a sound; a low, pained moan. I wanted to say it was me, and even though no words passed my muddy lips, he knew. He knew the moment his eyes met mine, who I was, and what he had done to me.

All color drained from his face, the way that I wanted to drain all his blood from his body. I wanted to crush him, I wanted to tear him apart, limb from limb.

"Yes. Do it," the swamp urged. "Destroy his flesh. Make him un-whole."

I smiled.

It had been so long since I had something to smile about.

His fear made me happy.

"No. No. You're not real! You're not! I killed you!"

He ran to grab his gun from the front seat. The car doors wouldn't budge. They were wrapped shut; the swamp wouldn't let him in.

He ran back to the trunk, pulled out the girl, dropped her and grabbed the tire iron. He hit my head- the tire iron sank into my new flesh. He tried to pull it out, but it was stuck fast.

I reached out, wrapped my green and brown slimy arms around his torso, and squeezed.

Steam rose from my new flesh. The heat from rotting leaves and animal bodies, rose up into the air.

And he screamed. 


He kicked and struggled and tried to pull free, but it was no use. Braced his feet on my shins, to push away from my vice grip, and they sunk into my legs with a schlupping sound. The more he struggled, the more he sank into me.

The swamp laughed--delighted in his panicked death throws. The birds, the animals, the insects, the wind, they all laughed.

The girl rolled away as her attacker sank into my body, his face smothered by my chest as he was pulled in further. His legs and arms buried into me, his hands and feet sticking out the other side of the body the swamp made for me.

His screams came faintly from inside of my body. The vibration tickled, it agitated the insects in my body, making it squirm and writh in time with his screams.

The girl rolled away. She couldn't break free from the duct tape binding her arms and legs.

My body was heavier now, weighed down by the man. I shuffled slowly to her. She shook her head no. I bent down to remove her bonds.

"No," the swamp whispered. "She comes too. She is dying. Poisoned, like you were. I can save her. Preserve her, like I preserved you."

I grabbed her by the feet, dragged her along behind us. Her struggles weakened with every step.

Soon, she grew quiet.

The swamp, she never lied.

I took them into her bosom, into the dark, warm, fetid depths of the swamp. Her bacteria and animals stripped the flesh off their bones. The man was placed between the girl and myself, and here we lay, to this day, whispering our hatred for him, for the man we both once loved.

The swamp's waters swelled with pride. She stopped my pain.

And now, we all torment him, eternally.






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We Are All Monsters: Scary Horror Story Collection

Friday, October 7, 2016

Addicted to the Abyss Vampire Serial Parts 5 and 6 are Here!

Part 5  Human Pincushion with Paring Knives


Mallory was underneath me, grunting in pain.

“Have another one. You like it,” I said. It’s my voice, but it’s not really MY voice. It doesn’t sound right.

“No,” he said through gritted teeth. “I don’t.”

“You said you’d occupy me for a while. So occupy me.” I shoved another paring knife into his hand. It looked like a pincushion made with thin-bladed paring knives. I kept stabbing them into his flesh, just deep enough so that they would stand up on their own. It amused me.

There were bigger blades were scattered all around us on the floor.

I had plans for those.

“Stop. You don’t want to do this.”

“I don’t?”

I looked at my hand. It was covered in a slick glove of his red, red blood. Liquid velvet. Sweet like fire. I took another sip from the glass. It’s two-thirds of the way full now. I bled him out, like a keg of beer, except it wasn’t beer because he’s human.
Human.

Not like me at all.

Just a man. A fragile sack of meat and bone. A canteen of blood, just for me.

I laughed. “You’re a canteen.”

He stared at me in horror. It made me smile wider. My teeth were so sharp, they effortlessly bit my lower lip, and I didn’t care. I could bite him. Make him moan under my lips and teeth. Under me.

A wisp of a memory floats to the surface. He moaned under me once. Both of us naked. Sweating. Writhing. Limbs entwined. Hips thrusting. Shoving into him faster and faster until the sweet, sweet release. It felt so good.

But that was a long time ago. I can’t do things like that anymore. Not really. Didn’t have the urges. Didn’t even care about that. Why was I remembering it now?

What was I doing again? Oh. That’s right.

So many knives. So little time. But if I use them all I’d kill him. I had to save some for later.
I stood up and Mallory curled up around his poor pincushion hand. All the little paring knives were stabbed through his palm in a little cluster of plastic handles. Red and blue and green and white and yellow. All together like pick up sticks or sparklers.

“I had sparklers once. During the fourth of July. I waved them around and they sparkled and spit colored fire everywhere and landed on people and the ground, and clothes and the dog and then he beat me for it. He beat me. I think he was my dad. Or step-dad. Or maybe my mom’s boyfriend or something.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“That is a horrible memory.”

I shrugged. “It won’t be around for long. There’s plenty I’ll never remember. Plenty I forget as soon as I recall them. It’s just the way it is now.”

I drank the rest of his blood, emptied the glass. Then picked up a nasty looking carving knife and looked down at him. He grimaced in pain and curled up like a fetus around his poor bloodied hand.

“No more. Please. You’ve had enough.”

“You know, you’re right. This job is hazardous to your health.” I crouched down in front of him and twanged the tip of the blade with a finger. “Good thing you got insurance, huh?”

Crying. Always crying. Why the fuck do you always cry you little piece of shit? Fists come down on me like baseball-sized hail. He smelled like liquor. Like booze. Like pain. I hated him. I HATED him! That’s why I ran away. That’s why. Bastard.

Did I go back for him? After I died and became this way? Did I kill that sick fuck? If I did, did I do it for the satisfaction of it? For revenge? Would I even remember it if I did? 

“Tell me about your father.” I knelt beside him, grabbed his hair and pulled his head up while holding the knife point just inches from his eye. “Tell me about him.”

He pulled his head back away from the blade, and I let him. If I hurt him too much he’d scream and then he wouldn’t be able to talk to me. I liked talking to him. He listened. No one else listened. No one.

“My father?” he asked, his voice light and airy.

“Yeah. Your dad. Tell me about him. Go on. Do it.”

“Let go of me first.”

“Bargaining again?”

He nodded. I let go of his head and kneeled on his shins. They’re bony but I don’t care.

He sat up slowly, and I saw that there was another knife in the center of that paring blade pincushion. A long, gently curved fish filleting knife. It had gone through his hand and into the floor. He couldn’t raise his hand without sliding it further up on the blade. So he kept it down on the floor.

“My father was a good man. He meant well, and worked long hard hours.  But he was never really there for me. Or my mom.”

“What happened to your mom?” I asked. Don’t know why I did that, but I did.

“She died in a car accident. Drunk driver did her in,” he said.

His words sounded hollow, haunted, like he had carried the weight of her death for a very long time.

“Who was it? Who killed her?”

“My dad. He died too. Drove right into her car. Swerved into the opposite lane, head-on collision.”

“Shit.”

For some reason, it made me incredibly sad to hear that. I didn’t even know his parents. But, still. It meant that he was alone. Just like I was. Just like I had been for a very long time. Longer than I could even remember now. Or would be able to remember, later on.

It sucked.

“You used to being alone then?” I asked.

He nodded.

He was in so much pain, and I felt fantastic. That bothered me, now that I could think clearly again.


The empty glass on the floor had a thin residue of blood in it. His blood. I drank the whole thing. It felt good. Haven’t drunk my fill in a while. He was starving me. Making me beg for food. Making me wait and wait and wait for his blood. I was sick of it. It drove me mad. So I broke out. And now I was finally full.

My entire body was zinging. I felt ALIVE. Like I could do anything. Take on anyone. My soul and my mind were on fire. Burning so bright. Words and memories and feelings and scents and flavors, everything was racing through my mind at 1,000 miles per hour. It was beautiful. I loved it. And I knew…I knew that this was as good as it got. Once the buzz wore off. Once that high was over. I wouldn’t remember any of this. Hell, next time I might not even remember my own name, let alone who Mallory was.

Damn. I liked him. I asked him for help. He let me come here. Let me stay with him.

And what did I do? I hurt him. Bad.

He was just trying to help.

What was wrong with me? Why did I do that to him?

There were long thin cuts running up his arms. His shirt was ripped open. I bit him, almost took his left nipple clean off. But that didn’t strike me as funny now. Back when I did it, I laughed. He screamed in pain, a sharp high-pitched sound of agony and I laughed so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I had to compose myself before I drank from his wound. Before I grabbed a glass from the kitchen cupboard and filled it with his blood.

But now, I was just sad. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream.

I stood up.  I was so angry. At myself, and at him, for letting me do that. Why did he let me do that to him? Doesn’t he care what happens to him? Doesn’t he know how dangerous I am?

Mallory shifted his weight and turned very slowly to face away from me. The way you would if you didn’t want an enraged dog to rip your throat out.

“Don’t ever offer to occupy my time again. Next time you do that, I might not be able to stop myself. Next time, I might wake up to find that I’ve turned you into hamburger. Understand?”

He nodded. Didn’t take his eyes off the floor the entire time I spoke. He was terrified. Cowed. A feeling of complete and utter submission came off him in invisible waves and hit me like a slap in the face. I could almost smell his fear. I could almost taste it on the air.

I moved the knives away from him, shoved them across the kitchen floor. They hit the walls and scattered in every direction.

“Why do you have so many knives? Are you stupid or something? Did you not think that I wouldn’t use them on you? Seriously Mallory, you should’ve prepped better. You should’ve made this place safe for you to keep me in. I’m nothing more than animal now. You know that right? Pretty soon, I won’t even be yelling at you, just growling and snarling and biting the shit out of you. Hey, I’m talking to you. Say something damn it!” I kicked his leg.

He grunted and sat there, staring at his hand like he was trying to figure out how to take the knives out as fast as possible, even though it would hurt to do it.

I sighed and wrapped my hand around all of them, and yanked them out in one sure motion. He screamed and curled up into a tight ball, cradled his hand to his chest. His blood flowed down it in rivulets. Such a waste. I did that.

I wasted him.

It made me sick to my stomach.

I tossed the knives in the kitchen sink. Disgusted.

What to do, what to do?

Let him die
Let him lay there and cry like the pussy he is
Then

KILL HIM!

Eat him whole. Devour him, body and soul. Do it! Do it now! 

“Shut up,” I muttered to the voices in my head. They were getting louder every day. They weren’t my thoughts. They were someone, or something else’s thoughts, being transmitted into my brain from somewhere nearby.

Paranoid, I looked around the apartment, out the security peephole,  everywhere. There was no one else here. No one but myself, and Mallory. Just the two of us. No one else.

I sighed, licked his blood off my hands until they were clean. No sense wasting it. Then I figured out what to do with him.

“Looks like it’s my turn to patch you up,” I said, and grabbed the First Aid kit.

I wasn’t as good at it as he was. But I tried. Put those butterfly closures on the huge hole going through his hand, and wrapped it in gauze. Taped it on. Covered the bite wound on his chest too. And the cuts on his arms. Then I squatted on the floor next to him. Mallory just sat there, mute, pale-faced, wide-eyed,  shivering uncontrollably. A puddle of urine formed beneath him on the floor. I could smell the ammonia. I smelled it before I knew that he had pissed himself.

He was scared. He was so scared he couldn’t think. Or maybe he was thinking. Thinking that he was in way over his head. That I’d kill him before he could save me. That maybe it wasn’t worth the pain, this love.

He’d be right though. I wasn’t worth the pain. I wasn’t worth the suffering. I wasn’t worthy of his love. I wasn’t. Not at all.

I picked him up and took him into the shower and rinsed him off.  Poor thing. Most people did that when they were tortured. But I guess some do it afterwards? Was he in shock now? Wouldn’t know.

Would I?



Maybe I did.

He was embarrassed and ashamed and in pain and I did this to him. I hurt him. I did it. It was all me.

I didn’t want to. Didn’t mean to. Couldn’t control myself. Didn’t even remember getting out of the restraints or the room or going to the kitchen and pulling out every single drawer and dumping them on the floor and then hitting him in the face with one as he walked in the front door. He dropped the bags he was carrying. Milk spilled on the floor. Shit. I needed to clean that up too.

“Why?” he whispered.  “Why did you do that? Why are you doing this now? I don’t understand.”

“Hush. Let me help you.”

He was shivering uncontrollably. His teeth were starting to chatter. Wait…was the water too cold? I didn’t think it was but it’s all the way over on the coldest setting and I didn’t even notice. I turned the shower handle the other way and the bathroom began to steam up. Ah. It was ice-cold water. I remembered to turn it down after a second so that I didn’t burn him. I didn’t want to hurt him anymore tonight.

I didn’t want to hurt him ever again.

“Is that warm enough?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Good.”

I couldn’t stand to see him so upset. I couldn’t say anything to make it better.  How could I? What could I possibly say? That I was sorry? How the hell would that make anything any better?

I took off his clothes, got him naked, and washed him off the best I could. I was clumsy about it, like I hadn’t used soap or shampoo in a very long time. I stood there staring at the shampoo bottle for a few minutes before I remembered that to open it you had to flip the top up. I shook my head, poured out what looked like enough and lathered his hair up. Then I realized that I should’ve taken the bandages off BEFORE starting the shower and soaping him up.

I felt so stupid.

I rinsed the shampoo out, left him sitting in the tub, hugging his knees to his chest with the nice hot water pouring over him, and grabbed some scissors from the other room.

When I walked over and held them up, his eyes grew wide and he backed up until he ran into the shower wall and could do no further.

“No. No. No more. No! Please. No more!”

“Easy. Easy now. I need to cut off the gauze I taped around your hand. It’s getting all soapy and shit. That’s not good for wounds. Right?”

I gestured to his hand.

He blinked, like my words took a moment to register and then he nodded and held out his hand. I took it gently and cut off the gauze. I removed it from his arms and chest too.

“Don’t…don’t put soap in them. It’ll burn.”

“I’ll try not to.”

He nodded and let me finish washing him up.

“There’s hydrogen peroxide in the cabinet. Use that on my wounds.”

I opened the mirrored cabinet over the broken sink. I did that. I broke it with my bare hands. Slammed my fists down on it, slit my throat with a razor sharp shard of porcelain. I wanted to die. He wouldn’t let me. He sewed my neck back up. Restrained me. Cleaned up in here and  covered the sharp broken off ends of the sink with masking tape.

“This one?” I held up the brown bottle.

“Yes.”

He let me pour the strange fizzing stuff on him and I watched, mesmerized. I waited until it was done bubbling and rinsed him off. Then I wrapped him in a few towels, dried him off and redressed his wounds.

He just stood there in the bathroom, staring at the wall.

“Come on.” I gently pushed him by the shoulders. He stopped walking when his foot hit the wooden floor beyond the bathroom. I picked him up, he didn’t protest. He felt so light to me. Like I could carry him all day and not even get tired.  I set him down on the couch, and pulled the thick comforter over him.

He was in so much pain. And so very tired. He was physically and emotionally drained. That much, I understood. And I knew that it was all my fault. All of it.

I mopped up the floor, swept up the mess from the spilled groceries. Put everything back in the drawers. Picked up as best as I could. The entire time he watched me move.

He said nothing.

I said nothing.

There was nothing I could say about this.

I was a monster. I wished he would accept it. I wasn’t human anymore. And I never would be, ever again.


I pulled a chair over from the kitchen table and turned it around. I straddled the seat, rested my arms over the back and just watched  him. We stared at each other for a while, before he teared up and turned his back to me and started crying uncontrollably. The way I wished I could when I was angry and hurt and didn’t want to live anymore.

It made my chest ache, seeing him sob like that. He grabbed the back couch cushion and shoved it into his face and screamed into it.

It broke my heart. Shattered it into a million pieces. It felt like all those knives I had stabbed into him, were now lodged firmly in my chest.

The comforter fell to the floor. That’s when I saw that he was still naked. I forgot to get him clothes.

What the…How could I forget that?

I should do something. I should give him comfort. Did I even know how? Don’t know. Not sure. But I should try to do something.  Anything was better than sitting here letting him cry like that.

I sat on the edge of the couch, slowly reached out a hand and put it on his back.

“Don’t touch me!” he screamed. “Leave me alone. Just…leave me alone.”

I pulled away and stood up.

I really fucked up this time. I really, really did.

I shoved my hands in my pants pockets. My clothes were soaking wet. Didn’t bother me. Didn’t feel the cold anymore. Hardly notice the heat, save that it made me move better.

“You’re lucky I didn’t kill you.”

“Fuck you."

 Is that how I say it when I'm mad?

It hurt. His words hurt me. Something caught in my throat. I think it was sorrow. I shook my head. No point feeling that way. It’s not like I could cry anymore.

“I remember now. My name is Jonah,” I said and turn away from him to go pick up some things I missed that were still on the kitchen floor.

“What?” he asked and sat up. His face was red and blotchy, wet from crying.

“My name,” I said and bent down and starting throwing stray utensils in an open drawer. “It’s Jonah. Like you said.”

He stared at me. The words took a moment to sink in. His brain was slow from being worked up like that. He clutched a worn couch cushion to his chest and sighed.

“Jonah,” he said in a soft voice. “Such a nice name.”

“If you say so.”

He stood on shaking legs and shuffled over to me. His every step sounded painful. I straightened up. He stood there with the comforter wrapped around him. He looked like a caterpillar.

“I need painkillers.”

I nodded and looked around. In drawers, under things, until I found a bottle of aspirin.

“Is this okay?”

“It’ll have to do,” he said with a weary sigh.

He wanted something with more kick. I could tell.

“What you really need is morphine, or strong shit like codeine or something.”

He glared at me and held out a hand, the wounded one was gripping the comforter, holding it up.

“Give me the damned bottle Jonah.”

“Fine. Take it.” I shoved it into his hand. He couldn’t get the top off. Not while trying to hold the comforter up around his naked body. Not with his mutilated hand. The hand I turned into a pincushion with paring knives.

I took it from him and opened it and poured out a good handful.

“How much you want?”

“The whole bottle,” he muttered.

“Uh, won’t that kill you?”

“Sarcasm. Learn it,” he said and grabbed almost half of the mound I poured out into my hands.

I put the rest in the bottle and set it on the counter.

“Sarcasm. Got it.”

He shuffled to the sink tossed the pills back in his mouth and drank water straight from the tap.

God this was pathetic. I need to do something. We need to get out of here. Before this place consumed us. Before I consumed us.

I wonder where my car ended up…

I looked around.

It was about an hour before sun up. We had been at it most of the night. I had around forty minutes before the sun started to rise.

I threw on my boots and took his jacket without asking. He whirled around when he saw me putting on clothes.

“Where are you going?”

He sounded panicked. Scared. He knew he couldn’t do shit to stop me.

“Out. I’ll be back.”

“Where?”

I put my hands on his shoulders. “Just down the street. Got any cash?”

“What for?”

“You need something stronger than aspirin. Don’t tell me you don’t. And you need something to eat,” I said and pointed to his stomach. It had been growling for a few minutes now.

“I have cash in my wallet.”

“Cool.”

I found his pants in the bathroom, pulled the wallet out, took the money out and paused. There’s a picture in it. It’s of him with a guy. They’re posed together on a bench in front of a fountain. It’s a nice, sunny day. Summer time. They look happy together. Bermuda shorts, flip flops, healthy tans, white tank tops with open Hawaiian shirts over it. The ones with the bright tropical floral prints. Mallory’s is blue, the other guy is wearing a red one.

Mallory has his arm around the guy like he owns him. Like guys do with their girlfriends when they pose for pictures. The man looks familiar. Have I seen him somewhere? Those hazel eyes. That trendy hair cut, light brown hair with dyed blonde highlights. His big smile. I knew that man.

Shit…

Who was that?

Mallory popped up in the doorway. “You’re running out of night-time. You better hurry.”

I dropped his wallet and the picture. Not on purpose. I tried to act like I did though. I mean, why should I care if he sees me staring at a picture of him and his…

Wait. Was that me?

No. No way. That couldn’t have been me. Could it?

“Don’t be gone too long,” he said.

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll be back.”

“Don’t get lost. I mean it.”

“I won’t. I’ll be back before sunrise.”

I left.

It was the first time I’d been out in months.


The night air smelled great.

We were in a city. It was fall.

Huh. I didn’t know that much time had passed. Last I remembered it was spring.

Dead leaves skittered across the street while more fell from the trees. I walked past people. Most didn’t even give me a second glance, if they bothered to look up while they walked. City people. Don’t ask, don’t look, don’t get involved. Rules of the concrete jungle.

There was a blue sign with an H and an arrow pointing down the road. I remembered that it meant that there was a hospital that way.

I followed the signs.

That guy, in the picture, he looked familiar. Couldn’t remember where I saw him though. His face nagged at me as I walked down the sidewalk. Maybe that was me. Maybe that’s what I looked like before IT happened.

I slipped in through the emergency room doors. I didn’t want to be noticed. No one did. Not when they were about to steal from a hospital.

I fell silent. I didn’t even breathe. I willed myself invisible to them, and no one saw me. People looked right through me. Every once in a while someone stepped out of my way or shivered as I passed by, but no one said a word.

I followed the signs and eventually, I found what I was looking for; the nurse’s station with the medicine cabinets or the drug supply case. Whatever they call it. That’s what it was.

I took a box of syringes, one of those red plastic things you’re supposed to put them in when they’re used, and shoved them in my jacket pockets. Then I grabbed an empty box from the top of the garbage and shoveled as many little tiny vials of morphine in them as I could. I took gauze, bandages, even antibiotics. I also nabbed two big bottles of codeine, shoved them in the box and closed it up. Then I walked away like I knew where I was going. Like I belonged there. Like I was just doing my job.

“Hey! Hey, you!”

Shit. Busted.

I turned around.

An orderly glared at me. “Help me with this will you?”

His hands were full and a food tray was about to fall off his cart. I pushed it back up.

“Thanks, man.”

“Sure.”

I slipped out of there. Ran across the street, down the block, back to his apartment. It was easy. I just followed his scent. I knew where he lived from his smell.

I stopped at the front door. Damn it.

I forgot.

He needed food.

I looked up at the sky. Almost out of time. I could feel the night starting to end. The sky hadn’t quite begun to light up yet. But it would, and soon. Daylight scared me. I couldn’t remember exactly why, but it did. I needed to make this quick.

I rushed over to the convenient store at the end of the block. I grabbed frozen dinners and an armful of junk food. I tossed them on the counter. The girl at the register seems unfazed by me. She rang me up, slowly.

“Hurry up,” I growled.

She raised an eyebrow but didn’t move any faster. I was getting antsy. The sun was starting to rise. I needed to get back, get indoors before the sun warmed up the world.

“That’s thirty-six seventy-five.”

I threw the money at her, snatched the bags and headed for the door.

“Have a nice day asshole!”

I smiled and waved, and ran right into someone walking into the store. He smelled like wet dog. The girl next to him smelled like a cat in heat. The other guy behind them smelled like he just got done having sex with a goat. The guy I ran into looked like he was about to kick my ass. He was twice my size. But I didn’t care. I had to get back to Mallory. Fast.

I stared the guy down. Gave him the meanest look I could muster and his eyes widened. The hairs on his massive muscular arms stood up, and he backed away, put his hands up and stepped to the side.

“Hey, sorry about that man,” he said.

“Get out of my way,”  I said and shoved passed them.

“Jesus H. Christ. Did you get a look at that guy?” the girl asked her two friends.

“Yeah. Creepy. Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Creepy. I’ll give them creepy. They’ll drop a load. That’s how creepy I’ll get.

I rushed back and ran up the stairs and into his apartment and slammed the door behind me. The sun was just starting to rise. But I made it back in time. And that is all that mattered.

I leaned against the door for the moment in relief and sighed. I made it.

“Hey I’m back. Hey Mallory? I got you food.” I knew he was there. I could smell him. “Mal?”

I put the food on the counter and walked down the small hallway. He was in the bathroom, huddled over the picture, the one from his wallet. He was crying as soft as he possibly could. Like he didn’t want to be heard.

He didn’t look up when I softly knocked on the door and stepped in.

“Mal, I got you some food and medicine.”

“Thank you.”

“Hey,” I said crouched down in front of him. “Who’s the guy in the picture there with you? He looks familiar. Do I know him?”

He nodded slowly.

“Who is it? Is that me?” I pointed to the guy next to him on the park bench.

Mallory’s face crumbled and he clung to me and sobbed. It was different from before. Before it sounded angry. Now, it sounded like his entire world had ended and he was left with nothing but an ocean full of sorrow and regret. I didn’t know what to do. So I let him hold onto me and cry until he couldn’t cry any more. By that time I was getting tired.

I yawned. The sun came up sometime while we were sitting there. I needed to sleep, but I didn’t want to. I was afraid of what I would wake up to. Of what I would do before I realized what I was doing.


It scared me.


“Come on. Let’s get you fixed up,” I said and helped him up. He was so weak, his knees buckled. I took his arm and put it over my shoulder and helped him walk over to the couch.

I pulled out the box of syringes and the red plastic thing and the other box full of medicine.

“Jonah, where did you get this?”

“The hospital.”

“You stole it?”

“No one noticed me. I didn’t want them to, so they didn’t.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yeah. Even helped a guy who worked there. No one noticed me take it. I swear.”

“All right.” He didn't sound so sure but he wasn’t in any position to argue.

“I got what I thought you might need.”

“There’s a lot of medicine here.”

“Yeah,” I said and sat down next to him and watched him fill the syringe up with liquid painkiller.

“Why’d you get so much?”

“Just in case. You know…”

“Mmm…” he said and injected it into his arm in a practiced motion.

“Look, I…I’m sorry. I know that it doesn’t change anything, and it doesn’t make what I did any better, but I really didn’t mean to hurt you like that. Honest. I never,” I sighed. I didn’t have the right words for this. Maybe I never did.

“I know. And I forgive you. I’ll always forgive you.”

“Why?”

He set the syringe and medicine down. He laid down on the couch, his legs draped over mine.

“Because I love you,” he murmured and just like that, he fell asleep.

Shit. I should’ve asked him if he knew what he was doing. It’d suck if he O.D.’d on me. It’d really suck.

I watched him sleep. I tried to stay up as long as I could. I lasted until 10:30 in the morning. The sun was up. I could feel it, like the humidity in a heat wave pressing in on my chest. I let my head loll back on the couch, and closed my eyes. I needed to figure out what the hell we were going to do next. He wouldn’t survive another attack from me. The next one would be worse. And they would continue to get worse until I killed him.

Could I trust myself? Could I trust him to keep me locked up when I needed to be caged like a wild animal?

Don’t know. Not sure.

I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to lose this. I don’t want to forget who I am. Please God, no more. I’d rather just die than slowly lose myself like this. Please, Mallory.

Just let me die.


Part 6: Undead Rat in a Cage

Comic books.

I remembered.

I liked comic books.

I was picking up the place and under the couch was an old ragged copy of a Batman graphic novel. You know, the one where he’s like sixty and comes back for one more round of vengeance and all that?

I sat there, staring at it, flipping through the pages, remembering how excited I was when I first got it.

"It’s been a while," Mallory said.

"Huh?"

"Since I’ve seen you smile. It’s been a long time."

"Oh," I said and absent-mindedly flipped through the pages.

"What were you thinking about?"

"Nothing, just remembering buying it," I said.

Mallory sat next to me, close but not close enough for skin to touch. He was still a little shy since our last "incident."

He scooted over to the opposite end of the couch and leaned against the arm rest. His hand was wrapped up. Bandages covered the multiple thin slits I had cut into his skin. He was still taking morphine.

Not as much today as the past couple. But still taking it. All my fault, that.

The way he sat there, cradling his hand. Was he doing it on purpose? Can’t tell.

I wanted to ask him how his hand was healing up, but I thought better of it. I was the one that cut it all to hell. I had no right to ask about it. At least, I didn't think that I did.

"Jonah, there's something you need to know."

"Oh? What's that?" A thousand pissed off hornets buzzed in my head. My vision when black and white: gray-scale. Like those old crappy cathode ray TVs. Hissing white noise in my ears, voices came at me from all directions, loud then soft, like a train speeding past.

The broodlings. The others. They come. For what? Your heart. Your soul, what’s left of it anyway. He’s trying to bring it back. He’s trying to cheat death. SHE won’t have that. SHE won’t have any of that. SHE is coming. SHE will soon be here.

Those eyes. Those red, bleeding eyes with pits as black as death incarnate, staring at me from the darkness of my mind's eye. That thick oil sludge for blood, being forced into my mouth. She pried my lips open with ragged clawed fingers, pinched my nose shut. Made me swallow it. I wanted to throw up.

A warm hand on my shoulder.

"Jonah? Are you alright?"

"Fine," I grunted and slapped the comic book down on the coffee table. He jumped. Gun shy. I eyed him, said nothing.

"What?" he asked. "You were talking to someone. Just then. Someone you could see, but I couldn't. Who was it?"

"Don't want to talk about it. You're better off not knowing."

"I can't help you if I don't know what is wrong."

He was right.

“We shouldn’t stay here too long. They’re looking for me."

"Who's looking for you? You were followed the other night when you went out, weren't you?"

"No. I wasn't. I would've smelled them if they were that close. They weren't."

"You're sure?"

"Yeah. I'm sure. I might be crazy, but I know when a predator is stalking me. I haven't lost all of my senses yet."

"Good to know."

"The ones I was talking to...they're the Others."

"What others?"

"Broodlings. The Others. They’re coming. They don’t like what you’re doing to me."

"Broodlings?"

"Others, like me. But, not like me. They…" How the fuck do I even know this? "They obey her. She tries to control me too, but it stops after I feed. Not sure why. Don’t really care. As long as it stops."

"There’s more out there, like you? More...vampires?"

Is there more of us? Is that what I’ve been hearing? Their whispers? Gnawing at my ears with tiny little needle teeth?

No.
Yes.
Yes?
YES!

I sighed and rubbed my eyes, tried to focus. The voices were getting so loud now. They were talking over Mallory. I didn't care for that. Not one bit.

"Yes. There’s more. She’s making them and sending them to fetch me. That’s why…"

That’s why I’ve been on the move for so long. I’ve been running from them. From HER. I was a mistake. I’m like SHE is, more than I am like them. They’re worker ants, I’m a what? What the fuck is the word for a male ant? Drone? Ugh. Who cares.

"Is that why you ran off? I looked for you for months you know."

"I know." 

Did I?

Did I know that?

...

I did. I could smell him. That’s why I kept running. I didn’t want him to find me because I wanted to eat him. Not in the sexual way, in the feeding way.

Once I craved pleasure from his flesh. But now, now the only urge I have, is to eat. I missed the other urges, the animal ones. The lusts, and desires, the blissful feeling of flesh pressed up against flesh, of shoving things into warm, soft, wet cavities and pumping away until I blew a load in him.

We did that? Really? How much?

Don’t know. Don’t care.

"What is it? Why are you looking at me that way?" he asked, rubbing his wounded hand.

"I want to know something."

"All right. Ask away."

"Who’s that guy in the picture with you? The one that was in your wallet, that picture. Who is that?"

"The picture in my wallet…" He frowned and looked at the floor. "Jonah, that’s you."

"No way. I look like shit."

He chuckled. "You hated having your picture taken. You always said that."

"Why?"

"I never could figure that out."

"So… you and I? We were—"

Fuck. I was right. He did love me. That’s why he was still here. That’s why he came back for me. And that’s why I can’t bring myself to just kill him and move on with it.

"Yes," he said. "We were. Once. You and I. But that was quite a while ago. Then one night, we had an argument, you went out by yourself and you never came home."

He was waiting for me.

Oh my God. That’s why I remembered him. That’s why I first approached him after I was made like this.

He was my…

We were...

Shit.

I loved him. He loved me.

God damn it.

He fucking loved me and I could just rip his head off, fill several empty milk cartons with his blood, and leave his corpse to rot. Maybe you should. Or you could make him like us.

I stood up, paced the small apartment.  Clenched and un-clenched my fists.

It'd be easy you know. Just grab his head, slit your wrist and make him drink until he can't swallow anymore. He'll die, and come back, and he'll be just. Like. Us. Then, you won't be alone. You'll be together forever. Wouldn't that be nice? No. No. Nononononononono. No. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t do it. I won’t! You know you want to. FUCK!

I couldn't stop pacing, muttering things to myself under my breath, biting my nails off and making my fingers bleed, oozing that nasty black sludge that filled my veins now.

"Hey. Are you all right?” He’s sitting there, scared, hurting. And yet, still caring about me. The dumb ass. "Jonah? Speak to me. What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing. It's nothing. Just," I waved the voices away, like annoying horse flies buzzing around my head. "They won't shut up."

"Who won't?"

"Mal...I can hear them."

"Hear who?" He got up, looked out the window in the kitchen, then through the peep-hole in the apartment door. "There's no one here. Just us."

"I know. But that doesn't stop them from talking to me. We're...connected. Somehow. Through HER."
"You keep mentioning a woman. Did a woman do this to you?"

"Yes...I think so. Maybe? Fuck, I don't know." I could feel the frustration building. I wanted to punch a hole through the wall. I wanted to rip the place apart. I wanted to kill anyone that got in my way. I just wanted to HURT something. And hurt it bad.

Mallory kept his distance, moving out of my way as I paced circles around the couch.

"They're following me. That's why I've been on the run. All this time. I knew it, and yet, I didn't. How does that work?"

"Instinct. Probably."

"They don't like us being together Mal. They don't like it."

"Why not?"

"Because you make me feel alive. Don't you get it? I can't feel alive. I can't keep parts of myself. If I do, I won't fully turn into a broodling. I won't be a worker ant. I'll be my own self. I won't listen to the Queen. I won't obey. I'll do what I want. I'll put their nest in jeopardy. SHE knows this. That's why she sent the warriors to get me. We're like fucking ants Mallory."

"Are you 100% sure of this?"

"No. Honestly? It feels like I'm going insane. I lose huge chunks of time. I forget where I am, what I'm doing, why I'm here. Who you are...and, I'm afraid that one of these days I'll wake up, and I won't even be able to think anymore. I'll lose all my words. I'll lose myself to this abyss that is growing inside me. There's a blackness in my heart, a wild, nasty, horrible monster, and it's devouring me from the inside out. Eating my memories, eating my soul. There's not much left of me. Not much at all. What am I going to do when I lose myself Mal? What's going to happen to me? What's going to happen to you? I can't bear it. I can't."

"Well, you haven't lost yourself yet. In fact, the longer you stay here with me, the more you act like your former self."

"Don't just say things to try to make me feel better. I hardly feel anything anymore. Just hunger, fear, and sadness. I know you think that you can help, but this isn't temporary. This is permanent. What's wrong with me, isn't a disease with a cure, and you know it."

"I do. But--I have to try."

"Aren’t you afraid that I’m going to kill you?"

"No."

"Well, that’s fucking stupid."

"Thank you."

The sun rose two hours ago. No wonder I was so agitated. It was getting hard to focus. My body started to feel heavy. Arms and legs like lead. It was like I was about to collapse right then and there. I stifled a yawn.

"You're tired. You should rest."

"Yeah...You gonna be okay?" Mallory shrugged. Non-committal. No eye contact. No words.

"Maybe you should tie me up. Just in case I wake up, you know, hungry and out of my mind? Like last time?"

"Last time you did that, it was because you severely injured yourself. You aren't a threat unless there's something seriously wrong with your body that needs healing. That's my observation at least."

"All right. You sure about that?"

"Yes. Get some sleep. I'll be fine."

I sighed and wandered off to the bedroom, shut the broken door best I could, curled up in a ball on the bare floor and closed my eyes. The still cold darkness enveloped me and I drifted off to sleep.

Whispers, half-remembered dreams, a knocking on the door.

Who is knocking? What time is it?

I got up, peeked out the door. It was still daylight. Mallory was sleeping on the couch, dead to the world.Whoever was knocking on the door, wasn't going away. They were just getting louder.

"Mr. Mallory? It's your boss, Doctor Graves. We're here because we're worried about you? Hello?"

The knocking continued. Intensified.

I closed my eyes and focused. One heart beating. Two. Three. No. More than that. Six men outside the door. I could smell gun-metal. They were nervous, agitated. Breathing fast, shallow. Ready to fight.

"Open the door Conrad! We know you're in there! Don't make us use force to get in."

I crawled over to the couch and shook Mallory's shoulder.

"Hey, get up," I whispered. He murmured something and swatted my hand away. I could smell the morphine in his system. He had taken a lot. I guess he just wanted to sleep. But...the door. There was no easy way out of the apartment. We were on the second floor. No place for me to hide, either. Nowhere that they wouldn't find me fast. It wasn't exactly a very big place.

"Mallory, come on. Get up!" I hissed and shook him vigorously. His eyes fluttered open and he looked at me through a lazy haze of painkillers.

"Mmm?"

"They're--"

The apartment door shattered under the force of a metal battering ram. I grabbed Mallory and dove behind the couch as the men rushed in, guns raised. One of them was barking orders, telling them to spread out. I didn't have much time. I had to move. I had to get us out of here.

KILL THEM.

KILL THEM ALL.

Rip off their heads, drink your fill. You know you want to. You know what you have to do to survive. To keep your precious Mallory safe. So do it.

I smiled, felt my teeth grow longer, sharper. Felt my nails extend and form into thick claws. The muscles of my body tightened, coiled like rip-cord and ready to release in a flurry of action. I felt. ALIVE.

The first one came around the side of the couch and I grabbed him by the leg, lifted him straight up off the floor-- holding him upside down by one ankle. I tore off his free leg, like pulling a turkey leg out of it's socket. The man screamed. A fountain of fresh, warm blood sprayed all over my face, my body, the floor. I licked my lips and shuddered at the taste. His fear was delicious.

I tossed the meatbag aside and threw its leg at the next one closest to us.

There was a barking of gun fire. Bangs and flashing muzzles and hot gun powder and bullets whizzing straight through my flesh and embedding into the wall and floor behind me. Mallory staggered forward, looking around, dazed. Unsure what was happening, if it was even real at all.

I shoved him behind me, let them fire more rounds into my flesh. Bullets tore ligaments, muscles, a hole ripped through my cheek, air on my tongue and teeth where it shouldn't ever be. It pissed me off. I growled and lunged at them, tearing through uniform fabric and his bullet proof vest with my claws, biting deep into him, ripping a chunk of flesh off the front of his throat, blood spilling everywhere. It smelled so good. I couldn't help it. I had to eat my fill. And I did. I didn't just drink the prey's blood, I was eating its flesh like raw steak. Gobbling it down. It was...satisfying. Warmth grew in my belly, spread through out my body. I could feel myself growing stronger, faster. More alert. Maybe I should eat them whole more often. This was fantastic. I felt like I could run and leap across rooftops, no problem. In fact, I really wanted to do that, right then.

"Honestly Conrad," the boss man said. "You brought that thing here? What were you thinking?"

"I don't...How did you find me?" Mallory slurred. He held himself up with a hand on the couch, trying not to sway as he looked around.

"My God. Look at you. You've been feeding it? What's that you're taking? Are those bottles of morphine? Unbelievable."

"Get out. Of my. Home." He was having trouble with his words. The drugs did that. I knew that it was like, not being able to think straight.

"You're a mess Conrad. You stopped answering your phone. You never replied to text messages or email. I was dispatched to see if you were even still alive. And here you are, on death's doorstep, living with a wild, uncontrolled animal."

"He isn't an animal. That's my--" The big man slapped Mallory. The sound of his head snapping back from the force of the blow got my attention. I glared at the man, from where I was crouched over a meatbag. I swallowed the muscle I just tore off its shoulder.

That man. He was in charge. He was the dominant predator. He was the threat.

The others, the ones that didn't enter the apartment were standing in the hall, waiting for him to tell them what to do. I am going to kill them all. No one hurts him. No one. That's MY Mallory.

"Open your eyes and look," the boss man, Graves, grabbed Mallory by the chin, forced him too look at me. "See that? That is not a person any more Mr. Mallory. That is a vampire. It's a creature to study. Nothing more, nothing less. Understood?"

"Yes," he mumbled. Cowed.

"YOU," I said. My voice, guttural, deeper, more sinister. Almost not-quite human anymore.

Sharp teeth cut into cheeks and tongue. The hole in the side of my mouth sealed back up as I stood. Bullets pushed out of the holes they made in my skin and fell to the floor in a rain of tiny thumps.

"Cute. You taught it how to speak. Maybe you can tell the boys at the lab how do managed to do that while you detox and go through quarantine hmm?"

"No. You can't. Don't take him there. They'll kill him!"

"My dear. That thing is killing you. It took out half of my men with its bare hands. I really wouldn't worry over much about it."

I stalked towards him, ready to pounce.

"I'm going to rip your head off, tear your heart out through the gaping hole in your throat and eat it while it's still beating."

The man laughed. He was terrified, yet he was laughing. Why?

Something wasn't quite right...

Shit.

I had forgotten about the last man who entered the room with him. He hadn't attacked, so I ignored him. That was a mistake. And a deadly one.

I heard his booted feet move towards me, I turned to attack and was shot point-blank in the chest. Metal spike. Through the heart. A jolt of pain ran through me. I screamed and fell. I tried to pull it out but my arms weren't working quite right. They flopped around, my hands spasmed as my whole body went numb and stopped moving in one shuddered gasp of movement.

It burned. The metal burned me. It hurt, almost as bad as the pain that caused my entire body to go rigid. I was paralyzed. Frozen in a grimace of pain and rage. I couldn't even close my eyes. They were stuck open. The man stood over me and smirked.

"They always fall like that. Every time. It's the damnest thing," he said with a laugh. "Shoot it in the head. Let's get this over with. We need to bag and tag it before we can transport. The sun will destroy any usable tissue if we don't cover the body first."

They picked me up. I was screaming in my head, but no sounds escaped. I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything as they shoved me in a black body bag and zipped it up. Sounds were muffled. It was dark. So dark.

Mallory was yelling. I couldn't make out the words, but someone hit him and he shut up.

Then I was carried out.

Blackness came and went.

Saw things. Sometimes. Back of a truck. Metal operating table. Body cut open, skin splayed apart. Muscle separated. Black sludge blood drained, human blood put back in. Woke me up. Healed me. They cut me again. And again. And again. And again.

I screamed.

Blacked out.

Woke up naked on the floor. Cold ceramic tile. Cement. Basement. Chained now. Not ropes. Chains. Metal collar on neck, metal cuffs on ankles and wrists.

Where? Not sure. Don’t know.

Memory flashed.

Back of truck. Strung up like meat on hooks. Hosed down. Needles, sensors, flashing lights. Holy water. Garlic. Silver crosses. Different types of steaks shoved in my chest. Someone making notes of results.

Covered in scars now. Some fresh with black crusted scabs that reek like tar, some healed over silver skin on pale flesh.

Naked. No clothes. Cold. So cold. So HUNGRY.

Door clicked open. Boots walked over.

Ball gag in mouth now. Teeth growing. Sink into the rubber like it’s butter. About to bite right through. About to attack and get food.

"Behave or no dinner."

I looked up. Not brown eyes. Not HIS eyes. Not at all.

"You’ll do as your told or no dinner. Understand dog?"

Cold blue eyes. A nasty scar curling up the side of his mouth, another on his neck. Short hair. Lots of little silver rings on his ears. Knew a kid with a lot of those once. Snapped his fucking neck clear off his shoulders and practically drowned in the shower of his blood. He tasted good. He was the first. There were so many others after that. But you always remember your first. Kind of like sex.

The man made a disgusted sound and raised a shiny boot.

"Drool. No one told me that your kind drooled. That’s disgusting."

My kind?

He pulled off the gag and stepped away quickly. Like the zookeepers that fed the crocodiles. Fast so you don’t get bitten. Fast so you’re not next on the menu. Fast so you can live another day.

Life. What a joke. I didn’t have that anymore.

Slapped, hard. Not with fist, not with hand. With black hard stick. Teeth cut inside of mouth. Black sludge blood oozes into it, tastes like shit. Spit it out on floor. Oil slick puddle near his boots.

"Get that shit on me, and I won't feed you. Understand?"

Nodded my head.

"Good. All right, bring them in."

Door buzzes, clicks open. Bare feet on the floor. Tilt head, looked up. Scared little rabbits, lined up in a row. Naked. Shivering. Cold. Scared. Hearts beating so fast. Dinner.

Food.

FOOD!

The man left the room, there was another clink sound. Something behind me unlatched and I fell forward onto ground. Cold, hard. concrete. Metal collar on neck. Held up on the wall, but not now. Now let go. To eat.

Rushed up, grabbed the first kid. Skinny. Not much meat on him. Balls hadn't dropped yet. He whimpered, fainted. I deep into this neck and drank, and drank and drank, but didn't get full.

Something was wrong. All these people tasted the same. They weren’t supposed to taste the same. Was like eating lab rats. Hard to focus. Too much the same. Not good. Not what I need. Don’t need lab rats. Need real live blood. Real people. Real problems to spice up blood. Not this shit.

Tossed the kid aside. The limp body hit the shatter proof glass window. Left a nice person-sized smear of blood on the glass. I licked it off. Heard others on the opposite side of the mirror make sounds of disgust.

I was a circus act. The Geek that ate the live bats on stage.

Someone, no several someones were watching me. These kids weren’t the only lab rats here. Three. No four people. Four. Three guys one gal. Gal’s not bleeding. Hasn’t for a while. Not pregnant. Just too damned skinny.

Disgusting.

I punched through the mirror. They started screaming. I hopped over the wall, through the broken two-way mirror. They were shouting to each other as I headed towards them.

They will taste good. Except for the gal. Save the gal for last. She’ll taste the worst.

Someone dropped from the ceiling onto me. Bolt of white-hot pain through chest. Fell down.

Couldn't move. So close. So close. Door was right there. Right there. Could've walked right out. Could've gone and found Mallory.

Damn it.

Moved. Moved! They moved me.

Cold steel table. Restraints on wrists and ankles. On neck, in mouth. Eyes pried open. Lights too bright. Makes eyes water. Can smell them. All of them. Sweating, stinking men. Food. Right there. Hungry. Can’t break free. Need to eat. But can't reach it. They shoot me up with things. Inject things. All sorts of things.

Why? Why? Murderer. Murderer! You killed them. You killed them all. Sucked them dry and for what? Five minutes of warm blood in your veins? Five minutes of your heart pumping again, moving that black oily sludge around giving you a chance to pretend you’re not dead, even though you are? Is it worth it?

Don’t know. Not sure.

Un-life
Dead
Not dead.
Just... am.

In hell. In hell with no way out.
One of the damned now.
One of the damned.
Welcome it says.
The void answers, echoes my screams.

It hurts. It hurts!

Everything was cold. Eyesight blurred. Muscles too stiff. Couldn't move. Just stuck, sitting on a hard tiled floor.

Voices beyond the door.

"Let me see him! He’s my patient for Christ’s sake!"

"Conrad." A woman's voice. A scuffle in hallway. "No! You can’t he’s not stable."

"Let me see him or I’ll call the Board of the Health and get them on your ass! I have a right to check on his condition! Do it or I’ll call."

She sighed. "Please. You don’t understand. He’s not stable. He’s not human any--"

"Shut the hell up before you say anything that you’ll regret. Open this damned cell. Now! I didn’t authorize his movement to this detention center. I know what you people do here! You all are sick! You know that?"

Door opened. Light in room. Can’t lift head to see. Faces blurry. Bodies blurry. Everything blurry.

"Oh my God. What have they done to you?"

Can’t see. Can’t talk. Can’t move. Only thing can do is hear. Can't even smell them.

"Get this off of him this instant or I’m calling the authorities. You have no right to do this! Not to anyone, not even him."

"Conrad. He’s a murderer. A serial killer the likes of which the world has never seen before. He killed and devoured what, thirty, fifty people in one day? He has to be studied. We have to know what’s wrong with him. What’s driving him to kill."

She was a blur of blond hair and white lab coat. He was a blur of brown hair and white lab coat.

A gentle hand on shoulder. Hand so hot to touch it burned. He jerked hand away.

"Jesus! He’s an ice-cube! When’s the last time you fed him?"

No answer. They stood there, over me. Angry blurs pumping blood through their veins.

Food.

Hungry.

So hungry.

"You have to understand. He killed fifteen of our guards. Ten lab assistants. Three doctors. This was the only way to keep him from harming anyone."

"By not feeding him? By freezing him solid? That’s cruel, inhumane!"

"So is he. You weren’t here. You didn’t see what he did to those people. How he killed them. I can’t even sleep through the night anymore."

"Join the club,” he muttered.

Did I know that voice?

Can’t focus. Can’t see anything more than blurs of color and shape. Can’t move. Can’t feel legs. Can't feel anything. Just cold.

 How long been here? Days? Weeks? Months?  Don’t know. Not sure.  Don’t care.

"I’ll get you out of here. I promise," he said, then left with her so that they could scream at each other out in hallway.

Then, silence. More movement. More needles. More lights and beeps and things pumped into me. Screamed. Am screaming.

World is on fire. Body shakes, seizures? How many now? Five? Six? Twenty?

Electrocution?

Maybe gave me the Chair and just lying in a coffin somewhere, waiting for lid to decay so can claw way out and begin feeding again.

Water dripped down cheeks. No. Not water.

Black tears. My tears.

Am crying.

Something happened. Woke up. Not on bed. Not on metal table. Not on cold cement floor or ceramic tile.

No. No! Shit! Don’t bury! Don't bury! Not dead! Not dead!

Zippered roof opens and pulls down. Fuzzy face above.

"I told you I’d get you out. Sorry about the body bag. It had to be done." He help me sit up.

Stiff. So stiff. Cold. HUNGRY.

Grabbed him, shoved him down, sank teeth into his neck. Blood. Sweet. Blood. So good. Flows down into stomach, so hot. Liquid gold. Fills me up fast. Starts to thaws me out. I licked his blood off of my lips. Delicious. My favorite flavor.

Shit.

I know this taste.

I know it. Wait. No. No! Not him!

I shoved him away and scurried to a corner of the room and pulled into a ball and shivered. Cold. So damned cold. I looked over at him. He was slowly getting to his feet. His breath rapid.

He was excited. I could smell it. Blood flowed down his neck from where I bit him. It seeped into his shirt.

"It’s all right. I know what you want. I know if you have a constant supply you won’t be forced to kill. You told me that yourself."

He walked towards me, arms out to his sides. He was defenseless. Totally unarmed. Completely naked to me. I could kill him in a heart beat. But I didn't want to for some reason. I didn't want to hurt him.

"Come. Drink your fill."

Warm glow from food gone fast. Cold again. Hunger burning hole through stomach, but didn't want to hurt him. Hunger tearing me apart. Soon, would not be able to fight it.

"It's me. It's Mallory. Remember?"

Eyed him closely. Still couldn't focus to get good look at his face. Eyes hurt. Couldn't blink the blur out. Too dry. They’re too dry.

He kneeled by the bed. Face near mine. I pulled away.

Don’t want to kill anymore. Don’t want to kill anyone anymore. Just want to die. It hurts so much. The cold. It hurts. So hungry, but don't want to kill him.

Made noises. Mewling sounds. Like sad baby kitten.

"Shh...It’s all right. No one’s going to hurt you. You're safe now."

He picked me up, walked me to a bed, and lay me down. Threw a comforter on me.

"I’ll put on a fire. It’ll help raise your body temperature. They kept your room at ten below zero. The bastards."

Nodded and closed eyes and sank into warm bed. Felt good against stiff body. I sighed.

His hand on my head. Could hear the blood pumping through his veins. The familiar woosh, woosh woosh sound. Like a lullaby.

"It’ll be okay.”

A scar on his palm. A jagged one made by a knife. Right through the center.

He crouched down so that his face was eye level. Brown eyes. I knew those eyes.

His blood was warm. Sweet like chocolate. Like love?

I reached out a hand.

My fingers were blue and numb, but I managed to touch his face.

Mallory.

"Remember me?"

I nodded. I went to speak but no words came out. Like they cut my vocal chords.

"Once you warm up your voice will work again. Just relax and let the fire warm you up. I had to dig but I found your belongings. The stuff you were wearing when they took you from me. I’m so sorry about that. I was hurt and wasn’t thinking clearly."

He sat down in the chair next to the bed.

"I hope you can forgive me." I nodded.

His voice. So soothing. Not harsh like the sound of that saw cutting through my bones, or my teeth chattering so hard that they shattered. Nothing like that at all.

"They didn’t believe me. That you have an addiction. Not a normal one by any standards mind you. But it’s still one all the same, save yours isn’t at all found in nature. I stole all of their notes. I wanted to know what sick studies they performed in the name of science and research. I wanted to know what they did. So that we could get our revenge."

I closed my eyes.

Revenge. I liked that word.

Listened to the fire crackle. Let it lull me to sleep. Not afraid to sleep anymore. Not afraid of anything. Not with him right here. Watching over me.

My guardian angel.

An angel of the damned.