*Trigger Warning: This story contains scenes describing gory violence, cannibalism, and murder, which may be triggering for readers.*
This town never has sunshine. There is no such thing as “day.” It is dark, always dark. We have fog on some days—no, some nights—but that is all we ever get. The darkness follows the people of this town. The people of the town tell time by the rising and setting of the moon. When the moon is gone, you can’t see a foot in front of you. The people’s lives are
Shhh. I think I heard something just now.
just as dark as the weather. Instead of doctors, lawyers, and teachers, we have serial killers, kidnappers, and psychopaths.
My next door neighbor is a murderer. The murderer and I work well together. I allow him to kill, and he allows me to feast, tearing legs clean off of bodies and slurping the sinewy muscles and tendons. The night we killed a graverobber, my life changed forever.
“He’s coming,” I hissed to my friend, “I can smell him.” I was hungry, slobbering for flesh.
I listened, eagerly, as he snatched the woman from the tomb she’d been raiding. He threw her between two headstones. She only laughed, wickedly, a red flag we should have listened to. I crept close to the two of them, wanting to consume her body as soon as he’d ended her, wanting it to be as fresh as possible, the blood still warm on my lips. He raised his axe above his head and brought it down in a clean swoop, chopping through her sternum. The crack of her ribs made me drool.
I heard her last breath and crawled toward her, positioning myself so I could be over her head, staring at her upside-down face. I wrapped my long fingers around her neck, bracing myself for the strength I’d need to tear off her head. I dug my sharpened fingernails into the sides of her neck and stabbed them inwards as I pulled.
As soon as her head was detached, every sinew snapping away from her body, her eyes sprung open, and she let out a terrifyingly, gut-wrenching scream. From the depths of her throat, my eyes were captivated by the brightest lights they had never been accustomed to. I threw her head down, covering my eyes with a hiss of pain. When I opened them again, I could see nothing, no moon, no grave, no woman; I was blind.
My hearing is more than I can cope with now. I can sense every branch moving, every breath inhaled, every scream in the night. I don’t know how close or how far these noises are, but I can never forget where my status is among my people now that I have this deficiency. They will come for me, the other cannibals. They will sense my weakness, and they will devour me.
Somebody’s here. I can feel it.
I am paranoid every day—no, every night. I cannot sleep. I haven’t adjusted to this enough to hunt yet. I’m starving. I try to believe that they’ll leave me alone if I
What was that? Did you hear that?
starve myself. They won’t want me if there isn’t any meat on my bones.
I can’t tell where I am. I don’t know whose breath I can hear. Is it mine? Am I alone? Is somebody
I can hear something licking its chops.
there? A wicked laugh echoes around me. It’s her! She’s come for me.
If I act deranged, maybe they won’t want me. Insanity ruins the meat. I start gnawing on my fingertip, the taste of dried blood causing my stomach to rumble loudly. I must be in some sort of
Something’s getting closer. Can you hear it, too?
tunnel or cave. I bite harder onto my finger, trying to convince any passersby that I’m no good to them. It hurts, but I like the pain. I slurp the blood running down my own hand, trying to imagine that
Those quickening footsteps aren’t mine.
the hand I’m consuming isn’t my own. I know I’m too late. I know I’m doomed.
“I have a hunger,” a man from behind me says, causing me to stop mid-bite into my hand. There is nothing I can do. I don’t even scream when the first bite is taken from my shoulder.
In this town, there is no sunshine, no day just night. We don’t have philosophers, therapists, and dentists; we have lots and lots of ghosts.