Tag Archives: cannibalism

My Grandfather Knew Why We Run from the Dark

I always admired my grandfather’s courage. He had fought in the war on what we nowadays think of as the wrong side, but he had never been a believer in the cause. Sometimes a rifle is pressed in your hand and your choice is either to fire and worry about being shot from the front, or not to fire and be sure that you’ll be shot from behind.

He was young when he was drafted, barely 16. Before he left he gave his first kiss and a promise to a girl. She waited five years until the end of the war, surviving on just five or six letters that she kept as treasure.

The war ended but even the defeat was celebrated. Not openly, but in the hearts and eyes of the people. People never wage war, it is politicians that wage war. No soldier that ever stood in the line of a rifle believes that war is heroic, only those divorced from reality, those that sit in tidy offices, those dream of war.

Soldiers came home with thin bodies and bandaged limbs. They hugged their wives and women before they fell onto beds and relived the front in dreams that made them toss and turn and wake up from their own screams.

His girl watched with tears in her eyes while her sister and mother each welcomed their men home. She heard the men scream at night and each scream lodged a stone in her throat. She prayed that the man she had kissed did not have to scream and then she prayed that the man she had kissed was alive enough to scream. Then she prayed for forgiveness for her selfishness. Continue reading

“You’re one of them, aren’t you?”

He stared straight into my eyes.

“You’re one of them, aren’t you?”

“Of whom?”

“How do I know what you are?”

“I’m trying to help you,” I said.

“Oh, fuck you. I know you aren’t. You are trying to figure me out. How many of us do you keep here?”

“Most are here only for a few weeks.”

“Stop stalling. How many?

“There are several hundred patients on the closed wards.”

Nick groaned.

“Several hundred! I knew it!” Continue reading

Patient: Keaton K. // Confinement and Liberty

At this very moment Keaton K. sits in a cage that spans roughly 2m (7 feet) in all directions. The bottom of the metal cage is covered in wooden planks, all other sides of the cube are bare steel bars about as thick as a thumb.

Twice per day, once at 11am, once at 6pm, Keaton’s cage is opened and two nurses lead him to the bathroom. This part of the arrangement is a compromise. During that time the door of the room is locked while at all other times of the day – when the cage itself is locked – the door is wide open.

It took us nearly four months to get the permission to install his cage. For those four months Keaton suffered from between twelve and twenty-two panic attacks a day.

At least now, in the cage, he eats and sleeps like a normal human. Continue reading

“I need to be put down.”

“Put me down,” he said.

I closed the door behind me.

“I’m here to ask a few questions,” I said. “My name –“

“Put me down!” he shouted.

“What do you mean?”

“You know,” Andrew said. “Like an animal. Put me down. I shouldn’t live.”

“Andrew, you’re not an animal.”

“I’m like an animal. I shouldn’t live.”

He pointed at his bandaged eye.

“You see that?”

“You injured your eye.”

“I didn’t injure my eye.” Andrew laughed. “I grated it.”

“You grated your eye?”

“That’s why I need to be put down.”

“Because you grated your eye?”

“No, because I’m insane. I need to be put down because I’m not human anymore. I want to eat other humans. Do you understand? I’m a cannibal! I just can’t control myself anymore.”

Instinctively I pushed my chair backwards on the rubber floor.

“Why is that, Andrew?”

“I don’t know! It just started like that. One day I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like it. I felt this taste on my tongue, like iron, you know, like raw meat. I went to the fridge and bit in a raw sausage, but it tasted disgusting.”

“And then you decided to eat other humans?”

Andrew shook his head.

“I didn’t decide that. I just felt this desire. The sausage tasted like a piece of moist bread; it was disgusting. And then I saw this picture of my sister on the shelf and I just felt that she looked delicious.”

“Delicious?” I asked.

“Like – delicious, tasty. She just looked like she had tender and soft meat.”

“Okay, for a moment I thought you meant –“

“What, no!” He shouted “I’m not some rapist or pedophile. She just looked like, just delicious! Like, such tender soft meat.”

“And you did something to your sister?”

“Well, I went to her room.”

“She was home?”

“Of course.”

“And you went inside?”

“I stood outside for a bit, and then I opened the door. I looked at her sleeping, how her chest was heaving under the blanket. It was really hard to stop myself from going in.”

“So you went inside her room?”

“No. I stood there for maybe five minutes; I felt my jaw aching; I so much wanted to bite in her arm or neck.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I didn’t. I closed the door and punched myself. I actually punched my own face because I was so disgusted of myself.”

Andrew clenched his fist and slowly pressed it against his chin.

“Like this,” he said. “But a real punch.”

“And you didn’t feel this ‘urge’ anymore? The one to bite your sister?”

“I still felt it,” Andrew said. “And I still feel it. But it’s not about the biting. I just really want to chew her flesh. I just feel like I should swallow such soft flesh. And it’s not just her; it’s for a lot of people.”

I felt my body tense up.

“So you want to eat different people?”

“I don’t know. I just want to eat flesh. It doesn’t even matter who it is, just nobody disgusting.”

“So there are some kinds of people you wouldn’t eat?”

“I don’t know. I guess I would, but I’m not really feeling the urge. I just feel it with young people, particularly when they are pale.”

“As a warning,” I said. “If you admit any serious crimes I might need to report them to the police.”

“What exactly?” He asked.

“Did you ever follow through on your urges? Did you ever attack another human?”

“Other – no. I mean I thought about it a lot. I’ve been feeling this thing for months and it’s just not going away; if anything it’s getting worse. And a few times I followed people for a bit, but they always got nervous and walked faster and then I got nervous and walked the other direction.”

“Those were random people?”

“Pretty much; mostly from the bus, and a few times from the mall.”

“A few times?”

“I don’t know how often. I’ve been doing this far too many times. You know, the security guards even started to follow me.”

“Okay, but you have never attacked anyone?”

“There was this one girl that I knew back from school. I met her in the mall and we talked and I walked her home. And then when we got to her house I grabbed her arm and leaned over to bite her neck; but she pushed me away. I tried again and she said ‘No!’ and then ‘I don’t think of you that way.’ And somehow that threw me off track.”

“So you were trying to bite her?”

“Yes.”

“And she thought you were trying to kiss her?”

“I think so.”

“But you didn’t hurt her?”

“No. I mean, I might have pressed her arm a bit hard, but I didn’t bite her or anything. And she just went inside.”

“Did you try to contact this girl again?”

“I texted her to apologize; she didn’t even reply.”

“And you didn’t see her again?”

“No.”

“So you never actually harmed anybody? You just feel the urge to taste human flesh?”

“I don’t just want to taste it. I want to eat more.”

“More than what?”

“I mean, I tried a piece of myself.”

“You ate a piece of your own flesh?”

“Two times; once from my arm and once from my ass. I would have done it more often, but it hurts like hell.”

Andrew rolled the sleeve on his left arm back. There was a bandage around his biceps.

“I can take it the bandage off, if you want to see.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I believe you.”

“It looks really good. You can see the color and everything.”

“Really, it’s okay.”

“Fine,” Andrew said.

He unrolled his sleeve again; then pulled it back once more to expose his armpit. Andrew pointed at small blue and red marks in his armpit.

“Oh, and here I drew blood a few times. But blood doesn’t really taste that good.”

I nodded.

Andrew paused, looked at me, and finally unrolled his sleeve again.

“You see now,” he said. “Why I need to be put down?”

“I think we have some excellent therapists –“

“No!”

Andrew slammed his fist on the table.

“I can’t use a goddamn therapist! I’m not human! I will hurt people!”

“Andrew, it seems to me that you have it quite well under control. With the right therapy you could be normal again.”

“I don’t want to hurt my sister. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“Andrew, you can control this.”

“Do you know how many times I already stood in her doorway while she was sleeping?”

“Andrew –“

“Do you?”

“I don’t.”

“I can’t even count it anymore. The way she smells, it just draws me to her room. And during the day, when she walks past me, or just when she sits on the couch – I just can’t control myself anymore.”

“You told me that you didn’t touch her, so it seems you have a lot of control over your condition.”

“I don’t know,” Andrew said. “How long I can control it.”

“That’s why I would suggest therapy.”

“You know, I’ve been smelling her. I try to get close to her, just to smell her. And then, whenever I’m close, I can feel my jaw itching and this tension; I just know that I want to bite in this soft flesh of hers.”

“Andrew, with the right treatment –“

“Do you even know why I’m here?”

“The police told us you hurt yourself.”

“I didn’t want to hurt myself. I wanted to hurt my sister.”

“But you hurt yourself?”

“I did. I stepped into her room and I saw her lying there. And her meat looked so damn delicious and I stepped closer, but then I saw this photo of us on her shelf.”

“And the photo stopped you?”

“She looked so happy on that photo. I just didn’t want to hear her scream.”

“And so you went back to your room?”

“I just ran out and sat in the corridor. I had the cheese grater in one hand and the knife in the other. I didn’t even think about it; I just placed the grater on my eye and pulled it downwards. Twice.”

“You grated your eye?”

“And then I ate the pieces.”


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

Burnt Flesh

Do you know the smell of burnt flesh? When the rough, itching sensation moves through your nose and reaches the back of your throat; the urge to throw up?

Moving to Longtown was the worst idea we ever had. It was for a job – her job, not mine. I hated my job at the time and was happy when Victoria’s opportunity gave me a chance to quit. It also made me look like a good husband; something that I never felt I was.

The house looked great online, it even looked great when we visited it on a Friday around noon. Spacious rooms, big garden, slightly grayed white walls on the outside. It was a pretty place and only undervalued slightly, not enough to make us suspicious.

The agent seemed relieved when we signed the papers.

“I’m sure you like your neighbors.” He smiled while he said that.

As we found out, neighbors was nearly an exaggeration. The two houses to the left of ours were empty and there was only one neighbor, monosyllabic Jeromy and his zerosyllabic wife Brendyn.

We arrived in the morning, spent the day emptying the car and cleaning dusty floors, toilets, and kitchen furniture. Around 4pm we smelled the barbeque; the pleasant smell of well-smoked meat grilled on real wood.

Victoria suggested we should introduce ourselves right away, but I didn’t want to seem like the greedy neighbor hoping for a free meal.

The fences were so high that we didn’t see much except the rising smoke.

The smoke was gray, then dark gray, and then a thick, suffocating black. But worse was that the wind was driving it in our direction.

What was pleasant at the beginning became unpleasant and finally unbearable by 4:40pm. The dark smoke with its pungent smell seemed to seep through the walls; even the bread we tried to eat and the water we forced ourselves to drink tasted like burnt meat.

And it was not just burnt; not like an overdone steak. It smelled as if the meat itself was on fire; as if the meat was roasting to ash.

By 6pm we couldn’t take it anymore. We took the car, found a highway rest stop and drank milkshakes to get the tastes from our tongues. It didn’t work.

We came back around 8:30pm. Our front door was open.

We approached slowly, looked inside and saw two people in the living room. The man was talking; the woman was quietly placing something on the table.

“They don’t have any stuff.” Said the man.

Victoria was just getting her phone out when they started to walk towards the front door. We ran to our car; too slow.

“Hey!” Said the man.” There they are!”

He walked towards us with a large smile.

“We’re your neighbors!” He said.

The woman didn’t smile, but she followed the man.

Victoria kept walking to the car; I was too confused to move.

He grabbed my hand, pulled it up, and gave me the most forceful handshake of my life.

He introduced himself as Jeromy and the woman as “my faithful wife Brendyn.”

Brendyn looked away while he said that. When Jeromy finally allowed the blood flow to return to my hand I stretched it out for Brendyn to shake. Instead she took a step back.

“She cooked for ya.” Said Jeromy. “It’s on the table.”

When Victoria stepped next to me and stretched her hand towards Jeromy he took it with a wide, swinging motion. I saw Victoria’s face twitch when he pressed his hand around hers.

“Pleasure.” He said. “And here’s a welcome. We thought we’d stay alone.”

Victoria pulled her hand back; I think I noticed the ring on her finger before she did.

“What is that?” Victoria asked.

“Can’t see such a pretty lady with just such a small ring.” Jeromy grinned.

Victoria tried to give the ring back, but Brendyn and Jeromy just walked off.

On the table was a huge slob of meat, burned black as coal. We threw it in the trash, but the smell stayed in the living room.

Victoria cleaned the ring; when she realized it was plain gold she wanted to give it back. We never got to that.

The next two days, while we were painting walls and assembling shelves, the barbeques continued. Every day the thick smoke seeped through the walls and set small, black dust on everything. Still, the worst was the constant smell.

We went over to ask Jeromy and Brendyn to stop. The fire was burning in the backyard, but no one answered the door.

During the weekend the fires stopped. We were relieved. Victoria wanted to go over to return the ring. Still, they didn’t answer their door.

On Sunday we heard shots in the forest behind our back yard; later Jeromy came home with a deer on his truck.

I went outside.

“Big game, eh?” I said. “Is that your next barbeque?”

Jeromy smiled.

“Nah, that’s for bad times. We have enough meat right now.”

“About the ring –“

Jeromy interrupted me.

“You want another one? You can give it to her this time, say it’s yours!” He winked. “Don’t want to steal your lady, good ones are hard to get, you know?”

I didn’t know how to continue the conversation. I just refused and excused myself. Behind the curtains – Victoria had put them up early to keep out the smell – I watched as Jeromy pulled the deer off his truck and towards the house. He banged his fist on the front door; Brendyn opened and took a step outside. Then she stepped aside and Jeromy pulled the meat in.

Monday afternoon we saw Jeromy pull up to the house again. He parked closer this time, and pulled another carcass inside the house. A few minutes later the smell of smoke began; then the smell of grilling meat; finally the smell of burnt meat returned with full force.

The fire was high enough that we could see the flames from our upper floors; but the fence was still too high to allow us to see their garden.

That night they brought us another portion of burnt meat.

“I hope you like it.” Jeromy said. “It’s Brendyn’s specialty.”

Brendyn smiled. Then she stepped forward and threw a small object at Victoria. Victoria reacted too slowly; the object fell on the floor.

A gold necklace.

We tried to give it back, but Brendyn walked away quickly and Jeromy refused to take it back, even when I was insistent.

“It’s yours now. We have a lot of these.”

We tried to eat the meat; we thought there must be something about their method to make wild game if they kept polluting the neighborhood for it. It was stringy and reminded me of chicken or soft pieces of pig. I thought that the taste could maybe be good, if there wasn’t the pungent burning smell all around it.

They had another barbeque on Tuesday.

On Wednesday Victoria finally began her new job. She was excited, half about the job and half about the opportunity to get away from the smell. She wore Jeromy’s ring “for good luck,” as she said. In reality I think she liked it.

I felt a painful, sticky mass in the back of my throat. Speaking hurt, still I called the agent to see if there was any way to cancel the sale. He said there wasn’t.

In the afternoon Jeromy brought another carcass. He drove close to the house, folded the black sheet off the truck and quickly pulled the carcass inside the house. It was wrapped in more black plastic. It looked smaller, like a younger deer maybe.

I walked over to talk to Jeromy, to tell him to stop burning stuff. He cut me off, mid-sentence, by shutting the door.

When the fire started again I went to the police station. I told the officer I was new in town and that I didn’t want any trouble but that there was an issue with my neighbors.

I gave him my address. The officer smiled.

“You live next to my brother.”

“Oh.” I said. “But I mean the other house; the empty one.”

“What about it?”

“It –“ I paused. “It looks ugly.”

I’m bad at improvisation.

“Sure does,” Jeromy’s brother laughed. “But that’s not a police matter.”

The next day I finally caught Jeromy. It was morning and he was getting in the truck.

“Hey,” I said.” I need to talk to you.”

“In a hurry.”

He sat in the driver’s seat and slammed the door shut.

“It’s about the fires; you have to stop!”

“No way,” Jeromy said. “The oven is broken; can’t help you.”

“Can’t you just cook something else; or without fire?”

Jeromy started the motor.

“No.” He said. Then he drove off.

In the afternoon I heard his car coming back. Again the black plastic was covering the back of his truck.

We argued about the fire; or more exactly I argued and Jeromy stayed mostly quiet. Finally I gave up in frustration. I told him I would find a way to make him stop.

He laughed.

“Don’t bother my brother.” He said. “The other houses are empty for a reason.”

Victoria and I decided to spend the weekend exploring the town. We had still hope that we could make Jeromy and Brendyn stop; we still had hope that this could become our home.

We walked through the small shopping street, right next to the large glass windows. Behind one of them we saw Brendyn. She was sitting at a desk and talking to another person.

We watched her for a few seconds, fascinated to see her speak at all and even more fascinated to see her speak with passion. It looked like a sales talk, although the woman at the other side looked uncomfortable.

“Oh god.” Said Victoria.

She turned to the side and threw up.

“What?” I asked.

I looked at Brendyn and her smart, black dress. Her customer was now crying.

Victoria turned around and pointed at the large, black letters stuck onto the window.

I took a step back to read the slogan; then I too emptied my stomach.

“J&B – Funeral Parlor.”


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.