Usually it’s just a number. I read it. I skip past. Fourteen per cent. Now things are different. Now I think “What if my daughter was one of them?” Seven billion people and fourteen per cent of them hunger. And I sit here, well-fed, stare at a screen and feel a tug inside my throat; a surreal tug, one that’s not there and not true. But one that takes my breath and twists my stomach. A tug that says “What if my daughter was one of them?”
We heard noise from Tobias room. We just thought it was another one of his nightmares.
Magali nudged me with her elbow and rolled back over to her side. The light thuds from Tobias’ room continued.
Slowly I climbed out of bed, found my slippers and shuffled over to his room.
The first shock was that he wasn’t in his bed. I thought he must have climbed and fallen over the small wooden railing.
Then I saw him. He sat at the other end of the room. He was smiling, talking to himself and drawing on the floor with a dark liquid.
It was all over his face and arms. Continue reading
“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?”
“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?”
“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?”
“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.”
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 –“
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?”
“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.