In response to the Daily Prompt’s Daily Prompt: Darkness
I cover my ears to the roars and slurps which leak through the doorway above me, of men devouring fellow-men. It sounds as if the feasting was occurring immediately outside the door of the underground shelter I’d stumbled into the day before.
I scrunch my nose; the metallic scent of blood overwhelms me.
My stomach rumbles. I press my hand against it, willing the growls to silence. I hadn’t had anything to eat since yesterday morning. Nine pieces of cereal found in a bloody baby seat of the abandoned mini-van on the dirt road I trudged through. My hand delves into the left pocket of my dirt-encrusted jeans and count six pieces remaining.
I step back from the door; my hands back over my ears, barely muffling the gruesome sounds. I turn and examine my refuge. My eyes meet dusty and cobweb-covered furnishings.
The shelter I am in is significantly smaller than the bathroom in my apartment from Before. It’s so tiny I feel as if the walls are looming over me and will soon peel away and merge with my body. Canned food lines the walls. Canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned meat. Canned everything. Canned anything. I don’t feel hunger for them.
I open a wooden cabinet nearest to me to discover what else is stored here. I am hoping something non-canned. I gasp as my index finger snags on a rusty nail. Great, I think, another injury to add to the many I already have.
Blood streams in rivulets from the astonishingly deep wound and instinctively I place the injured finger into my mouth and suck. Mmm…honey. I cradle my hand and suckle hard.
The wooden door of the shelter shakes, startling me. I freeze and hold my breath, my finger still deep in my mouth.
“Open the door! PLEASE! If there’s anyone in there, let me in! They’re coming!” A female voice pleads.
I debate whether or not to open the door. This hole-in-the ground already feels confining with merely one person in it. With two, it will be a sardine can. Her pleading transitions to whining. My shoulders slump forward in resignation.
I approach the door, peek in between the door slates and see a young girl with dark brown hair matted with blood. Her clothes are torn and blood streams from a cut underneath her left eye. This girl alternates between looking over her shoulder and peering into the door. At one point, we are eye to eye.
“Open! Please, open! PL-”
“Get away from the door!” I halt her plea mid-way. “I’m going to open the door and you’re going to jump in! On the count of three – one, two, THREE!”
I remove the bar across the door and it swings inwards. The girl falls in with an OOOOFFF!
I shut the door and secure the bar. I stand there for a beat, making sure that no one…no THING…follows. I strain to hear anything out of the ordinary but in fact, realise that I hear nothing. Not even the sounds that I find grisly just moments before. Instead, I hear…this is strange…music. Violins, to be precise. I jump away from the door.
The girl is still on the floor. I hear, no, feel, her heart race and my own heartbeat mimic the rhythm of hers. I search her face. Her eyes arrest me. They’re glacier blue and wide, the latter most likely with fear. This pleases me but I don’t understand why. Blood from her wound dribbles onto the concrete floor and each drop echoes. My head pounds in concert.
“Do you smell peaches?” I ask her; maybe one of the cans has sprung a leak.
“A-am I safe here? I-i-is it s-safe here? I-is it?”
“Yeah. Sure.” My stomach rumbles again. I will need to feed soon. Feed? I meant eat.
“Do you-do you hear violins?”
“Peaches? It smells like sewage in here. And how can you hear violins over the sounds of what’s out there? D-do you have anything to eat h-here?” She looks hungrily at the rows of canned food surrounding us. My eyes rest on the newcomer.
I sit on the wooden stool and crouch over her. This seems the most comfortable position to be in. I lean forward and allow her flesh to satiate my growing hunger. I start by lapping my tongue all over her eyeballs, reveling in the gelatinous organ.
Delicious. It reminds me of fish roe. I enjoy fish roe.
The rumblings in the pit of my being decreases. Only marginally.