4

Ghoul

By Jack L. Bryson

I’m going to eat your fucking face. Did I say that out loud? No, thank Satan. “I asked you what you wanted to eat?” My “niece” was getting impatient as she sat across the table from me at her favorite pizza eatery. Last week her uncle stumbled out of a bar alone, a little drunk and unaware of his surroundings. I lured him into an alley, stabbed him a dozen times and then, ate him. Satan, he was so fucking huge; he could have fed three of my brothers. After I gorged myself on his abundant flesh, I took his wallet and transformed into his image.

Stomach bursting, I waddled out of the alley, leaving half of my victim’s corpse behind. I bumped into a dumpster that was flushed with the entrance. The pavement was sticky and my boots made an unpleasant sound, as I lifted one foot and put in front of the other. I wanted to have some fun masquerading as my late victim. His name was Sherman Carter- truck driver, American and voracious eater. These Americans are so huge; they’re nothing like the scrawny Mesopotamians I had to settle for back in the day. Even in Rome there were very few humans as round (and as salty I might add) as Americans. Sure, there were a few plump senators and there was the Praetorian Guard (very gamey) but nothing like the cattle in America fattening themselves up at fast food restaurants, ice-cream shops, taco trucks, cafes, supermarkets, convenience stores, etc. Every ghoul should find a cemetery in America and settle here- this is where the meals are.

I looked at Sherman’s address in his wallet and walked to his house. I had an approximate idea of where he lived, having been in the area the last few weeks. Having his truck would have made things easier but it wasn’t till the next day I found out from his sister which one was his. Everything was pleasant in that way after you have a full stomach. It was a humid summer night in Charleston and nothing was repugnant- the scent of Magnolias and sweat from humans was as welcomed as the stench of dead raccoon on the side of the road. The night buzzed with all the sounds of insects hunting for a meal and I had a vague feeling that I should have disposed of the corpse in the alley.

Sherman’s sister and niece lived with him…or me now I should say. His sister is an obese human like Sherman who left her “dead beat” husband. I don’t know the whole story but Marion said her husband lost his job after getting into an argument with his boss and had been out of work since. His name is Mark Alderman- I hate these biblical names; they give me the willies. At any rate, Mark came around my house once in awhile looking for Marion. “Sherman, Mark is drunk again and he’s banging on the front door.” So get rid of him woman, I’m playing a video game, I thought.

I loved all the human gadgets and amenities of the modern world. I sat in Sherman’s plush recliner and toyed with the settings on it. I put my feet up and set the recliner on vibrate mode. It startled me at first but then I found the gentle vibration that worked on my neck and back relaxing. It took me a couple minutes but I figured out how to work Sherman’s game console. I played a third-person video game where I had to bash monster’s heads in with a baseball bat. Some of the monsters in the game looked like acquaintances of mine and I thought the game was a little racist in that regard.

“Marion, I want to see you.” Bang, bang on the front door. After a few more minutes of this I got annoyed and figured I should see what all the fuss was about. I paused my video game, got up from the couch and made my way to the foyer where  Marion waited, looking distressed.

“Marion open up, I want to see you.” Bang, bang. I opened up and said in my demonic voice, “Look you little bitch, your woman doesn’t want to see you. Sleep it off somewhere or I’ll rape you with a cactus!” Mark went white and I slammed the door on him. Marion’s eyes went wide and I changed my voice back into Sherman’s and coughed a couple times. “Ugh, this cold makes sound horrible.” Cough, cough- pathetic. Marion was too stunned to move or say anything and I just stood there awkwardly for a moment, as her mouth was gaping and eyes wide. “Well, I’m headed off to bed. I don’t want this cold to get worse.” I made my way to my room and shut the door behind me. I don’t know if her brain rationalized that episode or if she just forgot but she never brought it up. Mark never came around again the rest of the time I was there. If he and Marion ever reconciled, I never found out about it.

Satan help me, I want to eat Marion so badly but I’m still full from her brother. However, it bothers me that she’s always on her treadmill. I want to take her aside and correct her, “No, no, you mustn’t work out so much. You’ll lose your delicious physique and where will I be then? Silly girl.” But I say nothing for fear of arousing suspicion. When she isn’t taking care of Rebecca she’s on that damn treadmill, sweating and burning fat. To make matters worse, she’s trying out something called a “diet”. What the fuck is wrong with her? If she keeps up this nonsense she’ll be as skinny as her waif of a daughter. Ugh.

At least Marion started making some sense tonight. She pulled me aside and asked me to take Becca to her favorite pizza joint. She looked concerned when she asked me to do this, so I inquired, “What’s the matter Marion?” Rebecca was in the other room so Marion took the precaution of saying in a hushed voice, “I think she’s starving herself.”

“What the hell does she want to do that for?” I ask.

“Keep you voice down,” Marion said. “There’s a girl at school who posted a picture of her on Facebook. Rebecca bent over to pick up a basketball and a girl used her cell phone to snap picture of her. She captioned the photo “Kardashian ass.”

I didn’t know what the fuck a Kardashian was but I gleaned that a large ass was involved. “That’s ridiculous, her ass is fine,” although too skinny. Marion hit me on shoulder, “Don’t talk about your niece’s ass. I want you to take her out to pizza and try to get her to eat something.”

“Understood.” Sigh. I thought about how to play this. If I asked Rebecca to come and get some pizza with me she might say no. But if I said it in a way that suggested I just wanted some company, she might relent. Humans are tricky animals- when they set their minds on something it’s easier to give them what they want to get them to budge a little. Frankly, I could have blown Marion off, because I’m a demon and don’t care about human problems but 1, I didn’t want to blow my cover and 2, the idea of voluntarily starving yourself was repulsive. I couldn’t imagine a ghoul in all damnation voluntarily not eating. It makes me shudder.

I stood at the door to Rebecca’s room and called out, “Hey Becca, I’m starving and headed out to grab some pizza. Want to keep me company?”

“No. Go away.”

“Come on. You’re not going to make me drive to King’s by myself are you? You don’t have to get anything I just don’t want to eat alone.” I could tell she didn’t buy that for a single moment but curiously she agreed anyway. Perhaps she was bored or maybe she just wanted me to shut up. At any rate, she said, “Fine, give me ten minutes.”

After we arrived at King’s Pizza and settled in a booth, I took my time perusing a menu while Becca played with her cell phone. There were a couple arcade cabinets in a corner that caught my attention….I wondered if Becca was playing a game on her cellphone because one time she got all excited after catching a rare “Pokemon”. It appeared however that she was just texting a friend. I vainly hoped the smells of the delicious food would whet her appetite but she seemed resolute in maintaining her hunger strike. “Well what are you going to get?” I didn’t hear her and said, “Hmm?”

“I asked you what you wanted to eat.”

“I’m going to order this medium pineapple pizza with Canadian bacon.”

“I shouldn’t have come here.”

“You can get something to eat, it’s ok.”

“No it’s not. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Maybe not, but I know there’s no reason on earth to deny yourself a tasty meal.” Becca gave me a curious look. I tried not to salivate at the thought of a fresh corpse and warm blood, but I probably looked really goofy to her.

“Uncle, don’t take this the wrong way but you need to lose weight.”

“Why? Why on earth should I lose weight?”

“Because you’re unhealthy and you could die of a heart attack.”

“Is that why I should lose weight? For my health?”

“Well, don’t you want to look good too?”

“I don’t give a rat’s ass what people think of my looks. Someone somewhere will find a problem with my looks no matter how good or skinny I look. Someone will think my ears are too big or I’ve got too much hair coming out of my nose. Fuck them, they don’t know shit.” Becca giggled at my rant and possibly my nose hairs too. It was painfully obvious that Sherman could stand to trim his monstrous nostril locks. I’d been meaning to take a pair of scissors to them, because they were itchy as hell.

I ordered the pizza and 15 minutes later a skinny pimply, faced kid brought it to our table. Rebecca didn’t want any of it, which was fine- I got her to loosen up a little and I think that would make Marion happy. We got a “to go” box to put the pizza in and left King’s.

Things took a turn for the worse once outside. A Sentinel was waiting for me. A Sentinel for the non-angelic is an angel who makes sure a demon like me doesn’t step out of line, which I did when I left my cemetery, killed and ate Sherman Carter. This Sentinel was masquerading as a cop. A little on the nose, don’t you think motherfucker? He parked across the street in front of a convenient store and just sat in his cruiser, sipping coffee while watching Rebecca and me as we exited King’s Pizza.

As the kid and I got in my truck and drove home, the Sentinel followed us. We pulled into my driveway and I let Rebecca enter the house first. There was a spring in her step as made her way up the front porch, holding the pizza. As I followed her, I looked over my shoulder and the Sentinel looked me square in the eyes as he drove by my house. The message was clear: “The jig is up, come and meet me outside, or I’ll come inside and get you.”

Marion was on the couch in the living room. “Did she eat anything?”

“No, but I think she will tomorrow.”

“Thank you for trying.”

“It’s no problem. Listen, I’m going to the liquor store for a candy bar. Do you want anything?”

“No, thank you.”

“Alright. I’ll see you in a bit.” I never saw Marion again and she never saw her brother.

I gently closed the front door behind me and made my way down the driveway. I turned right and started walking down the sidewalk. Then the Sentinel pulled up beside me in his cruiser. He rolled down the passenger side window and said, “Get in you hateful maggot.” I opened up the passenger side door and slid in as he continued down the street.

“What’s this about officer?”

“We found the remains of your victim. Why did you leave your cemetery?”

“People keep choosing to get cremated these days. I was starving.”

“That may be but you know the rules.”

“Satan help you, don’t you ever get sick of the rules?”

“No. If I didn’t obey the rules I’d end up a maggot like you, forced to eat dead humans.”

“Don’t knock it till you tried it.”

“Mercy. You’ve been eating the dead so long you enjoy it.”

“You know, any day now your Boss will allow my kind to roam the earth, killing and eating as many humans as we like. And there won’t be a fucking thing you can do to stop us.”

“True. But you know in the end it doesn’t end well for your kind. You’ll just be condemned with your boss, thrown in a pit…”

“Blah blah, blah. You think you’ll win because you’re righteous but what do you actually get? You could never enjoy a video game where you get to bash in monsters’ heads.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Never mind, it’s something only humans would understand.”

“I hope you feel bad for all the misery you’ve caused. I hope feel something. Here we are.”

“Satan, you’re whiny.”

The Sentinel steered his cruiser through the gate and up the long driveway to a crypt in the middle of the cemetery. We got out and cut across the wet grass between stone crosses till we reached my modest crypt. The heavy, rusting iron door was open and he stood to the side allowing my to descend the wet stone steps into my cold tomb. I could see a full moon behind him and the last bit of moonlight disappeared as he shut the iron door on me. Pitch black. I heard the jingle of keys and the click of the lock as he said; “Maybe I’ll let you out in a century or two.” Maybe I’ll pry free that loose stone in the back of my crypt once you’re gone. My stomach began to rumble. I was hungry again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My name is Jack L. Bryson and I'm the editor of Teleport. I studied literature at University of Montana. I live in Mountain View Ca, and my email is coffeeant1@gmail.com

4 Comments

  1. Cool. Ghoul curing an anorexic for his own culinary pleasure. Think he needs to go on a low-fat diet. Waiting for further adventures.

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