Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Feeding


There was nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing at all. And then: everything to smell. The palpable blackness clung everywhere like a confining wrap. The deadness of the dark was chilling and, somehow, some way, comforting and secure. But the smells wafted and permeated all. Odors collided with other odors; scents meandered with other scents. But a new and unfamiliar stink endured. Only then was it immediately recognized. Though the full nothing was as complete and total as black could be, and though the emptiness of sound was as though someone or something removed it's very presence, the thing knew its purpose. It knew, it felt, it believed only one thing: feed.


The memory of the night past was foggy and broken at best. It recalled increments of time, bits and pieces of moments and actions, and faces. There were faces in the mist of the mind, faces it knew, faces it'd seen. Something else was there as well. It suddenly recalled the terror, the ghastly encounter, the moment of ending. It sat up, regarding the fullness of the blackness more carefully. It moaned, sorrowfully and remorsefully into the nothing, and cocked its nose to the open dark. Images of what it had seen sparked inside its rapidly diminishing memory, and quickly faded into their own bottomless end. And then the odor of prey hammered into its complacency like an unseen fist. It must feed, and it must feed soon lest, for some momentarily unknown reason, it die. Horribly, painfully, it would die. It staggered against the inky shroud and, subconsciously, panicked at the fact that it had no Earthly idea how to see where it desperately needed to go. It picked up no noise to aid in its present course, and some buried fear surfaced enough to wrap its tentacles around the weakened mind. But it knew that the mind was far from weak. Follow the scent; use the scent to guide you. Use the scent to feed.


The alluring aroma tickled its nose and tongue like tiny, invisible tendrils and pecked at its very being begging for it to proceed. It stood erect, but somehow, not. It heard the creaking of taught tendons; it felt the tightening, sinewy muscles it had never noticed before. It clenched its fists, piercing into its own palms. Sharp extrusions ripped into its palm flesh and brought forth pain and blood. Though somewhere deep in the back of its mind it screamed in soundless, mute terror calling for help that would never come, in the present, it bellowed a sound into the blankness so horrid, so undeniably wicked, that for a moment, it frightened itself. Hair that now flowed from every inch of its skin stood on end not only in temporary fear, but also in complete readiness. The fresh smell of prey gripped its very purpose anew, and it followed. It ran hard, it ran fast, it looked not with its eyes and it heard not with its ears, but it followed just the same on the path of the prey.


Its eyes became acutely aware so suddenly, it had to stop and motionlessly focus. Lights now sliced irritatingly to and fro, never slowing or noticing virtually anything. Bright flashes pierced the air as pulsing blobs of life marched back and forth like an endless parade. It stood, still as the night air, and fell to its haunches in readiness. More new feelings erupted from the glare: sounds and dreadful noises. It could now hear speaking, chewing, footfalls, laughing, crying, engines… everything it couldn't just minutes ago. Things it nearly recalled hearing and seeing in a past time and place. It all hit him so rapidly that he tried, in vain, to shake them from his head. The auditory and visual assaults calmed only slightly as it placed each in its own time and place. Things began to make just enough sense now for him to complete its task: Feed. It had rested there, on the wet ground, and breathed deeply feeling the throbbing hunger ripping his thoughts asunder. It gathered itself, and looked around. Just at his feet was a small puddle. The picture in the calmly rippling water was that of a snarling nightmare so maddeningly repulsive that the still crying voice from the depths of its brain wailed in agony. It saw its hairy, no, furry hands… paws, as they led upward to its beastly form and drooling muzzle. It fought back the urge to howl again. It must remain silent and cunning, for soon it would kill.


Slowly, the lights and sounds faded away as time pushed further into late evening. It hadn't been noticed at all, which was a bit unfortunate since, had it been found, it would have killed with pleasure and fed. But it sat, biding its time. Then, just a short distance from him, his three awakened senses locked on the prey. Its eyes made out the light thrumming from the prey's beating heart.


It ears pricked at the sound of the prey's steady breathing.


And its nose knew this was to be the feast.


It sprang without a second thought. It leapt knowing only one thing: feed. It arced through the air and, nearly soundlessly, collapsed the being to a crumpled mass so quickly that the prey hadn't time to sigh. Not a fight, not even a muscle twitch to speak of, as it gnashed the prey's throat with its huge, hungry teeth and whipped its head around to tear life from the prey's veins. It smashed the prey's body into a nearby building, shattering numerous bones and causing the feast to retch a wealth of blood. The salty life-liquid erupted from the prey's torn neck and splattered the hunter's face and fur. It saw its prey's eyes; white, staring, clinging to life. It unlatched its jaws for a second and shot its muzzle into the soft cavern of the belly. The bulbous stomach popped outward spilling entrails and innards onto the sidewalk. The beast clenched, swallowed, bit, consumed, and continued unabated until chest bones rubbed its nose. Slowly removing its mouth from the cavity to pause and lick its chops, it noticed the prey's face: frozen in a dead stupor and an unhappy question. The beast grinned, if a beast can, belched, and wedged its muzzle up into the rib cage and joyfully, excitedly, ate the heart.


It lapped the remainder of its meal from its feet and fur. It had long since returned to the blackness it knew earlier. It squinted then, for on the horizon was to be its daily undoing. It had no idea why the new milky light hurt it so. And then, as it had begun, it knew darkness. Though it saw the light in the end.

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