The color never bothered me before. I’ve seen it more than most. This wouldn’t be the first time I rinsed it from my hands. But now, more than ever, I doubted it would be the last.
Hillhead District – Glasgow, Scotland
The smell of bleach was potent in the air as I bent down on the wooden floor. Scrubbed the last of the blood splatter with his torn black and gold UG sweatshirt. Placed the stained piece of clothing in one of the bin liners filled with body parts. Wasn’t sure if it contained his or hers. Didn’t matter.
I had plans to dump them in the River Clyde. Let the industrial waste aid their decay.
I didn’t mean to kill them. But it made me do it.
That was the first time I felt it, that deep craving festering in the pit of my stomach. So strong it clenched my intestines and felt like it was crawling up my esophagus. Torturing my insides until I surrendered to feeding it. That small drop of blood on her lip had awakened its existence and her scent lingered in my nostrils.
I followed the couple after they left the café. Led by her scent, I paced myself several steps behind them. Felt my stomach ache as they stopped at a flat on Gibson Street. I watched them from behind a tree. The young man sighed as the young woman dug in her purse, searched for her keys to unlock the door.
Her smell was strong. I could hear the sound of her heart beating beneath her rib cage and envisioned her warm blood flowing through her veins. My mouth watered and thoughts of my teeth piercing her flesh consumed my head. I became lost in a state of euphoria and I had no self-restraint with what would happen next.
I ran. At least I thought I did. Moved so fast my feet seemed to glide above the ground. Locked my arm around the young man’s throat from behind before he had a chance to react. Yanked on his neck with little effort. Felt the bones in it begin to crack one by one until there was a single snap. His pupils widened and I tossed his lifeless body to the side.
The young woman, still fidgeting for her keys, dropped her purse. She backed up against the door. Started to let out a scream but I covered her mouth with my hand. Felt her warm breath blow against my palm. Tears filled the ducts of her eyes and begin to trickle onto her cheeks. I ran my tongue along her bottom lip and gently nibbled on it. Bit into it slowly, reopening the same area that bled earlier. I continued to bite down until her blood filled my mouth. Swallowed.
I liked the way she tasted.
I grabbed her head, forced it over to the side, and exposed her neck. Smelled the pulsating veins running through it which made my stomach growl. I penetrated my teeth right above her collar and drank her until I was full.
…Until she was dead.
Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall Place – London, England … 51 days later
I set in a marmalade leather chair, pushed around lamb cuts and braised cabbage with my fork. My other hand was in his lap. Rubbed his dick through his pants underneath the table. I enjoyed watching the expressions on his face change as he carried on in conversation with his colleagues. He was trying his best to stay composed, but I knew internally he was losing control. I smiled to the sound of his heart beat as it began to race. He placed his hand on top of mine and leaned in towards the side of my face. “Later,” he whispered. Kissed my cheek and rubbed the tips of my fingers before gently pushing my hand away.
Campbell’s corporate headquarters was hosting a weekend conference. I only agreed to accompany him because I was in desperate need of a distraction. In need of something to take my mind off of it.
My entire being was immersed with the memory of its taste. But I hadn’t drunk from another soul since the young woman. Human soul I should say. Furry creatures had become my prey; dogs, cats, rabbits, and many others were fair game. They didn’t taste as good, but I had to eat. Had to feed. I could no longer stomach normal food. The mere thought of swallowing it made me gag.
I knocked some of the expensive dinner onto the napkin I had placed on my lap. Tried to create the illusion that I was eating my meal. Campbell and his colleagues were deep into a discussion about software design. They hadn’t noticed my antics. I was beyond bored and excused myself from the snooze fest. Walked over to the marble island of the bar and nonchalantly reached behind it when no one was looking. I grabbed a bottle of champagne that I couldn’t afford, tucked it under my arm, and made my way upstairs.
Upon entrance I tossed the room key on the desk, slipped my feet out of my heels, and set at the edge of the bed. Turned on the box and popped the cork to open the large bottle that was in my grasps. Didn’t bother to get a glass. I tilted my head back, placed my lips around the tip, and poured the bubbly liquid down my throat. Continued to drink until its contents were entirely gone. Until all thoughts in my mind were gone.
An hour or so went by and I could barely keep my eyes open. My body felt like it was swaying in a breeze. Face was almost numb minus a light prickling sensation that moved across my cheek bones. My lips formed a smile as I laughed and fell back onto the bed. Soon after, I drifted into the darkness.
I awoke the next morning. Small beams of light escaped the cracks of the curtains and heated my face. I moaned. Grabbed a pillow and covered my face. Finger tips gently stroked the top of my head.
“You can’t still be tired,” Campbell said, “I couldn’t even wake you up when I came in last night.”
I had no recollection of him coming back to the room.
“I must have been in a deep sleep,” I replied.
He moved the pillow and kissed my lips.
“No worries,” he assured me, “We have the entire day to spend together.”
Campbell got out of the bed and stretched his arms. He started talking about the downstairs Sunday Brunch and how they make an amazing Truffle Eggs Benedict. He went on to tell me about other items on the menu but I soon tuned him out. I had a slight headache and the small amount of light coming from the window was making it worse. I let out another unpleasant moan as he encouraged me to get dressed.
“Let’s enjoy this day,” he said.
Campbell opened the window curtains and the heat from the sun hit me. I jumped up, ran into the loo, and locked the door. Campbell stood on the other side asking me if I was okay. I couldn’t find the words to reply to him because my reflection in the mirror had me speechless.
The pain was almost intolerable. Burns covered my face and the exposed areas on my body. The top layer of skin on my cheeks was peeling off of my face. I could also smell cooked flesh, a smell that had been eternally engraved in my brain. For the longest I thought I was different, similar but never the same. For the longest, I had been wrong.
Campbell begin to knock loudly on the door.
“I’m fine,” I told him.
But I wasn’t. My body wasn’t healing.
I wanted to panic, but something inside me told me to remain calm. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in. Focused on every ounce of energy I had. Felt it flow through me until my skin was no longer raw. I exhaled and fell to the floor. I slowly picked myself back up. Peered into the mirror and saw that I was normal again. I felt tired. Weak.
I splashed water onto my face before unlocking the door. Wiped it as Campbell entered the loo.
“What happened?” he asked, “You scared me.”
“Just drank too much champagne last night,” I told him.
He smiled and wrapped his arms around me. I placed my head on his shoulder.
“I’m really falling for you Freya,” he whispered.
I tried to reply but I found myself distracted by the sound of Campbell’s pulse in his neck. No matter how much I wanted to control it, I couldn’t. It had taken over my entire cognitive process, and my brain had no choice but to fixate on it.
“I’m sorry,” I told him.
What would happen next was inevitable. My mum’s blood had sealed my fate.