City of Crows

City of Crows

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

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Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Summary

In the City, there exists a terrible hunger.
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Summary

In the City, there exists a terrible hunger.

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Hunger and the Crows

Author Chapter Note

A man exists for one purpose - to feed.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 09, 2017

Reads: 49

Comments: 2

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 09, 2017

A A A

A A A

 

“Damn the luck...”

It was a warm night.  The week of sweltering heat made the atmosphere of the brightly lit streets pleasant after dusk.  Neither too hot or too cold.  The sky would be due for rain soon, the air thick with humidity on whatever day it should clear.  I knew this well enough, one of many patterns that came second nature with living in the city.  To me it was more than walls of concrete, metal and glass.  It held deeper meaning than the businesses or flocking people hasting away to nowhere.  This was my world.  This was my home, or as close to one as I could understand.  They say home is where the heart is, somewhere you may lay and find rest.  I suppose I could say as much.  After all, my heart belonged to nothing but itself.  But as a place of comfort, I was always unsure.  I understood well there was no such place for someone, something, like me.  A wretched thing, a no one - a face found only in the shadows.  This is what I am.  And should you see me there, staring into your eyes with a hollow hunger, may whatever God you believe know mercy.

I met her at the bus stop earlier in the day when the heat was too insufferable to travel the streets on foot.  She wore a yellow dress with a flower hat, holding an umbrella over her head.  More than likely this was to keep shaded from the Sun’s blistering touch, as well as a precaution for the inevitable rainfall.  The bright colors were a good idea as well.  Smart girl, I thought.  She was also attractive, I suppose.  Despite my young age I had no interest in the desires of the flesh, as well as thoughts that would mean the same.  I had to satisfy a more ‘unique’ hunger.

Beginning conversation with an attractive composure and some humorous quip, I charmed her into dinner at the cafe I knew to be a few blocks away.  In this way there was a greater chance it would be a familiar place to her, and so be most comfortable there.  She indeed knew the place, even frequented it for a shot of espresso or two.  She wondered why we had not met before.  Surely I could not mention a sliver of that truth, but another clever reply would see to evading the topic and ensuring our engagement for the evening.

Now I know what you may be thinking - could he be foreshadowing to some act of murder or rape, the sort one would cringe at hearing about on the news?  Or perhaps he is hinting toward a sort of depraved fetish, somewhere along the lines of torture, cannibalism or even vampirism?  You could call it deranged, but I can assure you nothing like the aforementioned.  You could say to believe someone, something, like me existing in the world to be unadulterated madness.  I would not blame anyone for denying this truth.  I thought myself a lunatic when I first experienced it.  It was a depravity unlike anything I had ever known or heard before.  It was terrible and wonderful, frightening yet enjoyable.  I was wracked with disgust, yet still relished every moment.  I pray to whatever High Powers may be there is no other like me, although the loneliness empties my strange existence further.  No one to love or be loved by, aside from my shadow.  Nothing to live with or live for, but this hunger.

I remained in my apartment for the rest of the daylight hours.  It was a cramped, one bedroom with an even tinier bathroom adjacent to my sleeping space.  The living room and kitchen existed together in the first room when entered, a single door defining the space between them and the bedroom.  The place appeared older than it was from a history of less cleanly tenants.  I kept little possessions for myself there.  A coach and twin-sized bed was my only furniture.  Anything else, I felt, was unnecessary.

I found myself sitting on my bed for most of my time until the dinner date, already dressed in a white button-down shirt, black vest, fedora and slacks.  At some point I opened the window I had positioned the bed next to, staring out to the dizzying skyscrapers and bustling streets.  Such wasted existences, I mused.  Far be it for me to deny them the end my hunger could give them.  After all, what more could a city diseased with idiocy and meaninglessness be?  This and similar thoughts poured through my pondering.  And then, at the corner view from my window, I noticed a murder of crows perched upon the roof of a nearby apartment building.

I always thought them to be such wretched things.  Mindless scavengers, flocking to their next undeserved meal like an entitled swarm of feathered rodents.  Their constant fluttering and cawing made my skin crawl.  I always related them to the filthy population of the city’s people in the same manner.  Both disgusted me to no end.  Occasionally, however, a view of relation would come to mind.  Am I so different?  I live off such creatures, after all.  They live, breathe and eat in their greed, but it was such gluttony that I relished in my own moments of feeding.  It could be I am as they are, only separated by a level higher on the food chain.  By the end of my day I would dismiss such philosophizing.  The something I was, however disturbing or magnificent as I may be, could not afford such human prating.

I later waited for her at the cafe after sundown.  She arrived shortly after I had, this time wearing a black skirt and white blouse.  If any less formal, it would seem she was to attend a funeral.  How fitting, I pondered, but indulged no further into the future that would be for risk of becoming too anxious to carry on composed.  She laid her designer purse beside her chair, and like a gentleman I pulled her chair out for her to sit.  She sat and allowed me to push her seat comfortably to the small table, but not before sharing an appreciative smile.  Her eyes were a light hazel, bright and lively, her brunette hair pulled to a short ponytail.  She wore no makeup, and yet she was stunning.  I had not recognized such a natural beauty earlier that day.  Surely she has made the heads of men turn in earnest for a sight.  Had I not been as I am, perhaps she would have made an adequate lover.  But I digress.

We ordered our drinks.  She ordered a decaf coffee, and so I asked for the same.  I was never one for coffee, or any other sort of beverage.  Food, as well, was no different.  Normal forms of sustenance did nothing for me.  Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, all of it uneatable to me.  I knew nothing of human nourishment.  My only hunger, my only thirst, was my own.  Regardless, I needed to at least appear ordinary.  My intentions would not come to fruition if I was ever unable to.  Until the finale, that is.

“How long have you lived here?” she questioned after I returned to my seat.

Lived?  Such an interesting notion.  I assumed she meant how long I have remained within the city’s limits.  ‘Living’, at least by its common usage, was not a manner of existence I knew or understood.  But continue the charade of normalcy I did.

“Long enough to regret never meeting a lovely lady such as yourself,” I replied with a smile.

She returned the smile, coupled with her face blushed crimson.

“You’re too sweet,” she said shyly.

I looked down at my coffee, placed before me as she made her compliment.  This time I smiled more out of the tragic comedy of her words rather than deception, though I was certain she thought it came from her misguided flattery.  Foolish girl.  If only she knew how this evening would end.  Had I not come along, perhaps such naivety would prove fatal to her anyway.  In which case, I was doing her a favor.

A few hours passed and I was eager to continue on.  With a romantic gesture of an open, outstretched palm and a playful wink I asked if she would like to continue dinner at my place.  A sudden move, but I felt confident in my progress.  I was right to believe so, for she met my hand with her own and a wooed gaze.  The hour of the night had come.  It was time to feed.

We walked together down the street, arm in arm, taking a number of back alleys along our travels.  Allowing further comfort to grow by passing darkened places without sign of ill intent was a trick I began practicing long ago.  It has proved its usefulness well enough.  However, such paths secreted their risks.

While I stared off into a waking dream of the feast to come, I felt her tug me to a stop.  There was a shaking wideness in her eyes, the sort that came with a body frozen in fear.  I had seen it many times before.  Only this time, it was not me.  Following her shivered stare I could see clearly what it was.  Three men stood in our way of leaving the alley, barely a block away from my apartment.  So close, I cursed to myself.

It was not difficult to tell they were hoodlums.  Their graphic designer hoodies and loose jeans made that obvious.  They lacked any sort of flags or bandannas, so it was safe to assume they were not part of a gang.  No member of any street group walked together without one, another second nature observation from my time in this city.  Regardless, it was apparent their intentions toward us were not favorable.  More importantly, they were in my way.

“Aye!  Whatcha got in your pocket, kid?” the middle one asked with a twisted smirk.  The other two circled us on our left and right flank, their expressions equally unpleasant.  They chuckled together like a pack of hyenas.  Filthy, mangy, ugly hyenas.

When neither the girl or myself answered, the same assailant pulled out a butterfly knife from his back pocket and continued his annoyance.

“Give us whatcha got and I promise you won’t bleed as much.”

I did not care for money or possessions.  If it would remove these leeches from my evening, it would have served its purpose.

“I don’t know, man,” said the one to our right, which was the side where the girl stood clinging to my arm, “I’m thinking we should take his bitch too.  She looks like she could show us a good time.  Ya know what I’m saying, bro?”

“Sure,” the middle thug snickered before turning to me and saying, “Small dogs feed bigger dogs.  Nothing personal, bro.”

The perverted goon to our right approached and grabbed her by the hair, trying to pull her out of my grasp.  He even leaned close to smell her hair.  Enough was enough.  No one spoils my meal.

Without letting her go I turned toward the thug while he enticed himself with her perfume and gave him a headbutt.  He stumbled backwards, cussing and holding his nose with both hands.  Given the amount of blood that dripped through his fingers, I assumed I made good contact.  Then I looked to the girl, by now whose attention darted back and forth between myself and the idiot who had recoiled in pain.  She was panicking.

“I need you to sleep for this,” I whispered in her ear as I placed a palm on her forehead.

She immediately became unconscious - an ability I discovered to possess some time ago and used for similar emergencies.  Before she could fall I slowly reclined her to the ground.  For a moment the thought of her beauty while asleep passed through my mind, though it was quick to disappear.  I had far more entertaining prospects before me.

“What the fuck, man?” the left degenerate exclaimed.

Their recently injured associate gurgled what I could barely understand to be some insulting name for me followed by “broke my nose.”  It was difficult to understand his whining through blood-drenched hands.  I found his suffering amusing, as well as the disappearance of his friends’ sadistic smiles.

“I was hoping for a lovely meal, but you will do,” I said.

My grin felt like it stretched from ear to ear with anticipation.  My eyes grew wide, and I could feel it taking over.  I was ready to feast.

“This guy must be out his fucking head!” said the fellow with the knife as the one to my left drew his own blade.  I suppose he meant to say I was insane.  But I was not insane - I was hungry.

A surging tension tightened my stomach until a booming laughter exploded from my voice.  It pierced their ears, forcing them to drop their weapons so as to cover them.  Even the one bleeding could not hold his broken nose any longer.  As my humored shrieking escalated, the reality of our surroundings began to warp.  

The color of the concrete ground and brick walls turned to a solid black, the cracks in their surfaces seeping a violet glow into the air.  The streetlamp standing outside the mouth of the alley bent until it shaped into an awkward cane, its now upside-down fixture like a star of sinister amethyst.  Even the sky gave way to a perfectly starless void.  All the while my convulsing laughter howled, like its reverberation shook this twisted world to life.  This was my inner world made manifest - my Grimscape.  But it was more than that.  This was my heralding, and what followed next was the transformation I truly craved.

It started as a coldness crawling across my skin, sinking to my bone until I felt the chill in my marrow.  Then a heat rose to take its place within me.  It branched outward until the inner fire within simmered beneath my exterior.  The sensation caressed my body like a furnace midst a raging blizzard.  This was when I felt alive.  The only occasion more stimulating, more euphoric, was when I sated my appetite.

My form morphed with the sensation.  A cracking noise burst from my body, much like bones breaking, with each simultaneous change.  My limbs stretched and thinned, extending to a length disproportionate to my newly lithe torso.  From this I grew approximately double the height of my human guise.  My fingers grew long and sharp.  My pale complexion darkened to a pure obsidian and my eyes ignited into a glow of hellish crimson.  Conveniently my attire always altered accordingly as well.  The only aspect to remain remotely the same was my extensive grin, and even that would take on a more maniacal appearance.  In a matter of seconds the metamorphosis was complete.  I was complete.

I abruptly ceased laughing, though the sound still lingered for a moment in echo.  When they managed to notice their surroundings, their senses no longer rattled by my wailing, they seemed unable to register what stood before them.  Their jaws fell and their eyes bulged open.  They awed at the sight in silence, as they should.  But it was not enough.  I needed something more.  I needed more fear - hopeless, crippling, delicious fear.

Without moving my feet from where they stood I reached to the one I previously wounded.  Clenching and lifting his entire body with one bony hand I held him in front of me for his companions to see.  He grunted, screamed, struggled and writhed in vain.  Though my whole being teamed with delight in breaking him then, I retained enough composure to not crush the frail fool.  After all, I had a more satisfying idea in mind.

“That looks painful,” I said to him in the low, rough tone of my actual voice, “You need not suffer much longer.”

With my free hand I lightly touched a single clawed finger between his eyes.  Twice I gently tapped the ridge in the center of his brow.  He panted through his teeth, trembling as he watched my every movement until I rested the point of my finger upon it again.  Our sights locked.  His eyes were like dark pools, an ocean of powerless emotions.  It almost made me drool.

“Was that an echo I heard?” I teased, “I cannot say I would be surprised.  Hollow minds for shallow kinds, I suppose.  But how can I be sure?”

He held his breath and his eyes shook violently.  Idiot or not, he saw where the dialogue was leading to.

I paused for a moment that I may inflict as much suspense as I could.  The others had not budged.  Their legs were practically quaking by now, which suited me just fine.  All the better to witness their near-future demise manifest.  Finally, they were ripe.

Effortlessly, I plunged my finger in.  Its length impaled straight through his skull.  I could feel the end of my finger sticking a few inches through the back.  His body convulsed wildly as his beautifully terrified eyes rolled into his head.  He could only loose a few stuttering gasps.  I assumed there was too much agony for much else.

I removed the fatal appendage while he still displayed signs of life.  I opened my now salivating mouth.  As I did his entire body, starting from where I lanced his cranium, slowly unraveled as if he were a gauze coming undone.  The unwinding strips streamed into my mouth, brushing against my eager tongue before passing down my throat.  This continued until nothing remained of him, after which I licked my finger for a final flavor.  I was beyond pleased with my first dish of what would be a three course meal.  After savoring the taste for another short moment I stared hungrily to the man on my left, playfully licking my lips with a smile.

His mortified face thrilled me.  Even more entertaining was the paling tone of his face upon noticing my fixed gaze.  He made an attempt to flee, but tripped over his own feet after a few clumsy steps.  I suppose his legs could not function after so much trembling.

Still without moving I reached an arm out to seize him by both legs.  He tried clawing away, but to no avail.  I dragged him closer before hoisting him upside down to face me.  His arms dangled in the air.  He clenched his teeth, his eyes unblinking as he awaited the same fate he had watched with paralyzing horror.  So limp, so helpless.  He reminded me of a rag doll, enticing another exquisite idea.  

Nervous, he stuttered, “W-what... W-what th-the...” 

“I believe the word your tiny brain is looking for is ‘fuck’.”

With that said I swung him over my head and flat onto the ground behind me.  I could hear the bones in his back, as well as many others, shatter from the impact.  Twice more I did this.  The second time he plummeted on his chest and the third time again on his backside.  I lifted his face to meet mine again.  His body hung broken in my grip.  Blood dripped all over, his clothes stained and torn.  His expression was frozen in speechless suffering.  My hunger could no longer await this second helping.

I opened my mouth again, and as before his entire existence unwound and flowed down my gullet.  He seemed catatonic to his demise, but I could taste his last, anguishing moments.  His fear was like a seasoning, his torment a rich base of flavor.  Together he had become ambrosia, perfected to my liking.  Soon enough there was nothing left of him as well.  My tongue caressed the palm of my clawed hand, having held my pulverized meal barely seconds prior.  I had no thirst for blood, but I came to enjoy the taste after devouring my morsels so utterly.

Such a wonderful night, I mused with elation.  It excited me further to know yet another delicacy awaited for my satisfaction.  When I turned to my third and final prospect, he seemed to prove more motivated in escaping than the previous - though I was in no hurry.  I learned whenever the surrounding area changed like this - occurring whenever I transformed - the scenery would aid me.  The idiot would soon learn this as well.

I turned my back to where he ran and waited.  A poultry two minutes passed before he came running toward me from the new direction I faced.  I knew his futile flight would lead him back to me.  It was what I willed.  Therefore, so too was the will of the Grimscape.  By the time he realized the futility of his exodus I was looming over him.  In comparison I was a towering promise of doom, casting a shadow whose size could only be dwarfed by my appetite.

In desperation he pleaded, “H-hey look, man...  You don’t gotta do this!”

I responded with silence.  His bargaining amused me, so I left him uninterrupted.

“C-c-can you let me go?  You’ll never see me again, I-I swear!  Promise!  Please!”

Again I withheld any reply.  The trembling shrill in his voice was absolutely hilarious.

“Come on, man!  I’m sorry, OK?  I’m sorry!  Wh-Why are you doing this?”

By now he was crying - tears, snot and all.  I leaned a bit closer, face to face as I did with the others.  I must have looked so intimidating - so menacing.  All the better, I say.  I waited for his hysteria to subside.  It pleased me to watch his misery unfold to its full fruition.

“Why?” he croaked once more with a sob.

My grin extended, even more than it had before.

“Small dogs feed bigger dogs.  Nothing personal.  Bro.”

Intangible tendrils sprouted from my shadow around him.  They enveloped his ankles and waist before taking his wrists to hold out his arms.  He contested at first, but past visual evidence was enough to swiftly break his will.  He lifted his head, taking a moment to glance at me wearily.  He knew this was his end.  Rather than cry any longer, he accepted defeat. 

Before bowing his head, he muttered, “Stupid way to die...  Eaten by a goddamn scarecrow...”

I certainly need not embellish on the details, nor the ecstasy, that transpired from there.  He became sustenance for me, just as the others had - delicious, tantalizing, euphoric sustenance.  It is what they deserved, the fools.  If anything, they fulfilled a greater purpose than any they could ever hope to accomplish.  But something in this last victim’s words held an interest with me.  Scarecrow.  Appropriate, I thought.  I had my own birth name, though seldom made use of it.  Scarecrow, to me, was more veracious to my nature.  My physical description was also fitting, I suppose.

The taste of their lifeforce enveloped my core with euphoria.  It was beyond satisfying, so delightful I hardly knew how to contain myself.  I stood still for another moment, relishing the experience.  Their faces filled with terror, their pleas of mercy, their last moment stocked to the brim with fear - all of it.  This was what I craved for.  This is what I existed for.

Mamma...

The voice that spoke was not my own.  With its one utterance my head felt as though it was being crushed from the inside.  Every thought became scrambled and multiplied the pain.  I could not tell if I was even screaming - the sudden spike of mental anguish was too unrelenting to hear.  My vision then faded from the Grimscape to a place I could only barely recognize.

The unbearable strain dissipated as I found myself in the kitchen of some house.  At the table there sat a woman looking to be in her forties.  Standing close by was a little boy, no older than ten years of age, talking to the woman excitedly.

“He’s gone now, Mamma!  He can’t hurt us anymore!  Isn’t that great?”

The woman, supposedly his mother, did nothing to respond.  It was after hearing the boy’s words I had come to notice tears running down her face, her eyes staring off into some unseen space.  She appeared incoherent to the child’s jubilation, and it did not take too long for him to recognize this as well.

“Mamma?  Why are you crying, Mamma?  He’s gone...  So why are you crying?”

She did not utter a word, let alone make eye contact.  Immediately after speaking these questions a group of four men in black suites burst through the front door in the adjacent lobby.  The first two to enter apprehended the boy and proceeded to drag him away.

He reached to his mother, kicking and screaming, “Mamma!  Where are they taking me?  Help me!  Help me, Mamma!”

Mamma!

At that point the vision crumbled away around me.  Although instead of finding myself back in the alley, everything melted to black.  I could feel my legs give out from under me just before my body went completely numb.  There was not even I chance for me to be confused.  I do remember, before the sudden oblivion fell, whispering a curse under my breath.

“Damn the luck...”

 

 


© Copyright 2017 M. A. Yacone. All rights reserved.

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