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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is the first in series of short stories, which I will combine later into a book. This one is about the how the outbreak starts. It Involves a young college student named Angu who has an innocuous accident, unleashing a horror from a thousand years ago.


September 20, 2022

 There’s nothing better than that first cup of coffee in the morning. Angus watched the news sipping his steaming coffee, preparing for another day of classes, then work. As his sipped the hot ebony liquid, he steeled himself for the day, trying to convince himself that his job may be menial, but it was only for another year until he graduated, then he would have a job that was performed with his mind, not his overly calloused hands. The News anchors had spent the hour talking about how the economy has tanked and reminding everyone that there was no hope in sight. Most of them would throw their own political views in, some less covertly than others. The newest pandemic flu to hit the market was reportedly rampant, and the vaccine was low on supply. The anchors were saying nothing that Angus wanted to hear, so he only barely listened to them, picking out a word here and there. None of that mattered because the weatherman, a swarthy looking fellow in a shirt and tie standing in front of a green screen, was telling Angus that the weather this weekend would be glorious, balmy and breezy without a cloud in sight. A warm smile spread across Angus’ face, and he sipped from his cup.

 Angus opened a web browser on his laptop and checked his reservations at the hotel this weekend. He realized as he was looking at the sight that he was grinning like an idiot, and couldn’t stop. The reservations were set at both the hotel and the restaurant. Checking his e-mail, he found the confirmation from the carriage company. Everything was set and everything was perfect. It was eating up all of the meager savings he had been able to pull together for the past seven months, but it was worth it if Dawn said yes. Angus let out a loud whoop, and jumped out of his chair to get ready for school. He was instantly embarrassed at his own giddiness, and looked around at his empty apartment to make sure that no one had seen him acting like such a fool. He was alone of course, and laughing out loud at himself.

 Classes drug by, as if time itself was conspiring against him. Business administration was not the most exiting of subjects on the best day, but when you are aching to finish your day, to finish plans for the biggest night of your life, they can be downright torturous. Several times throughout the day Dawn texted him, complaining about her own classes, laughing at something that had happened, or just to say I love you. She had no clue, which made the day even sweeter to Angus. He sent a quick text, trying to sound nonchalant. “Meet for dinner on break?”

 The answer came minutes later, as the professor droned on sounding more than a bit like Ben Stein. “Sure…What ya’ want to eat?”

 “Whatever you fix.” Angus chuckled to himself, seeming to wake the guy in the next chair, as he glanced over at Angus with an irritated look. Angus didn’t care.

 “K…I’ll scrounge the trash cans for ya’.” Was the only answer, then Angus turned back to his studies, catching up on copying the scribbled notes from the large whiteboard in the back of the room.  

 Classes finished around four, which gave Angus thirty minutes to get across the UCLA campus to the shipping and receiving dock of the School of Anthropology. As he walked he realized that the silly grin had faded from his face, Professor Ben Stein was good at that. He still felt good, and it was a good thing that his grin had faded, as he was going to work on the delivery dock, and the others that worked there would have teased him incessantly for walking around looking like an idiot. As he arrived he saw that Ray, another student trying to keep alive by working way too much, was arriving at the same time. He cast Ray a greeting smile, and a nod. Ray returned the gesture. They couldn’t be called true friends, but they were work buddies.

 “We gotta large shipment coming in today man, that’s why they called me in.” Ray’s accent had faded over the years since his arrival from Ecuador, but it was still very much there.

 “What dig is it from?” Angus would never be an archaeologist, but he loved hearing about the digs from around the world. It made him feel a bit like Indiana Jones, and he always hoped that he would help uncover some lost treasure, but it seemed that most of what came from these digs were ancient broken bowls, broken vases, broken plates, or broken cups. He often laughed that all ancient civilizations were founded by drunken frat boys, because all the broken dishes.

 “The Uxmal dig, in the Yucatan.” Ray was slipping on a white apron, and heavy black rubber gloves.

 “Crap. That one never has anything cool.” Angus shrugged and slid his apron over his head, and put on his gloves, as Ray opened the bay doors to an open gaping hole of the trailer that contained the artifacts.  

 The truck was packed with slatted crates of various sizes, carefully jammed together to keep them from moving as much as possible, by Angus’ counterpart in Mexico. One by one they unloaded crates. The first few crates threatened to be extremely heavy, and with a heavy thrust that almost threw Angus backwards, he was proved wrong. The crates were larger than they needed to be, packed with packing peanuts or air filled bags, or whatever they had, to keep the artifacts inside from shifting around.

 With both of them working it only took an hour before the truck was unloaded. The gloves they were wearing only lasted fifteen minutes, because the crates were hard to handle without the grasp of your fingers. Now came the fun part, at least to Angus. He and Ray were allowed to unpack the crates, and only recently had they agreed to let them do this. It was a combination of faith in their loyal dock hands, and a lack of funding for archaeologists to unpack crates. As Angus suspected the crates were filled with what he called the broken dishes. They spent the remainder of their day unpacking, and gently dusting off broken fragments of pottery, and a few etched stones.  

 The last crate of the day was left for Angus, by the luck of the draw. Recently they had been granted the duty of using horse hair brushes to remove loose dirt from artifacts arriving from the digs. They were not allowed to clean the items, but gently brushing would cause no harm. Ray was busy cleaning the soft dirt off of a hand sized chunk of dull brown pottery. Angus tried to lift the crate and was surprised. Most of the crates had been large, but contained only small items, with very little weight. This one was different. It was large, and it was heavier than he expected it to be. He couldn’t lift the thing. Taking the crowbar he pried open the box and was rewarded with a resounding crack as the sides of the crate separated. Angus almost fell over when the crate released, releasing the pressure on his crow bar.  

 Inside the crate was a very large unbroken jar, covered in a fine coat of dried clay. Angus could see the paintings on the jar, still covered in clay, like looking at them through a muddy window. Even through the mud, the colors on the pot were still vibrant, as if they were years old instead of centuries. Grabbing the rim Angus tried to move the jar, which was half as tall as he was, and bigger around. It was no use. The thing was over a hundred pounds, and Angus was not a jock. Using leverage he spun the jar, turning it on its bottom, and kind of rolling it out of the crate. As he spun the jar, straining with all his might, his left thumb caught on a sharp edge of ceramic that was sticking up by the lid of the jar. “Ow!” Angus pulled his hand back with a yelp, and shook his hand.  

 Holding his hand up to his face he inspected the wound. The cut wasn’t deep, little more than a scrape actually, and wasn’t even bleeding. Shaking his head, he went back to work, tilting the jar, and starting all over again, being careful not to run his hand over the sharp edge again. Inch by inch he rolled the Jar out. As he did, Angus was inspecting the paintings on the side. Most of it was covered in that dry mud, but he could see an extremely thin figure with a face almost like a skull. The figure wore a strange head dress that looked to Angus like a bowler hat with sticks poking up from it, and he was looking down from a thrown at several warriors dressed in flowery head dresses, who bowed at his feet. Angus had no clue what the jar depicted, but in his mind he thought that the large figure was a conquering king, and the flowered men below him were the losing side of some great battle. It probably was just commemorating a harvest ceremony, or something of that nature. Angus knew his imagination was far more interesting than what these things usually depicted.  

 Meticulously he took down his horse hair brush, and began to sweep away the grime and clay in gentle strokes. Brushing away the clay he could see the detail of the painting covering the huge Jar. He had seen pictures like this on the web, and on TV, but it amazed him that he was the first person to really see this in a thousand years. He took his time, lovingly cleaning the debris and loose dirt. At the bottom of the Jar was a dark stain that spread across the entire bottom of the jar. Angus tried wiping the grime away, but this was still wet. He looked close, but it didn’t look like mud. It was a darker brown, almost black like oil. He touched his finger to it, spreading it on his finger, and then rubbed it between his finger and thumb, seeing that it felt oily against his skin. As it touched the cut on his thumb, it burned as if he had touched a lit match to it. Shaking his hand to try to cool it didn’t help either, and instinctively he shoved the cut in his mouth, without thinking of the dark black liquid that was still coating his thumb.  

 The wet of his mouth soothed the burning cut, but the taste of that oil was disgusting. It tasted like something rotten. Angus grabbed a cup and some water, as fast as he could, and washed his mouth out, but the taste wouldn’t go away. “Dude that was fucking nasty!” He looked over at Ray, who was stifling a laugh at Angus’ expense. “It tastes like rotten shit.” He mocked spitting, not daring to do so, at the risk of being fired for spitting in the room with the artifacts.

 “Can shit go bad?” He was trying to stifle the laugh, but at last it escaped, and Ray began laughing so hard, that he began to snort. This resulted in Angus throwing packing peanuts at him, which flew through the air, spreading out and floating to the ground harmlessly.

 “Finish up in here; I need to go get Warner.” Angus motioned back toward the jar.” That jar is leaking some nasty crap, and if we don’t take care of it, that jar could be ruined, and I don’t want that on my ass.”  

Angus hurried into the office and returned moments later with the warehouse manager Angela Warner. A gaunt woman with blonde hair pulled up in a bun and women’s business suit, she looked overly perturbed to have been interrupted in whatever pursuit she had been engaged in. “Ms. Warner, take a look at the bottom of this jar, its covered in some oily substance, and I think it’s leaking out from inside the jar.”

She didn’t say a word, just exhaled a little louder than needed, and walked over to the jar. As she walked over, she seemed more preoccupied with the cleanliness of the warehouse, than the integrity of the artifacts that it now housed. As she approached the jar, she looked down and saw the painting on the side, what little mud was left on it, and the black oily substance coating the bottom. “It’s obviously leaking, and if that is oil based it will ruin the artifact. “ She turned and faced Angus; her cold stare was off putting. She might have been pretty if she wasn’t so stern. “Are you sure it is oil based?”

“No.” Angus held up his hand. “I got some of it on my hand and it felt oily.”  

“Well move it away from the crate so we can get to it easily, and we can test to see what the substance is.” It was an order, and she stepped back to watch her order carried out. Angus grabbed the lid of the jar again, being careful of the sharp edge, and began strenuously rolling it on its bottom edge to get it into the middle of the room. “What are you doing?” Warner almost screamed. “Stop, Stop, Stop!” Angus halted immediately. “These jars are over a thousand years old, and very fragile. You don’t roll them on their base!” She looked at Ray, her face red with anger, “You, come over here and help him. Lift it up onto the table.”

Ray hurried over, and the two of them grabbed the jar at the base, but it was slick. As they grabbed it, both Angus’ and Ray’s hands were now slid through the slimy oil that covered the base of the jar. As they lifted, the weight of the jar made it slip, and they barely caught it. Setting it down, they reset their grips and tried again. It almost fell again, but they maintained their grip, and muscled the thing up and onto the table. Ray wiped the oily goo onto his robe, and lifted his hand to his nose and sniffed. “Oh, it smells nasty.” He grimaced, his accent stretching the word nasty out.

“Wash your hands.” Warner was examining the jar with her face so close that her nose was almost scraping the surface. Angus wondered how she kept her nose so close to the foul smelling oil, but she did it without flinching. After a moment she straightened up and turned. “This will definitely destroy the container if we leave it alone. Go in back and get me a sterile container big enough to hold the contents.” Angus hurried off again, like a good obedient employee that needed his job, and returned with a huge plastic sterile container, which he set on the ground at Warner’s feet.

Warner was now smiling, something Angus had not seen before. From a drawer in the table she pulled out a small black case, and opened it. “I don’t get much opportunity to open sealed objects often anymore since I was sent to the warehouse.” She said warehouse like it was a very bad word. Smiling again she pulled out a small knife, and began to methodically scrape the seal that closed the jar. It was slow work, and at first both Angus and Ray sat and watched the anticlimactic scraping. After awhile they became bored and got back to work cleaning the Warehouse. When Dawn arrived with a hamburger and fries for Angus, he told her all about the excitement of the day, and of course she seemed to miss the excitement of it. In fact it probably wasn’t that exiting, especially for a criminal science major, but if you add an overactive imagination, the possibilities were endless.  

“So what are we doing this weekend?” Dawn smiled her sweet smile, dark curls of hair drifting down over large brown eyes.  

Angus desperately wanted to tell her his plans, and had a hard time not telling her when looking into those eyes. “Well, I thought we could, “He resisted. “Hang out around the house, maybe rent a couple movies, and just kick back. Just the two of us.” He smiled hopefully.

 “I want to go do something this weekend.” She frowned turning her pretty lips downward in a fake frown.

“Hun, maybe next weekend?” He pulled his pockets out showing they were empty. “I’m between paychecks and funds are a bit low.”

“I could help pay for it baby.” She was smiling again.

“No. I was hoping to take you out to a really nice dinner and maybe a movie, but wouldn’t mind being a man and paying for it, to be special this time. "He looked at her pleadingly. “It would mean a lot if we could just stay in this weekend.” In his mind he finished the sentence, “Because I have already placed everything you will need for this weekend at my apartment.” Angus smiled at her.

“Ok baby, but you owe me a nice dinner next weekend.” She acquiesced, but he could tell she wasn’t completely happy about it, which made the surprise weekend with a proposal that much sweeter. Still a bit saddened, she added. “I will let you get back to work.” She kissed him lightly on his lips, which still made him tingle every time she did. As he watched her leave he hated that she was a bit sad, but the thought of how she would feel when he surprised her made it all well worth it.

As Angus came back in he saw Ray leaning against a broom again watching Warner open the jar. She was just about done, leaving a trail of broken clay at the base of the jar where she had chipped away at the seal. She was careful, an experienced field archaeologist, and had done no damage to the jar itself, only to the seal. “Ah welcome back Mr. Malinski, you’re in time to see it opened.” With that she inserted the blade between the lid and the jar and began a soft, slow prying method. Again, a bit anticlimactic, but at least Angus saw the progress, and it only took a few minutes before the lid opened with a slight hissing noise. Then the smell hit.

As the lid popped open, and the pressure made a hiss, a black spray of mist shot out into the air, and then the smell crept out, like a living thing, invading every corner of the room. It was horrid, smelling of tar and decomposition. Warner covered her nose, but her eyes went wide. “Get me some forceps.” Ray hurried over and searched through a drawer until he found a large pair of forceps, then hurried back. He was getting exited now too. One thousand years is usually enough time to wipe the cent off of anything, but this smelled like something that was dead and decomposing. It reminded Angus of the smell that had permeated the area around a dead raccoon that he had found behind his house when he was still a child. It was his first glimpse of death, and the smell had stuck with him throughout the years.  

Warner took the forceps, opened them wide and immersed them into the tarry liquid. Fishing around she smiled and pulled something up, making a sucking plopping sound as she pulled it out. Held in the forceps was a badly decomposed hand, with very little flesh left on the bones. Very little flesh, but there was some flesh, and it wasn’t dehydrated. The fingers of the hand were shorter than they should be, which was puzzling at first, and Warner was staring at the fingers intently, despite the smell. After a moment she looked up. “The fingers have been broken away.” She pointed to the end of the fingers of the decrepit hand. “Look here, there are numerous bone fragments sticking off the edge of the fingers, every one of them. “ She spoke to the two dock workers as if they were colleagues on a dig. She raised an eyebrow. “Give me the lid.”  

Angus leaned over and picked up the lid from the shelf under the table where Warner had placed it, being careful of the tarry goo stuck to the inner surface. He held it up and showed it to her. Unmistakably on the inner lid were scratch marks. Covered in tar, and scratched over again, over and over. They had dried in the thousand years since. But even Angus, with no training at all, had figured out what had broken the tips of the hand’s fingers off. “They buried him alive?” Angus’ voice was just a whisper. “Or maybe it was her….but…damn…” He trailed off.

“Mayan doctors were not medical doctors, strictly speaking.” Warner was tracing the scratch marks with her hand, eyes wide. “Perhaps they thought he or she was dead, and were mistaken.” She sighed. “What a horrible way to die. I have never seen a Mayan burial in a jar, or one buried in tar and rubber like this.” She looked up at Angus. “I think this might have been a punishment, although I would have no idea what would warrant being buried alive in a vat of tar.” She mimed a shiver. The shiver gave way to a smile, which was more than a bit creepy to Angus. “Boys this is a big deal.” Her voice was whisper, but it shook with excitement.

Little by little, she removed the contents of the Jar, as Ray and Angus worked on sorting the pieces onto the table. Several times Angus found himself with the black goo on his skin, and more than once it was burning the cut on his thumb, but now excitement was masking the grossness of the stuff. It wasn’t long before they had the entire body out of the jar, contorted and beaten as it was. The head was no longer attached to the body ad the brain had leaked into the liquid sometime in the past.  According to Warner the corpse was a female, although Angus had to take her word for it, because the thing was so mangled and shriveled, that it could barely be recognized as human, let alone male or female. The remainder of what was in the jar was tar, rubber, and apparently decomposed liquids from the body. That last information gave Angus pause, and almost made him lose what was left of his lunch.

As soon as the body was removed, the liquids were poured and sifted into the big plastic container, and the jar was now safe from further decay, and ruin. With the jar out of danger, and the discovery of the body out of the way, the excitement of the moment died away, and the realization that his hands were covered in tar, rubber and decomposed thousand year old human hit Angus. “I think I need to go and clean up Ms. Warner.”

“By all means. Both of you take a break and clean up. You did a great job.” She was still smiling, elbow deep in the stuff, but she was at home.

“Should we be worried about catching something?” Ray sounded Nervous.

This elicited a giggle from Ms. Warner. She looked more like a girl covered up to her elbows in tar than she had ever looked in her suit. Her hair had now fallen down over her face, and her smile belied her stern exterior. “No. That is strictly for the movies. There are no known contagions that can survive a sealed environment for a thousand years. All that’s left in here is history.”

Despite Ms. Warner’s words of comfort, Angus couldn’t scrub fast or hard enough to get the stuff off of him, and his thumb was burning like mad. He felt lucky though, because as they were scrubbing, he saw that Ray had a little on the corner of his mouth, and Angus remembered the sickening flavor of the stuff, which made him almost vomit again as he realized he had the stuff in his mouth earlier.

The rest of the night went by quietly, and quickly as a night can, with most of the evening spent cleaning up after the work done earlier. A large part of Angus work was cleaning up after himself, and it took up a large part of the day. By the end of the day he was exhausted, and the drive home was nothing but a blur. Even as tired as he was, he still found time to get everything ready for the trip the next day. By the time that Angus fell into his bed, he was exhausted, more so than he thought that he should be. He was even too tired to eat, though his stomach was rumbling a little as he drifted off to sleep.

Angus’ night was full of dreams. They were the kind of dreams that you remember when you awaken out of them, only to have them flit away within seconds, letting you remember less and less about them until you are left with nothing but the feelings and emotions that they brought on. Angus was left with pain, aching throughout his body, and fear, but he couldn’t put a finger on what had caused it. He woke up this way several times throughout the night, and the pain from his thumb was worsened by it, spreading to an ache throughout his whole hand, and a slight fever.  

When he woke the last time, he was still in the dream, before it had a chance to fade. He was staring at a demon, who was laughing at him through snarled teeth, whispering his name, with its head cocked almost completely sideways as if it were not even connected to its body. . It knew him, and chilled him to the bone, as it reached out to him, one decomposed hand with broken fingers stretching toward him, as it smiled that snarling smile. Angus tried to get away, but couldn’t. He could feel his arms and legs moving up and down, as if they were thrashing, but he had no control of them.  

Dawn’s smile faded as she saw the look on his face, and he struggled to get away from her. “Baby…what’s wrong?” As the dream started to fade the demon’s face was replaced with the face of Dawn smiling at him, not though a snarled grin, but a beautiful smile that brought peace to his soul. Her hand was not that decomposed thing pulled out of the Mayan jar, but the silky smooth hand that was missing one thing, a ring that he had in his suitcase right now. He was tied up, that part was still true, as he struggled to feel himself from wrapped up, sweat soaked sheets, which had tied themselves around him as he thrashed in his sleep.

Angus forced a smile to his face, waiting for the remnants of fear to drift from his stomach and muscles. “Nothing but a bad dream.” He pulled one arm out of the sheets and wiped sweat from his forehead. “I had nightmares all night long. It was weird. I must have eaten something that disagreed with me, maybe that rancid hamburger you brought me.” This made him laugh a little, forcing the remaining fear from him.  

Dawn mocked a frown, which was betrayed by her smiling eyes, and smacked him lightly in the chest with her fist. “I’ll have you know that was the best one dollar burger to be had….in the timeframe given…in that area of town…that also served what I wanted for dinner.” She shot him a wink. “Well its past noon now, so no breakfast for you.” She retrieved a bag from behind her back, and pulled it out as quickly as you can. “But I did bring you lunch, since you didn’t want to leave the house today.”  

Angus was famished. The bed felt so warm and comfortable, as if the nightmares of the previous night had not happened. He felt physically wonderful, and didn’t even feel a slight bit tired. Other than the hunger running rampant in his gut, which was to soon be alleviated, this promised to be a very good day. Angus was smiling at Dawn, and hoped she didn’t notice how dopey he must have looked, but he hadn’t felt this good in longer than he could remember. The cheeseburger in the bag smelled fresh, and delicious. Angus grabbed the bag smiling, and wrestled it from Dawn’s hand playfully. There was nothing playful about how he tore into his cheeseburger, biting off large mouthfuls and chomping twice before swallowing the bites mostly whole. He ate his fries by the handfuls, shoved into his mouth, biting his own fingers painfully twice.  

Dawn just stared at him in awe. “I have another in there that I was going to eat, but if you want it…” She opened the bag and pointed the opening at him.

Still sitting up in bed Angus pulled the burger from the bag, ripped the wrapper from it, and wolfed down his second burger with as much fervor as he had shown on the first. “My god I was hungrier than I thought.” He looked up at his soon to be fiancé, who was staring at him like he was a stranger in her bed. “I went to bed hungry, just too tired, and I guess I was hungrier than I thought.” He rubbed his swollen stomach, which was usually flat to the point of being overly skinny. “The weird part is that I could still eat, but I think I will let this settle so I don’t ruin my boyish figure.” He winked at her and began unwrapping the rest of his body from its sheet cocoon. “I need to shower baby, then I have one thing to do before we kick back and relax for the rest of the weekend. I smell like a dead yak.”  

“What is the one thing you need to do?” She raised one pretty eyebrow.

“Well I figured if we were going to be in all weekend, we would need sustenance.” He winked. “Especially when you get going.”  

“Well go get in the shower. I can run to the store for you.”  

“Nah, you can go with me, but I think if we are going to be locked in, then I should have a little out of the house time to stretch my muscles, and I got some things that I think I need to shop for, not sure what they are yet.” With that Angus stood up, fully naked, and paraded himself to the bathroom door, playing as he always did. “I’ll be out in a bit.”

The shower warmed his body, increasing that overall good feeling he had. Before he realized, he caught himself singing in the shower. Throwing on some clothes, he hurried with Dawn down to the car and headed out. It wasn’t long before Dawn realized that he was passing up all of his favorite stores, which offered good prices. Instead he was hitting the freeway and driving north. “OK…um…where are we going?”

Angus just chuckled. “Shopping….duh”

“OK…I take it that it’s a surprise and I will find out when we get there.” She reached over and teased him by tickling his ear. In her softest voice she purred. “I hope wherever we are going doesn’t suck.” She faked a giggle. “Because if it sucks, I won’t.”

“Sweet…that means if it doesn’t you will.”  

“That depends on how non-sucky it is.”  

“Sweet.” Angus felt that silly grin spreading across his face again, blinding out the world, any cares that he might have had. He remembered that he did have cares. Yesterday they had weighted him down, but thinking back on them now, they were insignificant, and he couldn’t quite place his finger on what they might have been. All that mattered was that the rest of his life lay ahead of them.

The drive was only six hours, but Angus stopped every hour or so to get snacks, drinks, and to hit the head, stretching the drive into a little over six and a half hours, as he had planned, so that they would arrive at the proper time. His fever increased as they drove, and dawn insisted that he get some cold medicine at one of the stops, because she was sure he was coming down with something, and didn’t want it to ruin the surprise he had obviously gone out of his way to plan. Angus relayed the events of the night before, including all the disgusting details, as they drove. By the time that they pulled into the Hotel, Dawn was ready to start her weekend, and when she saw the hotel, her face lit up like a child on Christmas. “Oh…this doesn’t suck.”

Angus’ plan went perfect. The hotel was beautiful, and had a dozen red roses waiting for Dawn on the inside at the concierge desk. They were ushered to their room where they were invited to freshen up. The room, a suite, was laid out perfectly, with their luggage set inside a small walk in closet. The huge bed in the center looked inviting, especially after a long drive, but Angus insisted that they get dressed for dinner. Dawn of course agreed, wanting the evening to be as perfect for him as it was shaping up to be for her. She smiled, took a brief shower to wash the sweat of the day from her body, and dressed in clothes that Angus had packed for her. They weren’t her nicest clothes, which she would have picked, but she was surprised by his style. The man usually couldn’t pick two socks that matched, but the whole ensemble that he had put together for her was tasteful, pretty, and it matched. It was another pleasant surprise. He was still famished.  

When they got downstairs, a black and white carriage, drawn by a pretty white horse and driven by an old man in tails, took them on a tour of the area, and eventually brought them to the restaurant that Angus had made reservations at. It was a small place called A Touch, where they had a candle light dinner of fresh seafood. Angus had been in contact with the manager before they ever arrived in San Francisco, and the meal they were to eat was ordered before they left their house. It had been perfect. After dinner they boarded the carriage again, and with some bargaining conned the driver into bringing them up to a secluded spot that could oversee the city and the bay.

The ride over was slow, and romantic, with a slight chill in the air. Dawn snuggled into Angus arm as the driver came wordlessly to a halt. From the side of the Carriage the view was spectacular, as what looked like all of San Francisco opened up beneath them, twinkling lights sparkling off the bay, in the pale moonlight. One word escaped Angus’ lips. “Perfect.”

“It is isn’t it?” Dawn smiled up at him, and snuggled closer.

Angus had rehearsed this part over and over trying to make it sound as if it were spontaneous. “It wasn’t perfect until you arrived.” He pushed her away, and helped her turn to face him. There were small tears forming in her eyes, and he thought she might be anticipating what would come next. “Will you marry me Dawn?” He was glad none of his friends could see him right now, as the teasing would last longer than his natural life, but he did mean every word.

She didn’t answer right away, just stared blankly at him as the small tears in her eyes growing larger and larger until they burst forth streaming down her cheeks. “Yes.” She whispered, then with a force he didn’t know she was capable of she tackled him, kissing him hard. She held that kiss for what seemed like forever. On the ride back to the hotel she held onto him as if afraid that she would fly away, if he hadn’t been feeling so good today that grip might have hurt. He was hungry again, but right now that didn’t even matter. In the hotel they made love longer than they ever had before, and passed out in each other’s arms.

The dreams started almost immediately, thrashing and tossing. It was better with Dawn there at least. When he woke up, he would see her and hear her, and be able to calm down almost immediately. Each time he saw the demon’s face, lips curled back away from his teeth, reaching with that gnarled hand. He could remember the face when he woke up now, and he could feel the grip of the hand clutching his heart, and he could feel the pain of it spreading to his limbs. Dawn was sleeping on one of his arms, and it had fallen asleep, but whenever she would move it would wake up and the pain would integrate itself into his dream.  

Angus was awoke by a kiss on his cheek, and Dawn smiling down at him. “I ordered breakfast. It should be up any minute, and after I was thinking we could…well…” She giggled. “Some early morning playtime would be nice.” She looked beautiful to him this morning, her skin was glowing in the sun and her scent was intoxicating to him. He hadn’t slept well. The euphoric feeling of yesterday had faded, and the pain that he had felt in his dreams was still with him, dulled and creeping like a secret, but there nonetheless. His fever had increased to, now he could feel the heat pouring off his body. Damn it he was getting sick on the most important weekend of his life.  

Angus was still in the shower when the food arrived, but he could smell it all the way in the shower, and his stomach burned with hunger. His mouth began to salivate, and the hair on his arms began to stand up. The ache had persisted through the shower, but the heat of the water dulled the ache a bit. Angus hurried out of the shower and ate breakfast with the greed of a starving man, finishing off several eggs, slices of ham, and half a loaf of toast before finally slowing down. Dawn watched and waited for him to finish. When he was done she laid a hand on his thigh, feeling how hot he was and seeing the perspiration on his forehead, she had a concerned look on her face. “Hun, are you OK?”

“Yeah, why?” Angus was wiping the excess from his mouth and licking his fingers.

“No offense, but you’re a skinny boy, and you are eating like a damned caveman. Not to mention the way you are eating.” She held her hands up close to her body. "I’m afraid to get my hands close to you while you are eating. I have known you long enough to want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I have never seen you eat even remotely like this.” She looked up at his face. “You are pale too, and now your burning up. Did you take any of the cold medicine we got?”

“Yeah I took some before I showered.” Angus sat for a moment thinking. “You’re right though. I have been starving for the past two days, and now my body freakin’ hurts like I have been in a marathon all the time.” He looked into her eyes. “I was actually planning on making a doctor’s appointment on Monday, and getting in as quick as I can, if I’m not better by then.” He took another piece of toast and scraped up some gravy from his plate and shoved it into his mouth. “I think I probably just have a nasty flu bug hun.” He chuckled. “The funny thing is that at first I was thinking it had something to do with that jar, but Dr. Warner assured us that it was sealed tight when she opened it, and there are no bugs that can survive a thousand years in an oversized mayonnaise jar. I’ll be fine, just need to get a flu shot or something.”  

“I am worried about you.” She hugged him.

“Don’t worry. We have two days here in this nice hotel, and there is plenty of food in San Francisco to feed my hunger.” He hugged his fiancé close. “We should hit Fisherman’s Warf today.” He wiped the sweat from his forehead. “Other than a little achy, and a lot sweaty, I am fine, if you can put up with me being a sweaty pig all day.”  

Neither had been at the Warf before and it was a fun day exploring, being in love, and making plans for the future. Angus wasn’t sure how much of a future they would have. His hunger was getting worse by the hour, and eating did little to appease it. His legs were starting to get week, and would ache and shake if he walked more than ten minutes at a stretch. He pretended to be fine, and held off on eating until the hunger was unbearable, so as not to worry Dawn. The fever and sweating persisted, but he was able to hide most of this with a baseball cap Dawn purchased on the wharf to shield Angus from the hot sun. This weekend was hers and Angus wasn’t about to ruin it by being sick. Angus decided as soon as they got back into LA he would drop into the emergency room.

Throughout the day Angus fought off hunger pains, and the urge to double over. His back hurt, his joints were stiff and his legs were week, and everyone was annoying him. At least once every hour Angus made a point of grabbing a large pile of snacks from whatever store, shop or eatery they were in. By nightfall he was eating almost constantly. Angus had to fight back the urge to scream at the taxi driver who decided that the couple needed a guided tour and wouldn’t shut up. The only thing that staved his temper was Dawn holding his hand and smiling pleadingly at him, when she saw that he was starting to lose his temper. Instead of screaming at the man, Angus had asked to pull over through gritted teeth, and excused Dawn and himself from the cab. They caught another taxi home, and mercifully this driver didn’t seem to speak English, so the ride was relatively quiet. That night they made love, but Angus heart wasn’t in it. His emotions were starting to swing like a teenage girl in love. One moment he was love sick, the next annoyed, the next paranoid that she would leave him alone and afraid, and that would bring the anger, which he fought back with every fiber of his being. He tried his best not to let Dawn notice. He was distracted, and his moans seemed a bit on the painful side rather than the pleasure side. She mistook his anger and pain during their lovemaking as passion, for which he was later grateful. Afterwards she fell asleep far before him, as he lay in bed tossing and turning, stomach growling and body screaming in pain.  

The clock by the bed said 3:03 when, cursing under his breath, he finally gave up on getting to sleep and decided to go out for a bit of fresh air, and maybe to find something to eat. Climbing out of his bed he looked over to see dawn’s face, so peaceful sleeping there. He knew he should be happy that she could get some rest, but all he could feel was resentment at her comfort while he was restless. “Bitch.” He heard the word escape his lips, as if someone else had said it instead of him. What was happening to him? Inside there was a rage building that he had so far controlled, but for how long. He was afraid he was going to say things that would hurt Dawn and ruin her weekend. What about his weekend? Why was everything about her? The anger grew again in unexplainable waves, and he caught himself clenching his teeth, and clinching his fists. Angus just threw on his jeans, t-shirt, and shoes.  

The weather out on the street was chilly with a touch of fog clinging to the trees and the bushes. There were several little stores lining the street, milking out a living in the shadow of the nicer hotels. Angus walked, staggering a bit as he did from the stiff joints and muttering his discontent about this or that. He thought he probably looked drunk to any passing by. To hell with what they thought. His anger was caused by the first clear thinking he had done in a very long time. He worked his ass off to go to school and to work a menial job, only to watch the little rich kids studying under mom and dad’s dime with no intention of using the education that they garnered during their four year party at school. “Fucking little pricks!” He screamed. No they wouldn’t think he was drunk, they would think he was insane if they saw his movements and heard his ranting. He walked and muttered the hunger inside him increased with each step. Passing by one of the small shops he smelled the smell of liquor store deli chimichangas floating out. Normally the smell would have turned him away, but now the smell was intoxicating, pulling him in. The clerk tried to speak to him, being cordial to a customer in the middle of the night, but Angus just stared blankly at the dark haired man. He looked into the clear glass case filled with overcooked food that had been sitting for far too long. There were only seven chimichangas left in the case at this time of night. “Give me all of your chimichangas.”

“Yes sir. Would you like any potato wedges to go with them?” Angus expected an accent from the dark skinned man. He was obviously of mid eastern decent, but there was no accent. He was as American as Angus.

“Just give me the damned Chimichangas!” Angus barked, and handed the man a $20 bill. The clerk, nervous now at the obviously unstable customer, hurried to get the man his food and change, almost shoving both across the counter to rid his store of the man. It worked. Angus had no mind right now for conversation. He took his food and his change and stomped out the door.  

Angus staggered back out of the store with one chimichanga in his mouth, one his hand, and five more in a grease covered semi see through plastic bag. Eating seemed to dull the pain and that alone would have enticed him to eat all of them, for the pain was becoming excruciating, but more than that the food smelled better than anything he had ever had. They were just liquor store deli food, but they smelled as if they had been created by one the world’s finest chefs. Angus sat down on the curb to eat his meal, and watch the few cars that were driving up and down the street. The street was almost abandoned, as he sat there trying to calm himself and reminding himself that he was a very lucky man, because Dawn had said yes. Even in his current state, that thought brought a smile to his face, although it was crooked, and almost a smirk.  

Lost in thought he didn’t hear the person walking up. “Got any change?” The voice was gravelly and a bit hoarse, and the words were more than a little slurred.

Angus looked up, and leaning over him was a man that looked to be in his thirties, covered in filth. The smell was overwhelming. He was obviously homeless. Angus flinched instinctively, bringing his hand up in a defensive posture. Angus’ first reaction was to tell the man to piss off, but he caught himself. Dawn and himself had made a tradition of always helping those in need. They always gave what they had in their pockets to homeless people when they saw them. It was a small gesture, and made them feel better about themselves and their own good fortune in the process. It was this tradition, and the thought of dawn, that made him fight back his own disgust, and the feeling that this man wanted to take what was his. Angus begrudgingly felt in his pocket. “Yeah hold one second.” He stood up and pulled $2.50 out of his pocket, and handed it to the homeless man standing in front of him.

“Ain’t you got any more?” The man poked at Angus pockets. “You look like you have plenty to spare, and I am hungry.”

Angus was outraged at the insolence of the man to press further when he had already given him more than he wanted to. The bastard had no right to ask him for anything when he had to work harder than anyone without any recognition. Angus paused, ignoring the man’s request for a second; simply breathing and trying to fight back the rage that seemed to be just below the surface and ready to explode. “Just go in the damned store behind us.” He spoke slowly and methodically, exaggerating each syllable. “That will buy you some chimichangas. That will fill you up.” Angus offered the vagabond a menacing smile, trying to make the man go away and let him eat. He did have more in his pocket, but they were bills and he gave the man enough to eat, and that was enough to ease his conscience.

“You’ve got more. Give me more you spoiled kid!” The smile had apparently angered him. He pushed Angus in the chest with his boney fingers.

“Go the fuck away!” Angus was holding the chimichanga in his hand defensively, like a dog protecting a bone. He was smiling still, but showing all of his teeth like a snarling animal, gritting and grinding them at the homeless man. Angus shoved back, trying to move the man away from him.

Faster than his dirty frame belied, the homeless man took a swing at Angus, hitting him square in the jaw, and knocking him backward. Angus recovered as quick as he could but the homeless man was on top of him punching and clawing at him, all the while making a low squealing sound. Angus was amazed, but none of the punches the homeless man was landing even hurt a little. He wasn’t numb, but he couldn’t feel the hits like he should. He attributed this to his anger, thinking it was like blacking out when you fought. He stared at the man hitting him, and took a swing back, hitting the man in the side of the head, knocking him off. Angus took the chance at advantage and threw himself on top of the homeless man, sitting on his chest and arms and holding the man on the ground lying on his back.  

It wasn’t long before the clerk from the store came out yelling. “Stop this right now. The police have already been called and are on their way!” He quickly stepped back into his store without waiting for a response, closing and locking the door. The fight didn’t even slow. Angus discovered at that moment that he had rage inside him, unlike anything that he had ever felt. He was hungry, and he was angry, and he hated the man underneath him. He pounded the man one fist after another as the man under him tried to break free and escape the combat. Angus wasn’t going to allow that. He held the man down with one hand and beat him mercilessly with the other. There was no escape. The blows had already bruised the man’s face and were now starting to break the skin, each blow landing with a squishing sound and a small spray of blood. The man on the ground had only one option, and he took it greedily.  

As Angus landed a blow the man turned his head sideways. Angus other arm, the one he was using to hold the homeless man’s arm with, was immobile, and close enough to his face to reach. The man opened his dirty mouth wide, bearing his own teeth this time and bit greedily and viciously down on Angus’ arm. This pain Angus did feel. It burned like the scrape on his thumb had. He screamed loud and the anger inside took over again. Angus wrenched his arm free of the homeless man’s mouth. The homeless man grinned evilly, knowing he had hurt his attacker. Angus, using all of his strength, pulled the man’s hand up, and leaned his own body down within reach, then bit down on the man’s hand as hard as he could, fueled by rage. His teeth broke the skin of the man’s hand, and the blood gushed into his mouth. Angus wanted to release the man now, knowing that by all accounts that was crossing the line. He found that he couldn’t release, and what was worse, he was biting harder and chewing. He realized he was trying to free a large chunk of flesh from the man, and the taste was delicious.  

It took every ounce of self restraint and willpower that Angus had, but he forced himself to release the man, pulling away, but ripping the piece of flesh from his hand as he did. “Fucker!” He kicked the man, picked up his chimichangas and ran away as fast as he could down the street. The Homeless man ran off in the opposite direction, desperate to get away from his attacker, and not to keen on visiting with the cops that had been called to the scene.

As Angus hurried down the street, the bag of chimichangas waving back and forth, he was chewing on the flesh of the man he had fought. The pain was still there, but it was somewhat dulled from the anger and the food he had eaten before the fight. As soon as he could, to avoid detection by either the police or the homeless man, Angus circled the block, sticking to the shadows, before heading back to the hotel. He felt like a monster. Once he was back in the hotel room he couldn’t make himself climb into bed. He washed the blood from his hands and face, and then sat in an uncomfortable chair, breathing heavy, staring at the ceiling, and wondering what was happening to him. His shirt was still soaked in blood. He looked at his arm, where the homeless man had bit him. There were scrapes in the shape of the man’s mouth, but the man barely broke the skin. It would bruise, and maybe scab over. He had not bitten into Angus, as Angus had bitten into him. He thought of the taste of the man’s flesh and was surprised at how fondly it was remembered. He wanted to puke, but his guts were tightened and hurting, and he was afraid making himself puke would make the pain inside him increase. He left it alone and pondered the thoughts of what he might have contracted, and why it was turning him into an animal.  

Dawn finally stirred at about ten o’clock. Angus had been staring at the ceiling for the past four hours, realizing that sleep wasn’t coming, and wondering what was going on that he would bite another human being. Thoughts that the bastard deserved what he got would filter in, but he tried to fight them back. He knew right now he was unstable and the evil thoughts in his head were a symptom of whatever was wrong. Knowing that something was wrong seemed to help. It didn’t stop the waves of rage that overtook him, but at least he could think before he acted. At first he thought the hunger was caused by whatever caused the Mayan in the jar to die, but this was different. This was far worse. Dawn walked in and saw him sitting in the chair. “Hun are you alright?” Her voice was hoarse from just waking up, and Angus first reaction was that she was being sarcastic.

He thought for a moment, fighting back the first reaction. Dawn was not a sarcastic person and was very forthcoming with any thought she had. No, that wasn’t sarcastic; she really wanted to know if he was alright. Angus slowly lowered his eyes from staring at the ceiling to look at his fiancé. She looked beautiful, almost glowing. In the back of his mind Angus realized that she didn’t look beautiful in a night coat with her hair askew from the pillow, and her pallid skin looked a bit pasty in the morning light. As he stared at her, shifting from thinking she was beautiful, to thinking she needed to clean up to look beautiful, and then back again, he realized something that chilled him to the bone. She looked delicious. Beneath that pallid skin was red flesh, stringy and sweet, and the blood with its vague copper tangle that licked the back of his tongue. Beneath the nape of her gown lay her sleek neck. Angus knew instinctively he knew that the flesh of her neck would taste better than anything he had ever eaten. Inside the back of his mind he knew it was because the arteries lead directly to the brain and heart. Fear took him and he looked away, trying to wipe his mouth which had started to salivate at the thought of devouring his fiancé.

“I need a doctor.” He whispered.

“Did you make your Doctor’s appointment?” She was pouring herself a cup of coffee. “Do you want a cup hun? No Offense but you look like shit.”

“Fuck you.” He growled, a moment too late to catch himself. “God I am sorry hun. I hope you know I didn’t mean that.” He was still staring at the wall, forcing himself not to look at her. “I need a Doctor today Dawn.” His voice was a little louder, and he looked over at her now. The voice was no longer in the back of his head. He was consciously thinking about how good the meat of her body would taste. As he thought the pain of his limbs redoubled and he folded over in pain.

Dawn dropped her cup of coffee, which smashed on the table staining the tablecloth instantly chocolate brown. She rushed to her fiancé’s side, terrified that he was dying there in the chair. He really did look like shit. She leaned over him and forced him upright. He was breathing, but it was rushed and shallow, and his skin was cold sweaty and very pale. He wasn’t getting enough blood or something. He was looking up at her now, and she had never seen that look in his face before. “It’s OK honey I am here with you!” Dawn pulled his face to her breasts hugging him tight as she fumbled to grab the phone off the coffee stained table. “Just breathe baby!” She could hear him breathing and moaning almost like a growl, and muttering something under his breath. She grabbed the phone and dialed 911. There was nothing. Quickly looking at the phone she saw the number. You couldn’t dial direct. This time she dialed 5911.

The voice on the other end of the line was squeaky like a kid. “Security Dispatch, what is the nature of your emergency sir or ma’am?” It was practiced and monotone.

“This is Dawn Harding! Room…um…god damn…what room am I in?!” She started flipping over papers left and right, while still holding the phone to her ear, and holding Angus to her chest. His breathing was getting increasingly shallow.

“Ma’am, you are in room #632.” His voice was smoother now, as the seriousness of the situation set in. “What is the nature of the emergency ma’am.”

“I don’t know. My fiancé Angus is having trouble breathing; he is cold and clammy, and very pale.” She paused. “Intense abdominal pains.” Her first aid training was coming back. She cursed that she didn’t go further into the school of nursing.  

“Yes ma’am, keep calm. I have an ambulance on the way.” His voice was a little more commanding now. “What position is your fiancé in?”

“He is sitting in a chair.”

“Ma’am we also have Security Officers on the way to your location as we speak. Can we get you to lay your fiancé down?”

“Run.” It was a hoarse sounding whisper.

“Excuse me ma’am?” The Dispatcher sounded confused, and a bit startled.

There was no answer on the phone. Dawn was looking down at Angus, and Angus was staring at her. “Run Dawn….please.” The whisper came again. “I can’t hold on.”

“Baby Security is on the way. They will help. I won’t leave you.” She hugged him tighter, trying to laying him down on the floor.  

He was struggling trying to back away from her. “Get…the fuck…away from me.” He growled, barely audible. “Please.” She helped him to the ground. Her neck was right there. She was beautiful. She was delicious. Angus forced his mouth shut and clenched his teeth, biting his own lips bloody in the process. She was the one true love of his life. Something inside him was fighting him. Forcing his mouth open, because if it didn’t eat soon it would die, and the food that would sustain it was right there, pulsing and throbbing next to bloody lips that were forced shut. That blood was delicious too. It forced his hand, in a jerky movement, but nonetheless effective. Lying on the floor, Angus’ arm reached up and grabbed Dawn by her disheveled hair, and pulled hard. She screamed in pain, but gave in to its strength, allowing her head to be pulled down, and her throat lying across Angus’ mouth. Still he forced his mouth to stay shut, as his other self tried to force his mouth open so it could murder his love. The smell of her flesh was more than he could take. Angus screamed in pain as the thing inside opened his mouth against his own will, and bit into the soft flesh of Dawn’s neck.  

The Dispatcher heard the plea for Dawn to Run, and hurried his own officers over the radio. What he heard next scared him. He heard “Get…the fuck…away from me.” Then a moment of silence, then the phone dropped, there was a scream, and a horrible crunching sound.

“All units stand by.” The Security Dispatcher’s voice was shaking. “Security Supervisor Dispatch….I need a phone call ASAP!” The panic in his voice took over and it sounded like a screech.  

When Security arrived to the room, every unit was there, and the Police were on their way. A shaky Security Officer inserted a key card into the door lock. When the light went green, SFPD officer James Tackett, who had nearby when the 911 call came in, shoved the door open quickly, and stepped inside with his service revolver drawn, and held in both hands. He saw Angus, sitting over Dawn, who was laying on the floor in a large pool of blood. She was still moving, her legs slowly moving back and forth as she tried to get away even in her weakened state. It took a second for the officer to register what he was looking at. Angus was sitting over her, covered in her blood, chewing on a chunk of flesh he had ripped from her arm, sobbing as he ate it. There was more blood than he had seen in his life, including his time in Iraq, and he couldn’t understand how the woman was still alive.

“Place your hands behind your back, stand up, and take two steps backwards sir!” Tackett commanded the bastard sitting on the floor.

Angus raised his hands above his head, still sobbing as his head bobbed with each sob. As he cried, a chunk of meat hung from his mouth, and he continued to chew hungrily, like a dog that thinks its treat is going to be taken away. “I’m sorry!” he sobbed through teeth that were chewing. “Someone save her!” Angus stood, still chewing, and with his blood covered arms still raised over his head. He stepped back, a good distance, then dropped back to his knees with a plop. Gulping down the last of his fiancé’s flesh he began to moan and cry. “Someone, get her out of here.” There was something to his voice, mixed with the sadness, which made the officers step back a half step, before proceeding.  

Security officers rushed past Tackett, and began pulling Dawn’s bloody body toward the door. The EMTs and police officers were shoving past security into the room now. The first officer held his weapon on Angus as another officer cuffed his hands behind his back. Tackett weighed the cost of losing his job and doing a little jail time against the satisfaction of kicking this bastard’s teeth down his throat. One of the police officers saw something in Tackett’s eyes and instinct kicked in. He took Tackett’s arm, and ushered him out the door, whispering in his ear. “Don’t throw it all away on him son.” Soon Tackett was out in the hall, puking away what little lunch he had in his stomach.  

Angus was not allowed to see what happened to Dawn; he was shoved and pulled passed her by the Officers, who wouldn’t even speak to him yet. As they went down the elevator Angus had a moment to look at himself in the mirrors which lined the small elevator. He was covered from head to foot in Dawn’s blood, and he was cut below his eye where his valiant love fought back against him. She was amazing to the end, the way she fought against him. He loved her for it. She had been delicious, and he would have spent an eternity with her. Now he hoped there was a Heaven, and he feared there was a Hell. They shoved him along, and he deserved whatever he got, but he couldn’t let it happen.  

“Thank you.” He whispered.

“What?!” The lead officer, James Akin, growled. “You know you have the right to remain silent, and I suggest you fucking use it you little bastard.”

“Thank you for saving her.” He said it again, and was rewarded with a cuff to the head by the big hand of Officer Tackett. Angus winced, but realized that it didn’t hurt at all. “I don’t know what I would have done to her. I attacked her. I bit her. I was fucking eating her….my god I was fucking eating her.” He was sobbing again. “I Bit a homeless man last night too…but he was an ass. Dawn didn’t deserve this. She is beautiful, and wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“You admit attacking your fiancé, and eating part of her.” Akin looked at Angus incredulously. “And now you say you bit a homeless man last night?” He shot a look to one of the other officers in the tiny elevator, and raised his eyebrow.

“Yes….fuck…I can’t believe it myself….fuck fuck fuck…I killed her I think….god I hope not…fuck.” Angus was babbling now, allowing the horror of the situation to set in. He was no longer a student. He was no longer engaged. He was no longer a free man. And he was a violent bastard that bites and eats people. He sobbed and shrunk down to the floor of the elevator, only to be hoisted unceremoniously back to his feet as the officers lifted him by cuffs that were cutting into his wrists.

The hunger and the pain returned on the way to the station, as Angus desperately listened to the Police radio trying to decipher the codes used to see if Dawn was alright. As he sat their straining to listen, he was leaning forward in his seat, and caught the attention of officer Akin again. Akin forced him back in his seat, a little rougher than was necessary, but not enough to injure. This angered Angus again, instantly fuming. The hunger was back and as strong as ever. As Akin pushed back, Angus snapped his jaws at his hand. Akin didn’t notice, but Angus almost had his finger. The hunger only got worse and worse as they rode to the station, processed him, and took all of his possessions. The hungrier that it got, the less influence that Angus had over his own body. He couldn’t help fighting against them, as he was processed.

Angus was processed in and placed into a solitary cell, to await a psych evaluation. Angus was docile for the most part, at least once everyone figured out to stay clear of him. The hunger was so bad now that Angus had no control over himself whatsoever. He watched through his own eyes as his body managed to bite four people, although they weren’t deep bites like he had wanted and he wasn’t able to bite any chunks of flesh away. Because of this he was subdued, restrained, and chained to a chair in a cell. The hunger was unbearable, and even Angus himself would bite someone now if they ventured too close. Whenever he could gain enough control, he would plead in a very quiet voice. "Please someone, kill me. It hurts. It hurts so bad.” Then the thing that had taken him would clench his throat shut, and all that could escape was a low rolling moan.  

By four in the afternoon there was little outwardly visible of Angus. His hair was straggly, and his skin was grey. His eyes had lost the shine that they had. Angus knew he was dying, if he wasn’t already dead. He couldn’t speak anymore, and had no control of his body anymore. Angus was being forced to watch through dry horrified eyes, as the creature that his body was becoming tried to kill and eat anything that was moving. Every inch of his body felt like it was on fire. Whatever was taking him over was eating his muscles and tearing his nerves down, causing each one to light its own little fire in his body.

Dr. Gerald Bishop was called in to assess the stability of the subject. Akin, being the lead officer on the scene was briefing him en route to the cell that held Angus. “When we found him he was eating her. Doctor says she has about a 30 percent chance of making it through the night.” He explained as they walked down the sterile halls lined with pictures of their past Chiefs. “He gave up without a fight, and was crying his eyes out asking us to save her, but here’s the thing…He didn’t even stop chewing on the bits that he had torn off while he was begging us to save her. He cried the whole way here, kept muttering about how could he do that? And asking us to kill him. Be honest with ya doc, I was half tempted to help him out on that one.”  

As they reached the cell Akin stopped Bishop before he stepped into the cell. “Be careful. He tried to bite several people so far. He managed to scrape four of them, but we figured we would have them checked out to be safe.”

Bishop looked very serious, and nodded his head. “I will be very careful Officer Akin, but I thank you for your concern over my well being.” He opened the door and froze in his steps. On the opposite side of the cell was Angus slumped over a chair, and appearing for all the world as a man nearly dead and strapped to a chair. Bishop had seen many dead bodies in his career, and although this man wasn’t dead, he would be soon if he wasn’t treated immediately.. He turned to Akin. “What’s happened here?!” He stepped out into the hall, instinctively raising his arms in an expression of innocence.  

Akin poked his head in and looked at Angus. “I assure you doctor that he hasn’t been hurt. He has been looking worse and worse, but he is very much alive. Watch.” Akin stepped in and barely touched Angus on the thigh with his night stick. Angus let out a blood curdling moan, and sat up in his chair, his clenched teeth visible though a relaxed and slacked lower lip. His eyes were blood shot and a bit grey, contrasted to his pallor colored skin. “See he is still moving and you won’t find a wound or mark on him.” He turned to walk out, but looked at the doctor whose eyes were now the size of saucers. “And he still bites.”

Dr. Bishop pulled up a chair that was on the other side of a plain metal table. Without a word he placed a small black recorder onto the table from his pocket and pulled a note pad from the leather briefcase he had placed by his feet. Angus sat staring at him, without blinking, drooling like a dog. Dr. Bishop scribbled a few notes on the paper, without saying a word, trying to put Angus off ease about him, and trying to quietly assert his own dominance over the subject. It didn’t work. Angus stared, not saying a word, not blinking, breathing lightly, and occasionally letting out one of those moans.

After a moment he smiled, trying a different tactic, and turned his notepad over. “Can you tell me your name?”

Angus sat there staring, teeth clenched. After a moment his teeth slowly separated, and his breath issued in a low his. “Kill me.” The words were barely audible.

“I am sorry sir, but I couldn’t kill you if I wanted to. I am simply not authorized to do so.” He tapped his pen on the table and offered Angus a hopeful smile. “Let’s just start with your name, and I will see if I can help you. You do want help don’t you?”

“I….am….sorry” He hissed slowly, fighting to form each word. It took all that remained of Angus to speak now, and it tired him greatly. “Angussss” He thought he was crying, but Dr. Bishop couldn’t tell, because Angus’ eyes were drying out. “I…love…her”

“You love the woman you attacked.” Dr. Bishop nodded. “Love is a powerful emotion, which can drive a man to do many things. Your name is Angus?”

Angus moaned loud, trying to scream, and then controlled himself. The effort was making the pain ever worse. “No!” he hissed through gritted teeth as the thing that he was tried to stifle the person he was. “I…Love…her...I…am…monster.”

“I don’t believe in monsters Angus. Just misguided individuals.” He forced a smile, but deep down he wondered how monstrous a man could be and show this much remorse.  

Quicker than the Dr. would have liked, Angus body lifted his arms and smacked the metal table loudly, trying to force himself up, even though he was still attached to the chair by a chain, and the chair was attached to the floor. His head slumped to his chest again, and he stopped moving. Through his gritted teeth he whispered “get away….please.”

“I couldn’t quite understand you, but I did catch please. What was the rest?” Dr. Bishop turned his head trying to tune his ear into his patient’s low voice. He made a hissing sound again, but no words came out.  

Angus was using all of his might to throw himself to the floor, knowing it would buy the doctor some time to get away. His body was fighting him at every step. The pain of hunger was all it would let him feel. One leg was pushed out, then the other, making him slump in the chair a little more, but the arms gripped the table and held him tight in the chair. He tried again to scream but his body, hungry, turned into a whimper.

A knock at the door interrupted the interview. Akin stuck his head in. “Doc I just found out, she isn’t going to make it. They expect her to pass within a couple hours. Right now they are just trying to keep her comfortable.” He shifted his gaze to Angus. “When that happens we are going to book him for murder instead of just attempted murder.” Akin looked at Angus and shot him a glare. “You have no hope now you little bastard.”

Angus wept inside his body, and the body slumped over the table. Dr. Bishop, trying to gain the trust of the subject, patted him on the shoulder lightly, carefully avoiding the blood. He stood as casually as he could, and still be able to maintain his defensive posture, ready to bounce backwards should the patient move. As he suspected Angus moved as soon as he touched him. What he didn’t expect was the speed at which Angus moved, trying to grab and bite his arm, directly into the vein of the wrist. Dr. Bishop moved before he could bite, but his fingernails sunk into his flesh. Angus was stronger than Dr. Bishop, pulling his wrist toward his mouth.

Dr. Bishop let out a scream that echoed back and forth in the room several times. The first scream was just a surprised shriek of fear, the second was three words. “Someone help me!” He struggled and tried to pull away, keeping Angus’ mouth off of his wrist for a moment, but he couldn’t for long. Angus was spread out and counterbalanced in his chair. Dr. Bishop was leaned over the table, with his legs half kicked sideways. With a jerk Angus pulled his balance forward and forced Dr. Bishop to adjust to keep from falling, as terror stripped all logical thinking from his victim. Angus watched in disgust as he bit into the sweet meat of the wrist. Just one bite, then savoring the flavor, and then pulling hard again trying to get a better bite into the man. He sunk his teeth into the meaty part of Dr. Bishop’s forearm, and began chewing hard. The smacking and moaning sounds escaping him were more grotesque than the sight of it.

It was only seconds before the room was full of cops, trying to pry Angus from his doctor. Angus sunk his teeth and fingernails deeper into Dr. Bishop. When one of the Officers grabbed him around the chest, Angus seized his chance. Biting into the cop’s bicep, as he reached his hand back, the cop screamed loud. Angus grabbed blindly for the cops gun, with fingers that felt numb as if frozen. Shaking his head he bit deep into the flesh of the cop’s bicep. After some wrestling, lots of screaming, as well as a mouthful of sweet flesh and copper toned blood, Angus had what he wanted. Gripping tight and throwing his hand straight out, he pointed the gun at the other cops and hissed through his teeth.  

Everyone froze for a second. The injured policeman scrambled out of the way, crawling on the floor to avoid the angle of the bullets. Angus forced his back hard against the wall. Akin had his pistol out in a flash and had it pointed directly center mass at Angus. “Drop the weapon!” Akin was unflinching.  

Angus was frozen unable to summon enough strength to make his body obey his commands for some time. He stared at the police, all of which were pointing their weapons at him now. He stared at them with dying eyes, trying with all his might to move, as the police yelled at him to drop the gun. No one was moving, not him or them, waiting to see what would happen. Finally, Angus could see his thumb moving. Just a twitch at first, but then it slowly moved. The pain meant nothing now. Dawn was dead. He was dead. He was a monster. The first good thing he had done since Dawn was this. His thumb slowly climbed toward the hammer, a struggle with each millimeter.

Akin saw it too. “Stop. Stop now. It doesn’t have to go like this.” His voice was commanding, and calming. “You can walk out of here man, and we can get you a doctor.” He was thinking fast. “You showed remorse…you cried for her man. She saw that. She knew you didn’t mean it, and the jury could probably see that too. This isn’t the answer.”

Angus thumb caught the hammer, and slowly pulled it back. He pointed it, the best that his shaking hands could, at Akin, and cocked the hammer of the police revolver. He knew they couldn’t wait any longer with the loaded weapon, ready to fire, pointed directly at them. Akin was obviously the alpha of the group. Akin was the only one to fire, center mass, right where he aimed. The bullet caught Angus right in the chest, and he pulled the trigger, releasing a wild bullet that caught a policeman in the arm. Akins’s eyes went wide and he fired again, joined by a chorus of gunfire from the other five officers in the room. The first shot should have killed him, and the bullet must have passed right through his heart, but Angus was still standing, grinning through gritted teeth, and firing his pistol.

Several bullets missed him, as the officers succumbed to adrenalin and shaky hands, but several others hit, and riddled Angus body, shaking him like a marionette. He was pushed against the wall by the force of the bullets, but still he didn’t fall, pulling the trigger over and over on his pistol. They didn’t realize that he had expended his last bullet in the gun fight. Akin didn’t care. Akin let the other’s fire and act like idiots. He knew, from his time in the service, what would take any man down. Akin aimed his pistol carefully, looking Angus in the eyes, and fired again.  

Angus didn’t know that Akin had succeeded. Angus didn’t know anything anymore. He was no longer a monster. No one would ever know that he had no choice in biting the people he had bitten. They wouldn’t know what coursed through his veins till it was too late. As Angus slid down the wall, the back of his head mostly missing, he left a trail of blood and brains on the wall behind and above. To the men in the room, the horror seemed to be over. Now everyone could recover, get treated, and move on with their lives. First there would be a ton of paperwork, and finding out who the next of kin was, and some very horrible phone calls to make.

Early the next morning, when Dawn woke up, she was alone except one old man in a white lab coat that matched the ring of hair that remained on his head. She was on a cold table, although she could barely feel it through her numb limbs. Her whole body felt like it was on fire, and she was hungry. She couldn’t remember much, except that Angus had gone crazy and bit her, and then there were flashes of consciousness when she remembered doctors and nurses around her, mumbling quietly. Her neck was searing with pain throughout the night, but now it hurt worse than anything that had happened the night before. She had never been this hungry before. She smelled food, something sweet and a bit metallic. She didn’t tell her body to move, but it sat up on its own, and turned to the man in the white coat. As Dawn’s body launched at the Coroner, her own guts began spilling to the floor from the slice in her abdomen. She couldn’t stop herself from biting into his flesh, but when she did it was warm, sweet, and delicious, and the pain stopped momentarily.

Submitted: June 23, 2022

© Copyright 2023 Darryl Wade Anderson. All rights reserved.

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