Beware... [mature content]
This is a work of fiction
If it wasn't...
The world would be a very different place
For the first time in his life, Cardinal Walter Benning couldn't satisfy his urges. There were no children on the island. In fact, he was sure there were no other people at all. He'd been looking for three hours straight, stumbling around as much as his wound allowed him to. But it was getting dark. And he couldn't stray too far from the banks of the stream where he'd woken up dazed and confused.
He wasn't like other people. He wasn't stupid. If he wanted to get off the island alive, to feed just one more time, he knew that he would have to wash the deep cut to prevent infection. Keep it clean. Patch it up. Somehow. Maybe he could mash some of the local herbs, seal the wound. He'd seen that on a survival show once. It couldn't be that dificult. Not for someone like him. One thing was true. The generous layers of fat around his belly had done more to keep him alive than the thick, bloodstained robes that covered them.
Had he been drugged? It certainly felt like it. He was hungover. He couldn't think straight. The pieces hadn't fallen into place yet. But they would. And then he'd show them. Whoever'd done this to him would find out what he was capable of. One thing was clear. And this burning desire kept him going more than anything else. If he found the piece of shit that had stuck him with a knife, he would wring his neck, string him up, and cut pieces off him daily to satisfy his urges. Not as tender as younger flesh, but it would certainly do for now. Anything to curb the cravings. Anything to make him whole again.
As the sun inched its way behind the horizon, Walter knew that he would have to find something soon, anything, an animal, a bird, whatever, in the next day or two or he would probably go crazy. Not from hunger. Not from loneliness. Not from the realisation that he would die alone on a desert island. But from these damned withdrawl symptoms that were knawing at him, tearing him up inside like a phantom medieval torture device.
Not being able to attend to his habit. That would be the most unbearable part of all this. Nothing else, no other flesh would be able to satiate him in the same way. He'd become attached to it. Dependent on it. Like junkies to heroin. Satisfying his hunger for young blood was vital. He needed it like oxygen. And as the warm evening light receded, he could feel the panic setting in. His breath shortening. Before long, who he really was would drain from his body until there was nothing left. He would be alive. If you could call it that. But what remained would be a husk of its former self. An empty shell. Devoid of all meaning.
It was time to turn around. Before it got too dark. He wasn't going to find anything today. He'd try again tomorrow. Maybe his prayers would be answered next time. Maybe if he begged for forgiveness. In his sixty five years, he'd never had to stoop so low. But this was different. He'd do anything to make himself whole again.
He shuffled back in the direction of the river at a good pace, hoping to beat sundown. If any of his peers could see him now, they'd be sure to have a good laugh at his expense, running along the rough terrain with his robes hitched up, hopping across the rocks, being careful not to slip on the soft moss.
"Aaaah!! Damn it!" Walter cursed as he stubbed his big toe on a sharp rock cutting it open. Exactly what he was trying to avoid, but his impatience got the better of him. He sat down quickly and squeezed his bare foot with both hands trying to stem the flow of blood and ease the pain simultaneously. "That's all I bloody need," he said rocking back and forth. "Should've kept your bloody shoes on ya fucking idiot!"
Earlier in the day, Walter had taken his ceremonial slippers off as soon as he'd been able to sit himself up and get his bearings. They were in tatters as if they'd been dragged across rough concrete for hours on end. The silky vermillion outer coating had been shorn off and the thin leather underneath was worn through on all sides.
He'd loved those slippers. They were his favorites. He liked to wear them when he was satisfying his urges. So regal. So divine. Like his robes and his rings. After kissing them gently, he'd tossed them into the flowing river and watched for minutes as they floated away, bobbing up and down until the water took them under. A fine burial, he thought, for a fine pair of shoes.
Walter tried standing up, holding up his robes away from his feet. He gritted his teeth and hissed, clenching his toes to provide support as he continued on his journey. Every step was painful now. His gut wound was festering. He needed to wash it as soon as possible or he wouldn't last another day. The toe would heal soon enough, but it would slow him down in the mean time. Along the way, he picked up a long stick. He used it as a temporary crutch. It wasn't perfect, but it helped. At least his toe wound could stay relatively clean this way until he reached the river, only pausing to rest on his heal occassionaly while catching his breath.
As the darkness closed in around him, Cardinal Benning couldn't help but notice the strange noises that began to fill the cool night air. He slipped through a wooded area where brambles snagged on his precious robes, tearing at them and making him stumble more than once.
He cursed and cursed again, quietly now, under his stinking breath, so as not to alert the creatures that he sensed were waking in the woods beyond. He felt the fear rising in his blood and the usual demonic thoughts soaking his mind. Now he cursed God. "I know you despise me. You think I don't know what you're thinking? I know everything about you! You made me this way. But you also promised to save all of your children. Isn't that right? You promised."
The Cardinal looked around, peering into the void, making sure there was no one out there who could see what a spectacle he was making of himself. He sucked in the cooling air and drew courage from the many Bible passages that had inspired him throughout his illustrious career as a 'man of God.'
During his life, his public life, he'd been a shepherd to his flock, a father figure, a leader of men, a role model for many initiates into the faith, and a fountain of knowledge to his peers. His secret had no bearing on his other achievements anymore than the drug habit of an accomplished scientist, the philandering of a master politician, the not-so-secretive megalomania of the worlds most successful entrepreneur, or the outrageous hypocrisy sloshing around in the underbelly of society at large. In his experience... everyone had their secrets, some more 'interesting' than others. This is how he'd rationalized his weakness his whole life. He was just another multifaceted broken human like all the rest. No better, no worse.
Stepping out into an opening, Walter turned swiftly to find the source of the strange sound that appeared to be following him. Was that laughter? Was someone or something teasing him? Mocking him? He held his position for few seconds, motionless, trying as best he could to control his breathing. It felt like an eternity before he could turn around and continue in the direction of the river. It was in sight now. He was sure he could see it. But still some way off. The sandy banks where he'd woken up earlier that day and the sound of cascading fresh water beckoned to him like an oasis in the desert. He was desperate now. He knew it. He could feel the fever rising to his balding head. Sweat was streaming into his old, blue-grey eyes. Nearly there, he thought. Nearly there.
As the night drew close, the air thickened. Walter felt the few hairs he had left on his arms stand on end. Electricity was everywhere. A storm was brewing. He was sure of it. But as much as he scanned the night sky in all directions, for the life of him, he couldn't see any clouds, let alone the dark storm clouds that any rational person would expect to see. He couldn't see any stars either. For the love of God and all that is holy, what the hell was going on? Was his mind playing tricks on him?
And then it happened . The first flash of lightning caught him by surprise startling him so much that he hunched forward as if in preparation for a sharp blow to the head. When the blow didn't come, he looked up and around at the light show. He exhaled, relieved. He picked up where he'd left off, still not quite understanding what this all meant. Was he dreaming? Was he still halucinating? Impossible. It was all too real. He'd taken enough drugs in his life to know when he was tripping. this was something else.
Upon reaching the sandy banks, he slid down and plopped into the freezing water relishing the soothing effect it had on his whole body. He let the cleansing fluid wash over him and through his dirt-laden robes. The heat in his body subsided and he felt an instantaneous lowering of the fever in his head as if he'd taken a massive dose of aspirin into his veins.
He began to sob but immediately corrected his self pity. Snap out of it you old fool. Pull yourself together. You're getting off this damned island. You'll be back in the real world soon enough. And then you'll be able to feed again.
Walter checked his wound, pulling his now-torn majestic robes to one side for better inspection. From what he could make out in the dim light, it looked bad. He splashed clean water onto the wound and squeezed out as much puss as his pain tolerance could take. Then he kept washing the cut until the inflammation went down. Right now, the cold liquid spilling onto his cebacious abdomen was worth all the gold in the world. Maybe not as good as the virgin flesh of a youngling. But almost.
The nights. And the strange noises. the rustling of leaves. something was moving around out there. But it didn't seem human. He'd called out. No response. Then movement. And it was gone. Enough to drive anyone crazy.
Storm rising, clouds forming, air crackling, electricity
First flash of lightning lit up the whole island. For a split second, Walter could see clearly. The man standing behind the creature was not a man. It was humanoid, but not a man. He couldn't tear his eyes away before the second flash arrived. This time, he confirmed what he thought he'd seen previously, proving that he hadn't gone mad. Or maybe he had, and this was all part of a fever dream. Either way, the humanoid blinked its large, dark, oval eyes—the dominant feature on its triangular face. It barely had a mouth, a small expressionless slit sitting under two noseless nostrils.
"Is this the face of God I see before me? Am I to be punished now?"
The creature moved in on Cardinal Benning, slowly, purposefully, carefully placing its paws one at a time as if wary of traps, its milky blind eyes widening as its snout took in more of the bloody scent leaking from the Cardinal's wounds.
Walter could feel the hairless monter's disgusting breath heavy on his skin now. He couldn't contain his fear any longer. He'd already emptied his bladder and was about to empty whatever fecal matter remained in his shrinking bowels when he let out a bloodcurdling scream followed by a hopeless display of pathetic whimpering. A few nondescript words passed his blue lips. A prayer?
These feeble sounds were the last to come forth from the worldy presence once known as his Eminence Cardinal Walter James Benning, the last sounds before the creature sank its slavvering jaws into his throat, thrashing from side to side, ripping the mans vocal chords like bloody ribbons until it snapped his neck ending the Cardinal's life once and for all.
During the next hour, the tall slender humanoid looked on as his pet feasted on the dead Cardinal's flesh, savoring the contents of his generous belly, innocently playing with the ofal, tossing it in the air like a pup with a fresh kill. The humanoid remained standing the whole time, never showing signs of fatigue, its eyes always bright, reflecting the ongoing light show like black mirrors. Occasionaly, it would look around, surveying its surroundings, checking for threats, anything that would disturb his pets opportunistic feast.
Eventually, after having satisfied itself, the monster stood up, licked around the empty eye socket of the Cardinal's mauled skull, picked up a meaty thigh bone in its jaws, and turned to its master waiting for a command to head on home.
The humanoid patted the hairless beast on the head and said, "Good."
The humanoid's voice was firm, a little gutteral, with a hint of innocence as if it had never been in the presence of humans, as if it had learned to speak all by itself, possibly using recorded audio, but having never interacted with other beings capable of the spoken word.
Spectacular storm flashes continued to light the up the cloudless night sky with unnatural regularity. Every few minutes, a blinding white tree-like network branched up and outwards over the entire island. The pattern changed only slightly each time the light show happened.
The humanoid wears military shorts and sandles. crocks.
more blind creatures.
the lightning stops after a while as if flipping a switch.
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