Hungry (chapter 5)

“What you’re talking about is cannibalism.”
We are all looking at Haley’s body. The priest is wringing his hands, looking at us, his eyes pleading.
“No Padre, its survival,” says Tony. “I don’t like the idea any more than you but if we don’t eat then we die. Simple fucking science.”
Tony’s face, once pudgy, now sags. We all took a vote as to whether we should eat Haley or not. Everyone, except the priest, voted yes. Better that we eat her and keep ourselves alive than she get eaten by them, or left here to rot while we all slowly waste away around her.
Around us the dust in the air is thick and can be seen in the small slivers of light that are cramming their way through the cracks in the boarded up windows. The priest grabs me by the lapel of my shirt, his mummified face twisted.
“Think about your eternal soul!”
The desperation in his words and that look in his eye really bugs me. All I can say is, “Father, I’m so hungry.”
“We’re all hungry,” says Sarah. “Look Father, its desperate times and they call for desperate…”
Sarah stops and she is looking over my shoulder and when I turn and look I see Tony. In his hands he is holding the axe. One hand at the base, the other up higher on the handle, near the head.
“I’d stay fucking clear if I was all of you.” I’m not sure exactly what he means by the warning.
And the priest is saying, “Please.”
“If none of you want to witness this you might wanna go elsewhere.”
And the priest says, “Tony please don’t do this. It’s sacrilege.”
“Father unless you want to help out I suggest you get the fuck out of my way. If you don’t wanna eat then fine. That’s your choice. But stay. The fuck. Out. Of my. Way.” Then Tony changes his grip on the axe, both hands at the bottom. Baseball style.
Emily retreats back towards the fire. She is hiding her face, crying. I think about the last time she cried and I want to be holding her again. But she sits down next to Ben who is holding his hammer and stoking the fire. Sarah takes the priest by the hand and takes him over to the fire. The priest doesn’t take his eyes off Tony who advances towards Haley’s corpse. Maybe its just a trick of the light but it looks like he is smiling.
I’m standing between Tony and the fire. For some reason I can’t look away. I’m not sure if he says it or I’m reading his thoughts but I’m positive I hear, I’m gonna enjoy this.
Tony brings the axe up above his head, holds it there for only a moment, then brings it down hard. The axe whistles through the air before it thuds into Haley making a wet chocking sound as it bites into her neck and severs her spine.
Tony puts his foot on her to pull the axe out and I feel the warm wet spatter of her blood on my face. It takes another couple of strikes until she is completely decapitated. This was Tony’s idea. Cut off her head and bleed her, ready to eat.
He grabs her ankles and drapes the body upside down on the pew, legs over the back rest. Neck hanging down. The blood is oozing out in lumpy surges and pooling on the ground at Tony’s feet. When he turns to look at me he is covered in a war paint of blood. A crimson mask. He tells me that it shouldn’t take too long, a few hours. Then we can cook her up. After a blast on the fire you won’t even know what it is. Just like KFC. And Although I feel kinda bad about it, my mouth is watering. Then Tony tells me that we should go wash up, might scare the others.
While we are washing up I ask Tony if he wants to be eaten if, well, you know.
“Way I see it, there are two types of people in the world. Those who eat and those who get eaten. Me, I don’t get eaten. And once we get some food in our guts we can start planning a serious fucking escape plan. And without Haley the vote swings in the favour of leaving.”
I ask him if he still thinks there is a chance and he tells me, “I’m going down swinging. I’ll be damned if I’m going to stay here long enough to be food for them or for any of you.” He smiles and gives a laugh. “Once we eat, everything will seem clearer. Hunger does strange things to ya.”
Back in the main room and everyone is huddling around the flames. They are watching the fire trying to not look at Haley’s headless body.
Her head is still laying on the ground but at least Tony had the decency to turn her face away from us. The priest is sitting, staring. He looks weak, tired. Defeated.
From outside the moans of the dead are now little more than background noise, traffic. In fact we hardly notice it these days. I guess we have bigger fish to fry. My stomach has been grumbling ever since Tony mentioned KFC.
“Come on Tony, let’s get this over with,” says Sarah. Tony takes the Stanley knife and walks over to where Haley’s body is.
“Ok we take turns doing this shit, got it? I mean I don’t mind doing the dirty work the first time but after that someone else has to have a turn.”
Sarah and I mumble our agreement. Emily is sitting quiet and only nods. The priest says nothing. Ben, still holding his hammer says, “uhuh.”
The only sounds we hear are the moans outside. The crackling of the fire. Tony’s heavy breathing and occasional gagging. The slicing sound of fresh meat being hacked into with a dull blade.
Tony walks over, hands slick and glistening in the fire light. He dumps a mound of grey meat on the fire and says, “Bon appetite.”

Hungry (chapter 5)

Wordslinger

Brisbane, Australia

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