Joshua was still fighting the urge to vomit as a quiet calm began to settle on the room. He couldn’t believe how quickly they had worked their way through little George. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the boy’s face again, not that it was recognisable anymore anyway. The image of it frozen mid-scream as they pulled him out of the walk-in oven was burnt onto the back of his eyelids, returning to him unbidden every time he blinked or closed his eyes.
In the beginning, they had picked carefully at his body, savouring the ‘delicacies’ of the eyes, tongue, belly button and toes. Until the smallest of them had jumped onto his chest, the sharp pincer of its hand pushing into the gap between his eyes without breaking the skin. All but one of the others had stepped back deliberately, clearing a space around the edge of the body on all sides. Only the fat one had moved forwards, and fast. It had flung its whole body weight behind its elbow, slam-dunking the other end of the little one’s claw and forcing it through the boy’s skull and into his brain. The crunching noise had been so loud, it had covered the sound of George’s sister screaming in the cage opposite Joshua.
Once the obese monster had got up, wobbling slightly and rubbing its elbow, the little one had scampered around on the boy’s chest, using its sharp talons to pierce the soft flesh and open him up. That’s when things had really gone crazy.
All seven of the monsters had come forward and grabbed at the boy’s insides, shoving and snapping at each other, growling and screeching for more. The slurping, crunching, gulping and lip-smacking had lasted only minutes but it had been long enough for Joshua to convert to vegetarianism. Now nothing but scraps were left on the table, not even the clothes the boy had been wearing.
Apparently sated for the time being at least, the monsters were beginning to sprawl themselves across the room, and even fall asleep. Joshua watched the one closest to him picking through its large black-rimmed teeth with its razor sharp claw. Its grossly distended stomach pushed out from under the Brownies uniform it had been wearing as a disguise, the yellow polo shirt stretched to the max and the sash torn, hanging loosely over its shoulder. The cap and mask it had worn to cover its deep, long brow and large bulbous nose still lay in the corner of the room, tossed there after they had locked the cage doors behind the children and the need for pretence was gone.
As the monsters’ eyes drooped, Joshua began running his hands around the cage searching for a weakness quietly but feverishly. Looking quickly around the room, he saw that all the monsters were now asleep, or very close to it. He stood up slowly to explore the rest of the space and stumbled, grabbing the nearest bar for support. He stiffened and froze at the sound of the metal against the ring on his right hand, the ping unnaturally loud as it echoed around the warehouse. The smallest monster bolted upright and stared directly at Joshua. He stared back into the pupil-less red eyes defiantly. At first, he hadn’t been scared of the plump, brown, foul-smelling creatures. After all they ranged from toddler-sized to that of a ten year old, and Joshua was big for his age, always in the back row of class photographs. Knowing what he knew now though, he shivered at the anger and evil that seemed to be radiating from those eyes.
The monster slowly closed one eye then the other, clearly unconcerned by an escape attempt. Joshua immediately continued his search, gesturing to the boy’s sister to do the same in her cage. They had to get out of there before the foul creatures got peckish again and decided to have a midnight feast.
The original prompt for this post came from 712 more things to write about by the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto.
“Describe a meal that forever changed the way you eat”
It’s not weird that this is what I came up with, is it?!