The Heaven of Cannibals – New Short Story by Cathy Vella

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The Heaven of Cannibals


Cathy Vella

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I ate my dolls as a child.  I remember the act of putting the plastic limbs in my mouth and the difficulty I had chewing them. The cheap, thin plastic crunched like tiny bones.  I imagined the dolls screaming as I devoured them.  I also remember the feeling of overwhelming joy when I had eaten a full one.  This started when I was about five years old. My mother told me I used to eat the stuffing out of my teddies.  I recollect their deflated bodies scattered around my bedroom.

There was a tremendous fuss made whenever I was rushed to A & E to remove a blockage.  I found this incredibly exciting. The panic on my mother’s face when I nearly choked on a particularly large doll’s eye was priceless.  I shall never forget her tears of happiness when I drew in a huge breath after she pounded on my back to remove the culprit.  I felt distanced from the scene, as if I watched from afar. The eye shot from my throat, arched gracefully through the air, landed on the floor and rolled around before staring back at me.

At high school I’d sneak hairs from my friends’ heads and eat them.  My best friend Ellie had the most beautiful long, golden-blonde hair; it reminded me of the straw that was spun into gold in my Rumpelstiltskin book (which I also ate).

Over a few weeks, I managed to sneak together a nice hairball to eat at my leisure at home.  I felt satisfied for a while, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about eating all of her hair.  I invited Ellie to a sleep over, and during the night I cut off as much of her golden locks as possible.  I can still see her wide-eyed look of horror as she inspected her tufts in the mirror the following morning.

That binge had me in hospital for a week. They ran lots of tests and I had weeks of therapy. The looks of concern on my parents’ faces grew deeper and I found it touching that they worried so much. I felt special.

Eventually I returned to school.  Ellie’s hair had grown a little.  I wanted to explain that my therapist said I had pica disorder, and that I only ate things I loved.  I had wanted to make Ellie part of me, just as I had with my beloved dolls and teddies.  My therapist explained that it was quite a common issue with children and that I would grow out of it.  Ellie wouldn’t speak to me though.

High school became a cruel place.  I had no friends, and I was bullied and called names. The other kids joked saying that I would eat them if they sat still long enough.  My desire to eat things went away as my therapist said it would. Eventually I stopped eating completely.

The weight dropped off me, and I developed a layer of fine down all over my emaciated body. I convinced myself that I was turning into one of my deflated teddies.  I had hardly any energy, and everything seemed to play out in slow motion. My parents shouted and cried at me and then shouted at each other.  The world went on without me interacting with it. I tried to explain that because I loved no one, I no longer needed to eat.  I wanted nothing inside of me. I was vulnerable. Weak. I stopped speaking.  I wanted to be inanimate.

And then I met you online.  We chatted for a few days.  You said that you understood me. I saw through your sweet words and clichés, but I let you draw me in.  I liked the odd attention. I sent you pictures and could sense your furtive fumbling.

You thought you were the spider and I the fly.   Stupid old man.

You said we should meet.

We met and you said that you loved me. That this was our destiny. You fed me your kisses, and your saliva quenched me.  I drank your fluids, wasted not one drop.  A flower of love started to bud inside of me.  This was me – at last.  Your hands all over my bones.  This was what I had desired all these years, but had been on the wrong path.  I grew strong – the bud grew tendrils that reached deep inside you.  Your strength became mine.  We were the perfect equation.  You gave and I took. I was unwilling, but you forced yourself on me. Then it was you who wavered as your strength drained out all over the pavement. You said I took too much, but you underestimated my passion. I saw the fear in your eyes just before I ate them.  Soft and succulent, they slid down my throat instead of lodging in it.

See, it was meant to be.

black tree

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