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H. Diggory

There was something lodged in his teeth, at first he tried to prise it out by using his tongue, this failed so
he extended a single sharp nail to dig out the offending piece of meat from his jaw. When he found it and
successfully removed it, he examined it and discovered a raw morsel of meat, fat and bloody gleaming at the tip,
for a brief moment he sniffed it, closed his eyes and delicately licked it, perhaps to remind himself of its
succulence, he then opened his mouth wide and deliberately placed it upon his tongue and swallowed.
Joshua could still taste the receptionist’s perfume in his mouth and consequently hoped that the delicious
morsel would perhaps rid him of its cloying bitter tang. He was disappointed he had little time to truly savour
her flesh; it had happened all so quickly, she entered the tiny office with a cursory knock, he only had a
moment to unlock his jaws from the doctor’s throat when she stood before them, the bloody scene played out
before her – Doctor Lowe dying on the carpet, whilst he was ripping off his face in one efficient movement like
one would remove a balaclava. They stared at each other, he with a mouthful of cooling blood in his throat; with
a mere second to drink it down before she screamed. He found wonder at the speed he leapt at her as he pushed
her down to the floor and without a sound and ripped out her throat. Afterward he sat with her, embraced her,
sniffed her scent, the perfume of her insides and licked her cooling flesh.

She was the first human being he had encountered at the surgery, she was the one with pinched kohl rimmed eyes
who asked him if it was an emergency and because he dared to come without an appointment would have to wait
until surgery had finished. Was she blind? Well she was now as Joshua had consumed her eyes, however before,
when she was breathed; she appeared to ignore that he was bent almost double at her desk, his face grey, in
desperation to keep his guts falling out of his body. He was shown a seat, with the other prospective patients,
so there was no privacy and no opportunity to disguise the violent sounds bubbling within his swollen belly, or
the noxious fumes that every so often were expelled from his open mouth or red raw arse. Yet he was hungry. His stomach felt so empty that he would have nibbled the pages of the food magazines that lay upon the seats and coffee table. He found himself staring at the covers; they were there to torture him, to flaunt their juices as they pooled on the pristine white serving plates, to taunt him with golden skin and open wide legs where herb stuffing tumbled forth, to tempt him with dark gravy, thick and studded with fabulously hot

Finally after twenty minutes of agony, during which he had visited the bathroom precisely six times and at each
expedition had filled the cubicle with a symphony of body sounds, the receptionist informed him that he didn’t
have to wait much longer, how long this might be was not made clear. The hunger with in him was now bone sharp,
it almost equaled the hatred he felt towards the receptionist, he wondered if she was actually enjoying seeing
him in such pain, several times he thought he could see a sly smile creep on her lips as he lifted up his
forehead from the his knees whilst his guts felt like water.

Earlier did he even speak to Doctor Lowe when he sat down to face him? Joshua remembered how he smiled,
professional concern oozed from every pore as he asked Joshua ‘now what seems to be the problem? How can I
help?’ what followed was a moment of pure clarity, the cream walls of the office appeared to unfurl like an
exotic lily and Joshua looked at the doctor with an expression that must have been horrifying as Dr Lowe
actually cowered into his chair. Joshua leapt at him and tore at his hands as the doctor raised them to protect
his face, fingers were lost and chewed upon like sugar sticks, next was his face and throat, the most tender of
places where blood was pumped to and from the brain. He didn’t even cry out.

Now it was five thirty, outside there were long shadows and pools of golden light from the street lamps above,
the road in front of the doctor’s surgery was already crammed with slow moving traffic, many office workers
returning home, deciding whether to eat Chinese, Indian or even Mexican. Inside the surgery Joshua sat with the
dead, both had nothing in common. One was male, forty five, sixteen stone and five foot eleven. During 1980s he
attended university and read English, after one year he dropped out to attend medical school with the grand idea
of being a surgeon. He never made it – instead he became head of a general practice, married and sired three
children. The other, female, generally disliked was fifty, thirteen stone and five foot two, grey haired and
stone-eyed, she was a wanna be artist whose heart was polished by rejection until it gleamed like copper. She
had no degree, no husband, no children. Now both were cold, bloodless and faceless.

Joshua remained hungry, it burned, it was deep within him and if he could he would have torn out his own throat
to placate it. He ignored the bodies on the floor, they had served their purpose, they had provided the
appetiser, the entree to the feast ahead. He couldn’t even look at them, they disgusted him, white flesh,
twisted limbs, once plump they were gutted, flapped open on the floor like fish at a supermarket. Both brains
were turning to mush; their blood began to clot as their hearts slowly turned pale and grey. He passed a
critical eye over the photographs that sat on the doctor’s desk – family who were now bereaved were caught in a
moment of joy, bathed in bright sunshine. They beamed pink smiles; they revealed their sharp little teeth and
were so vibrant, chubby scraps of food ready to be gorged upon. The children were young, one a babe, another a
toddler and the remainder early teens, all girls, all resembled their mother, perfect skin, flushed cheeks, big
blue eyes and dark hair, already his mouth was watering and his belly gave a sudden jolt, even though it was already full of undigested middle aged receptionist and a disillusioned doctor.

Joshua began to make plans - the children would be first as they were likely to make the most noise. There would
not be much meat on their bones, yet he knew it would be sweet beyond belief, perhaps resembling spring lamb,
tender, melting and so very soft. The youngest would be a mere bite, such as babies were; he was already looking
forward to the banquet ahead. He could see himself obliterate them, one by one, drink his full, wash his face
with hot crimson spray, to him they were no longer human, they resembled a carton of full fat milk or exotic
juice, ready to be consumed and then discarded to one side. Of course the last would be the mother, he hoped
that she would have the courtesy not to wear too much make up or perfume as it really spoiled the taste. He
longed to take his time with her, truly savor every mouthful. How to get to them? To enter the home without a
fuss or alarm was the next obstacle. Joshua bent down to examine the male body – it no longer had a name, there
was nothing to indicate that

only half an hour ago he was looking forward to going home and putting his youngest child to bed. Joshua then
spied the deceased’s jacket which was draped on the back of the office chair; this was where he found car keys
and more importantly the keys to Dr Lowe’s home. Joshua grinned, there was no apprehension at just how large his
mouth had become, or how sharp his teeth felt, long ago he was human, long ago he had parents, a girlfriend, a
job, a bank account, debts, Friday night was curry night, now he was something else. Something better, stronger
and always hungry. He sniffed the keys, first there was the scent of the doctor, shampoo, body spray and soap
and then there was another, perfume, light and floral – the scent of his wife.

His attention was suddenly taken to the closed door, as he could detect footfall, the scent of polish and the
snicker, swish of a broom brushing the wooden floor of the corridor. The cleaner was male, he was humming to
music, Joshua recognised it as Ozzy Osborne. There would only be a few minutes until he would stop at the
entrance of the office door, open it and discover what was inside.

Joshua sat down in the doctor’s chair to wait, he liked the feel of the leather, it was smooth and soft and
smelled of sweat, long hours, high cholesterol and forced politeness and care. Joshua swivelled the chair from
left to right, then with more strength rotated it around and around until he was laughing, a child with a laugh
that was more than a howl than a giggle. He was so immersed in the pleasure of it that he only detected the
scent of bleach, pine cleaner and suppressed terror when he made the last rotation and saw him, the cleaner, a
young man standing at the threshold of the open door. He was dressed in a khaki green overall, a duster was
clenched in his right hand and in his ears were a pair of ear phones. Joshua couldn’t believe his luck, he knew
this boy, they were friends at the local secondary school. Billy-Boy!’ he yelled, ‘come here and say hello,’
Billy-Boy did no such thing, he knew the voice that shouted to him, yet he could not tally it to the face he was
staring at. Those burning eyes, blood soaked jowls and slicked teeth covered with gore. Billy–Boy was a
nickname, what he was called when he was cornered on the way home from school, the name given to him when his
lunch money was stolen, the emphasis on each B. Billy-Boy’s eyes travelled down to the blood and flesh on the
floor, then upwards to the spray of red on the walls and finally back downwards to the corpses piled at the
corner of the room, discarded like dirty laundry, he saw they had no faces and one of them had to be Doctor
Lowe, he recognised his shoes and remembered how proud he was of them as they were Italian made. Billy-Boy once
baby-sat his kids and now he was standing on a blood soaked carpet open mouthed and poised to scream. Joshua
smiled, it was all teeth. Billy-Boy ran. And so did Joshua.

Now this was different, this was going to be fun, this was quarry, this was the hunt. Joshua was aware he was
running on all fours as his ears pounded and his mouth was open wide. Both ran into the waiting room, he could
smell the boy, it was a scent of damp skin slick with salt and marinated in fear, the boy’s heart beat so fast
that blood flooded the muscles until they sang with lactic acid. In turn Joshua’s belly rumbled in anticipation,
the taste of the boy, how fear, adrenaline would surely alter the meat’s taste and texture, adding a note of
piquancy that was far too brief in the earlier feasts.

Billy-Boy was screaming, shouting and almost blind from panic reached the disabled toilet door and tried
desperately to open it, to find refuge behind a locked door. It was his first and last mistake. The door
wouldn’t open. He knew that Joshua was behind him, he could hear him bound from one row of chairs to the other,
yet it couldn’t be him, not this creature, not him, yet he had heard his voice from his throat. He had heard his
name, the name that only Joshua knew, the name he had always used when he purposely threw him to the ground
during a game of school rugby and left him there, bleeding, winded and walked away laughing.

Bill-Boy shrieked as the door wouldn’t open however hard he pushed, his brain was too overwhelmed with terror to
realise that he had to pull to open it. He was weeping as his mind vacated his body like a flushed toilet. Then
it was behind him, breathing, snarling and nuzzling the back of his neck to inhale the sweet scent hidden in the
folds of his collar. He was seized by his hair; it ripped from his scalp as he was hurled in to the alcove
behind reception. As he landed on his arm his bones shattered and again Billy-Boy shrieked, he sounded like a
woman screaming. Meanwhile it bounded on top of the desk, pens scattered like arrows, a stack of paper flew
outwards, then a poster which depicted a grinning child with impossibly white teeth was shredded apart, as were
pamphlets which emphasised the need to eat ‘five-a-day’. Underneath the desk was Billy-Boy, a coiled spring,
bound so tightly that his other arm broke as the creature tried unsuccessfully to unravel him.

‘Run,’ a voice snarled in his ear.

He wouldn’t.

‘Run,’ it repeated.

If anything Billy-Boy curled up even tighter.
I didn’t see anything I didn’t see anything i didn’t see this is not happening i want to go home i want to go home i want to go home i want to go h...

His spine cracked apart as a clawed fist punched deep inside his back and Billy-Boy, other wise known as William
ceased all thought. The creature was right. The meat was wonderful, flavour some, with an amazing aftertaste. Afterward, when its belly was full of meat, a distant memory came, a long time ago, words came from its throat and tongue formed a language, now there were only noises. There was a sudden urge to escape, yet for some reason, the way was barred and his hands were warped into limbs that could no longer grip. However now there was added strength, it was bigger, swifter, its muscles rippled and bones were as hard as iron. It had a heart that was like an engine, so powerful that all four limbs enabled the creature to run and eventually crash through the pane of safety glass to the chilled air beyond, an alarm screeched into the night. So many smells. Of course there were the traffic fumes, it had recently rained and the perfume of wet leaves and mud filled the air. It hid in the shadows and so managed to avoid the glare of the street lamps and headlights. Instinct told it that it was best to travel via the maze of back gardens if it was to reach its destination.

From there new and breathtaking odours poured from every curtained window, the smell of them. Not the smell of evening meals, freshly made coffee, earl grey tea, buttered toast or milk, it was those making the meals. It could smell them, soft female skin, some slathered with body cream, hair spray and painted faces, yet there was some that had not succumbed – the very young or those who did not bother, there was tougher skin, haired, muscled, heavy boned and tiny morsels that cried and smelled of warm milk and kisses. Some fed their bodies with red meat – rich blood scent oozed from pores, some fed their bodies with only vegetables, no animal meat polluted their flesh, so perhaps it may add a certain amount of novelty that it might just savor one day. Some had skins of different hues; whether this would make any difference to the meat’s quality it wasn’t sure. Nevertheless it paused and balanced itself on its back legs and breathed in a perfume of spice, garlic and chili. Perhaps it would return later. It was still hungry, the scent of the doctor’s wife and children danced on chill air and there was nothing left to do except follow it.

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