He didn’t consider himself a cannibal. The fact that he enjoyed the taste of the blood left on his weapon of choice after an assault of his latest victim, didn’t seem to be cannibal like, but more blood thirst. So when Denise asked him what kind of food he liked, he simply said, “hand made food.”

“You mean homemade food?”

“Yes,” he laughed, “homemade food.”

“Do you cook at all?” She asked with a smile.

“I can make a helluva steak.” In his mind he said, but the human blood that I have caused to spill is what turns me on. “Perhaps you can come over one night and I will prepare something fresh for us?”

Flirtatiously she smiled and said, “I would love to.”

 

Different peoples blood tasted differently. Some had a salty spiciness to them, while others caused his tongue to go numb. Some blood was sweet and would whet his desire for more of the same; but then the next would taste like shit or rusted water. Some blood was like crack, the cause of his addiction and the impetus to the search he found himself on.

He remembered Rhonda and her dark skin, the knife tasted like honey with a sense of a tropical fruit. She was his first. He didn’t mean to cut her at first, but her voice was so whiny and she kept crying the whole time. She had asked to tied to the pole which was scalding hot because it was connected to the steam which warmed the apartment.

She wouldn’t stop whining and claimed to have forgotten their safe word. Looking back, he realized she must’ve forgotten their safe word; but what did it matter? She was in, how did the priest put it? “A better place.” which made him wonder; If people all died and went to a “better place” why was there this place?

 

He recalled a time in high school when the Football coach wanted him to run out of bounds to stop the clock; his team was down 3 points and if he ran the 5 yards it would put them in field goal range with seconds to go in the game. So, he took the handoff, ran towards the sidelines, saw an opening and ran straight for the touchdown. In the locker room the assistant coach told him that the coach wanted to speak with him.

 

“Hey coach!” He said.

“Who said you should run for the touchdown?”

“I saw the opening and -”

“Did I tell you to look for the opening?”

“No, but my instincts took over and-”

“I don’t give a fuck about your instincts. You could have cost us the game there.” He was spitting and his face was red.

“I didn’t coach, I won the game for us.”

“There is no ‘I’, in team, now is there?” He was about to explode.

“Coach, Dad – I thought you would be proud of me.”

He walked out of the office and left the locker room in his uniform; his mother watched as he walked by her and she knew that her husband had, once again, stolen the happiness from their son’s life.

 

Danielle’s blood tasted bitter, like biting into an aspirin with a dry mouth, just as her personality was bitter. She slept with her eyes opened and that scared the shit out of him. But it was her girlfriend who had brought the spoon and the fire. Felicia was from Salerno in Italy; barely spoke English and was game for anything. It was after the second time around in his room that he cut Danielle; Felicia and he licked the knife and the wound clean. The next morning he woke to find blood stains on his bed and both woman gone.

 

As he sat across from Denise he contemplated his lust for blood. What would she taste like? It had been several weeks now and he hadn’t even been close to putting a blade next to her. There was something about her that made him lose that lust for blood – was it love? Or was it that the last blood he tasted was so shockingly repulsive?

It could be that – but he also felt it was love.

She felt it was love and could not believe how lucky she was to meet such an amazing man.

“Where have you been all my life?” She whispered in his ear as they made love one afternoon.

“I don’t remember a time in my life when you were not there.” He said and for that she expressed her appreciation in ways that Rhonda, Danielle nor anyone ever had.

 

“Do you go to confession?” She asked him one evening as they each ate a rare steak.

“What do you want me to confess to?” He answered.

“You have blood on your shirt.” She said; he jumped. “Relax, I can get it out with some bleach, don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”

“Secret?”

“That you dirtied your white shirt eating, like a little kid! You are a real carnivore!”

“Actually I am a cannibal.” Somehow it felt good to say it.

“Sounds like something I want to explore with you.” She licked her lips and then licked her steak knife. “Ouch.”

“What happened?”

“I cut my tongue.” There was blood on the knife; he picked it up and licked it clean. Her blood tasted like a mixture of honey, peaches and nutmeg – crazy combination but he could swear he tasted all of these and more in the small dots of blood. He wanted more. He kissed her, she pushed him aside.

“You like the way I taste?” She whispered to him.

“Yes and I want more.” She opened her mouth and he jumped right in.

 

As they lay in bed later on that evening, he thought about her question.

“Why did you ask me if I ever went to confession?”

“I was curious; but it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Why?”

“Because you tasted me and you liked the way I tasted. Was I your favorite?”

He hesitated. “Yes.”

She smiled and rested her head on his chest.

He thought about his father and the last time that he had berated him. It was at church and his phone had rung. He hit “decline” on it but his father thought he was answering it.

“Have you no respect? In front of God you are answering your phone? Who is it that you need to speak so urgently?”

He stood up and walked out as his father screamed after him.

“You never respect anyone but your own self – you are a selfish bastard who is probably not even my son!” He turned around and simply walked out.

 

“What’s wrong?” Denise asked.

“Nothing just a bad memory or two.” He turned towards her, looked into her eyes and said, “Thank you.”

“For?”

“Helping to erase the pain.”

“Hey that’s what friends, lover and blood suckers are for.” She laughed and he kissed her. She bit his lip – drawing blood. He pulled away and suddenly her mouth was on his mouth. She smiled and let out a soft laugh.

Outside there was a full moon hidden beneath ominous storm clouds; thunder was the soundtrack and some birds added harmony to the Brooklyn streets scene. The streets were peppered with fallen leaves and branches, some wrappers and garbage from uncovered trash cans. In an empty lot where the new Target Store was being built there was a man buried inside a construction garbage bag.

Under a canopy on a beach somewhere several months later; a man and a woman exchanged vows and swore to never part. The guests all gushed on the special love story unfolding in front of them being sealed with a kiss, a bitten lip and a smile.

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