Hunger, Part 2 (Fiction, Poem)

For the monthly writing prompt that Diana Wallace Peach provided, this is my inspired prose and poetry based from this image:

When I started writing for this prompt, I found myself continuing one of my other short stories, which I wrote for an earlier prompt. I decided to go with it, so here is the second part of Hunger.

>1,000 words. Contains some language, violence and horror.

Prose:

It is curious how, in the long run, eventually everything tries to balance out. As if something, or someone, is keeping score as we go along. And they are hell-bent on tipping their colossal scale back into equilibrium.

For years, decades even, I hardly noticed time. Letting it pass with indifference. Roaming the wastelands and broken cities, freely oblivious to its passage as I focused on my own quest for isolation.

The world aged; I flourished, with an ever-increasing pool of apathy that stretched beautifully between eclipses. As my carnal lust bloomed to a point where my inner wolf enveloped my life, I completely lost all association with my prey. I had no idea of how many lives were ruined, I had no clue on the count of the throats left ripped open, or bodies I drained. I barely seemed human anymore. If I ever cared enough to stop and think about it, I would have been the first to agree that I was truly an asshole.

But now time was making it painfully obvious that it wasn’t in any hurry to skip around for me. Never before was I so keenly aware of every second stretching out to the endless eons, only to stall, crashing slowly back to the next iteration and begin again.

As I laid in the hospital bed, my body tingled with a gelid sensation that seemed to thwart every attempt to move. Nearby, somewhere outside this cold ocean I was prisoner in, a clock miserably plodded on with annoying accuracy. Ticking away the seconds, reminding me, ever patiently, of its grip. My eye lids were heavy and unresponsive. All I could do was lay there, entombed in darkness. And count along.

Most of what happened after I woke from the alley played over in my head with blasts of color, sound and sensation. Before the calm tranquility of the hospital bed, there was the helicopter ride, jarring back and forth on a gurney and then the extremely unpleasant pressure on my wound paired with the smell of sweat as someone out of shape pushed down on me. Each time the aircraft would lurch, the pain would engulf me and I would invariably black out. The helicopter ride was riddled with lags of consciousness and pain as the craft traversed the air currents.

After that, there wasn’t much I could remember save a few blurry faces, disembodied silhouettes floating in strange backdrops. As my vision failed, detached voices floated in and out of my private world, delivering sinister undertones.

“I can’t believe we finally found one. Doctor, this is too good to be true.”

Which one? One of what?

“Hurry, we can’t wait any longer.”

The voices made no sense at all. What was so urgent?

My confused brain struggled to analyze these vague statements, but every time I tried to swim and reach towards a meaning, the thoughts dissolved and I was left with more questions.

Were they trying to save me? Save me for what?

And then there were the sounds. Sickening power tools, cutting noises and what I could only speculate as being the chilling sound of bones fracturing. It did sound familiar, but typically I was the one delivering the horrific soundtrack. This role reversal was not without its sense of irony.

Invisible pressure forced me back down into the deep, and I gratefully let the strong soothing waves crash around. Captive in the water, devoid of sensation, I hummed tunelessly along with the haunting dirge serenading my lethargy. Even though I couldn’t feel anything, I knew dreadful things were happening. Time passed; ages.

What were they doing to me?

After what felt like an eternity, the cold surf broke, and as the waves parted, warm clarity trickled down into my bemused mind. Reemerging to a wakeful state, I was greeted by the clock continuing its rhythmic tempo.

My eye lids fluttered, trying to take in my surroundings, starving for something other than the shadows of my prison. The room was blinding and I blinked away tears as my pupils began to constrict against the assault of light. My arms instinctively tried to move, to shade eyes from the inferno of particles burning away sleep. But only my left arm moved. Something clattered as I tried to move my right.

Gradually, as I worked my eye lids to semi open slits, I craned my neck to look at what was holding my right arm in place. The sheen from the top of a pair of metal handcuffs greeted my squinting gaze, reflecting the bright hospital light. It looked like a tacky bracelet looped around my wrist. My heart sank.

It was hopeless, even if I was striding in the full glory of an eclipse, the tensile strength of a steel chain with less than an inch of slack would have been nearly impossible to break. And this nasty, drained feeling I had in my chest told me that the eclipse was long gone. I was going to have to find the key.

I noticed something else too, there was an odd-looking bandage wrapped about my right arm. Curious. Just about where I ripped the needle out. Some kind of gold material stretched from my shoulder and it looked like it was wrapped around my fore arm. I reached over with my left arm, to lightly touch the bandage.

My vision was still a little blurry, but as I looked closer at the bandage, I realized it wasn’t a cloth or cast at all. Most of my arm was covered in metal. No. Not covered, it had been replaced with metal!

My fingers could feel the cold metal with my left hand. And for some bizarre reason I could have sworn that I could also feel the pressure of my hand on the foreign material. Like my muscles were still intact, still receiving nerve signals and able to sense the touch. As if this very contact was the tipping point of my emotions, I felt myself beginning to panic. Blood pounded in my head as my heartbeat began to blaze.

Those sick bastards! What the hell did they do to me?

I was losing control, irrational fear pulsed through dormant veins and muscles as dread took over. I started to breathe in heavy gasps and my chest painfully expanded. As though on cue, my right arm spasmed as my alarm pulsed through the gold prosthetics. Suddenly, in a controlled jerk, my right arm flew upwards, ripping apart the handcuffs that moments earlier had tethered me to the bed. A shower of metallic links rained down from the ceiling as they bounced and clinked, skittering in all directions.

In disbelief I stared dumbfounded at the broken chain hanging freely from my wrist as I moved my modified arm back and forth in awe. It wasn’t a phantom limb sensation at all, I could really feel my arm even though it clearly had been crammed with implants. When I touched the metal bits, I could feel the tactile contact from my fingers.

For some reason it still felt a part of me, but there were differences. For starters it was like I was wearing a warm wool sleeve across my forearm and wrist. And it was obviously stronger than it had ever been, stronger even when the moonlight ignited my blood and I was able to rip into bone and flesh. It was going to come in handy.

Trembling, swaying on weak legs in the empty room, I leaned against the hospital bed until my balance returned. I needed to get out of this room. There was no way of knowing how long I had been unconscious or the extent of what horrific things were done to me while I was sedated. There was going to be some serious payback.

Working to calm my breathing, I let my exhales escape in long, guttural growls. I was going to find someone. And I was going to get bloody. There was even a good chance that I might get some answers while I was at it.

Poem (Senryu):

Failed mending my ways
Spilling all over the place
Sins all but replaced

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23 thoughts on “Hunger, Part 2 (Fiction, Poem)

  1. Excellent story!

    I love the unusual word choice in this line: “tingled with a gelid sensation”. And I really liked the creepiness of this line: “I hummed tunelessly along with the haunting dirge serenading my lethargy.”

    Very well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, Ethan. This is mesmerizing and chilling. The seething delight in the prospect of violence is gripping. What a powerful character. It makes me wonder about his longer story and what kind of character arc he’d have. My oh my. I’d read this book. Thanks so much for taking up the prompt. I loved this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nonsense! I should be thanking you for this prompt, it did more to write itself than I did crafting these paragraphs. Not sure why I felt like exploring the anti hero, but it was interesting to focus on it in a way that celebrated the unrepentant and often self-justified approach he would have. This would fall into a guilty pleasure write if I ever had one πŸ˜‰ I am sure I will have this character reappear in future writing. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great story Ethan. Very creative in the way you continued the story from the March prompt. Certainly reads like an episodic saga as it entices the reader in. Can’t wait to see how this character unfolds and learn more of his destiny.

    Liked by 1 person

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