The loving wife twists the screwdriver in her husband’s chest, making sure that the point punctures the side of his heart. He leans forward as the blood runs out from the wound. She grabs him by the hair and pulls him back up into a sitting position.
Pulling out the tool, she sets it aside and watches as the light fades from his eyes. Death claims him, and she is satisfied.
Moments later, the husband sits up straight and looks at his wife.
“The hammer this time, I think,” he says with a smile.
Deep under the ground the creatures dig, expanding their tunnels and growing their kingdom. Their hooked claws tear through the earth easily. When they encounter twisted tree roots, their hundreds of pointed teeth chew through them within moments so that they can continue their digging.
There is a sound from up above. The creatures stop and tilt their heads to listen. It is the sound of a child playing, running about and laughing. They instinctively begin to dig upward towards the noise. It has been a long time since they’ve last fed on more than rodents.
The chef takes a moment to dip a wooden spoon into the pot to scoop up a bit of the soup. His palette is highly refined, and less than a second after tasting the sample he knows just the right ingredients to add to transform the soup from good to incredible. Still, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
He opens the second mouth on his neck and tries a bit more. It definitely needs a pinch of salt, and more of the meat. The chef picks up the knife and begins to carve from the still-twitching leg.
The faceless figure touches the tips of his long fingers together as he looks down at his work. The woman tied to the chair is no longer moving. His work is finished.
Carefully picking up the ivory-handled razor from the table, he wipes the blood and bits of flesh from the blade with a silk cloth. He examines the edge for any flaws. When he is satisfied that there are none, he closes the blade into the handle and places it into his black bag.
Tipping the brim of his tophat at the woman, he steps out into the night.
The Flesh Chewer stares at the family in the backyard, the tree branches hiding it from view. Its jaws work up and down as it gnaws at the strips of skin hanging from its mouth.
The flavor is already gone, but it continues to grind the mass between its large flat teeth. It takes little enjoyment from the action, but still, it is better than nothing. Soon the skin will be completely devoured, and the need for more will return. It always returns.
The Flesh Chewer smiles down at the family, wondering how sweet their skins tastes.
The man has never been to this part of Nevada before, and it has grown dark now that the sun has set behind the hills. He listens as his GPS tells him to take the next right he comes to. Following the instructions, he turns the car onto a gravel path.
Over the next twenty minutes, he continues following the directions he is given, thankful for the electronic guide.
When he reaches the group of men waiting for him in trucks with guns drawn, he wishes that he had used a map instead. Maps can’t be rerouted.
In Times Square, street actors dressed in mascot costumes greet the first tourists of the day. They happily take pictures with both children and adults alike. Their costumes range from cartoon characters to video game mascots to literary figures.
The mascots have become a modern day tradition in the city. There are hundreds of them, and anyone with a costume could fit right in.
With the bright and colorful show attracting all the attention, no one notices the bear mascot with the dark reddish-brown stains around its mouth dragging the startled man into the dark doorway.
Three noble women sit around a white table in a parlor.
They quietly speak about the events of the day while a servant sets up a small dish and teacup in front of each of them before placing a porcelain teapot in the center of the table.
The woman sitting in the middle, the oldest and wisest, picks up the pot with gloved hands and pores a serving into each cup. The liquid is thick and red, and it carries with it the smell of copper. She sips at her drink, remarking that the virgin blood is quite good today.
She plays the violin with a skill and grace that virtuosos around the world would envy. Her fingers glide across the strings as the bow dances across their surfaces. She has never had an equal, and she never will.
The music fills the air. It is a song long forgotten, written by a person whose name has been lost and whose race has been forgotten. The notes call out to all that hear them, and they draw the listener in.
Music requires a soul to create art, and she does not have one. No matter. She’ll simply use yours.
There is a single grave beyond the field on a farm. Its tombstone is chipped and weathered, and it is tilted to one side from years of erosion. Old dried leaves and broken twigs litter the base. At one time there had been a name carved into the stone, but time has worn it away.
In front of the marker is freshly churned dirt and torn out grass. The grave has been opened. The area reeks of mold and decay.
The grave’s occupant is gone.
From the farmhouse comes a shrill scream.