In this creepy cannibal story, a college professor discovers that there are some things worse than death.
I have held out two days longer than the others. Three days ago, I tried eating the leather from one of the pieces of luggage still in the plane. I felt as if I was going to vomit, but I forced myself to keep it down. I thought the calories it provided would surely be worth consuming whatever chemicals the stiff leather contained. I was wrong. I vomited it up in my sleep. The others have pulled one of the dead out of the plane, and behind the wreckage, out of respect for those who refused to join in. I can hear them feeding, chewing, or maybe I am simply imagining it. Perhaps God is testing me.
I am a weak man, yet I am no longer tormented by hunger. If this was a test by God, then I have failed. But isn’t it written in the Bible, “no man hath greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” Their deaths were not in vain, I hope people understand that, if we ever make it out of here alive.
I feel myself becoming stronger, but also feel myself becoming less human. We are all speaking with each other less, and when we do speak, it is no longer about rescue, but about the next meal. There are five bodies still left inside the plane, but we all know that eventually they will be consumed. We are sizing one another up, seeing who is the weakest; who will provide our next meal.
We have absolutely nothing edible on this mountaintop, save for our eight living and breathing bodies. We have picked clean the corpses of those that died in the initial crash. A group of five came to me last night, and asked me to join them in killing the other two. The two weakest in our group. I agreed, knowing that I had no other choice. Eat or be eaten. We plan to do it tomorrow night. Separate them and kill them with a rock to the back of the head. I have lost all hope. If I take part in this murder, then I will lose whatever shred of humanity remains, and become something entirely evil.
They were still alive while we began feeding. I no longer feel in control of my thoughts and movements. It is as if there is a dark shadow slowly spreading across my mind, taking control. I no longer sleep, for the darkness intrudes upon my dreams. The nightmares are terrible, and I feel that they and the shadow are somehow connected. My strength wanes, and I fear that I my last shreds of humanity are slipping away.
I can see it in their faces; in the looks we give one another. I can feel the group starting to turn against me. I am the smallest of us all, perhaps they feel that I will not put up much of a fight. How wrong they are, the others eat only enough to keep the hunger at bay, disgusted and ashamed at what they must do to remain alive. This is the most alive I have ever felt, as if I not only consume the flesh of my colleagues, but their strength and spirit as well. I gorge on the deceased while they sleep, feeling myself become stronger than I ever was in my old life.
They tried to take me last night, but I was ready. I killed two of them with a knife I had taken from the plane. How dare they challenge the rightful King. The remaining three are on the outskirts of our camp, watching me feed. I smile at them, between bites.
A plane passed over this morning, spotted our ragged group, and circled around twice before departing. The others are cheering, believing us saved. They are fools to think they could remove a King from his throne. They are lambs led to the slaughter, and I welcome any new additions to my flock. I shall prepare a feast to welcome our new arrivals, and together we will retake the Kingdom that was stolen from me five-hundred years ago…
My name is Laura Livingston. I am a professor of anthropology at Harvard University, where I focused my research on cannibalism in modern society. Unfortunately, the life I once knew is now gone. Every morning I feel less like myself. It is difficult to tell where the nightmares end, and reality begins. The voice in the back of my mind, at first a whisper, becomes stronger, and louder after each night of sleep. In this journal, I will attempt to document the past month’s events as best as possible during my moments of sanity, in case news of my affliction ever reaches my colleagues back at the Harvard School of Medicine.
Last month my colleague, Jim Rayns found an old journal while searching for the tomb of the last Incan King, and sent it to me for further review. The journal appears to be Hans Cravene’s, an adventurer aboard a small plane that crashed in the Andes almost fifty years ago. Everyone on the plane, as well as two rescue parties, disappeared, and were never heard from again. I have not heard from Jim in three weeks, and my research assistant, Paul, and I have traveled to Peru to search for him. His last known location was a remote portion of the Andes. No Peruvian guide would take us there, due to local superstitions, so we instead hired a Brazilian who claimed to know the way.
Our guide disappeared last night, soon after we discovered the plane wreckage in the valley. Paul demanded that we turn back immediately, but I told him that we had come too far. We had to search the surrounding area of the plane wreckage, too see if we could find out what happened to Jim. I told Paul that we owed that much to Jim’s wife back home. Paul reluctantly agreed, and we set off on a slow trek up the mountain, searching for any evidence that Jim might still be alive.
The blood-red sun slipped lower in the sky, just above the mountain-lined horizon. I tightened the drawstrings of my jacket’s hood against the thin mountain air, and readjusted my gloves, and said to Paul, “We better set up camp for the night, we can turn head back first thing tomorrow morning – there’s no sign of Jim out here.”
I turned around after a minute, after hearing no response from Paul. He had disappeared. I heard a faint cry in the distance, and took off running towards it. Minutes later I came upon a dark animal crouched over a writhing body. I picked up a large stone, and yelled out at the creature, hoping to distract it away from Paul. The creature looked up at me, its eyes flashing in the twilight. This was no animal – I looked down upon Jim Rayns, or what used to be Jim Rayns. He indeed seemed to be more animal than man.
He rose from what remained of Paul’s twitching body. He finished chewing, and swallowed, face stained red with Paul’s blood. A dark, red hole remained where Paul’s stomach used to be.
“Jim, I… we are here to help…” I stammered, slowly inching backwards, away from Jim.
“Bow before your King, mortal,” said Jim, in a strange voice.
I took another step backwards, my heart pounding, blood rushing to my head and clouding my vision. “Jim – you need help, what have you done to Paul? My God, he’s dead, isn’t he,” I asked.
Jim stood a little taller and smiled at me. “Your friend offered himself up as a sacrifice. The spirit of Paul, and many others before him, gives me the strength I will need to retake the Kingdom that was stolen from me five hundred years ago,” he said.
The absurdity of the situation made me want to laugh, but Paul’s torn body sprawled on the cold earth reminded me that this was all too real.
Jim took another step forward towards me and said, “Join me, Laura. I can grant you immortality. Together we will retake this continent, and rebuild the Kingdom that was stolen five hundred years ago, by those plague-ridden Spaniards.”
“Jim, you need to calm down. We have to get you help – this isn’t like you,” I said.
“You dare oppose me. I have consumed the spirit of one thousand men, my strength grows by the hour,” he cried as he sprinted towards me, white teeth glistening in the moonlight.
His body slammed into me, and an explosion of pain stunned me as his teeth sank into my cheek. He pulled back, tearing flesh off my cheek, right under my eye. I lay beneath him, his knees pinning me to the rocky ground. The sharp pain in my cheek turned into a dull throb, as adrenaline surged through my body. I could feel the blood dripping down the side of my face, past my ear and onto the cold ground.
Jim finished chewing, and lowered himself to take another bite. I swung my fist up, which still help onto the rock I had picked up earlier, and smashed it into his jaw with every bit of strength I could muster. His head flew backwards, broken teeth flying out of his mouth. I pushed him off, and jumped back onto my feet, and brought the rock down upon his head again and again, until his body lay still.
With grim determination, I dragged Paul and Jim’s bodies to a shallow grave I had dug. I covered their bodies, and hiked for eight hours straight until I came to the nearest town, where I was promptly transported to the hospital. During the hike, I had formulated a story as to what had happened to Paul, knowing that any attempt to tell the truth of what had happened out there would destroy my career. I would explain Paul’s disappearance, and the wound on my cheek, by telling Peruvian officials, and everyone back home, that Paul and I had been attacked by a vicious mountain lion, and that I had only barely escaped with my life. I purposely gave them the incorrect coordinates, so that they would not find the shallow grave where I had buried their bodies.
They kept me in the main hospital in Lima for two weeks. At first, they told me that I would be released after a few days, once they stitched up my face and treated me for dehydration.
The nightmares began two days after I had been admitted to the hospital. In the nightmare, I was tied down to a stone table, atop an ancient Incan pyramid. Deep grooves were carved into the table top, leading to a stone basin that lay at the bottom of the sloped table. Above me stood an old Incan warrior chanting in a strange language, his suntanned skin covered in ornate tattoos and his face deeply lined with wrinkles. When I awoke from this dream, I found two doctors and a nurse standing at the foot of my hospital bed, looking upon me with concerned expressions. The spoke softly among themselves, and from what I could decipher with my limited Spanish, I had been yelling out in my sleep all night, in an ancient language that died out hundreds of years before. The doctors told me, in English, that they would like me to stay for a few more nights, since my dehydration might be worse than they had originally thought.
On the fourth night at the hospital I had another nightmare. The nightmare started the same as before, with the Incan warrior chanting above me as I lay strapped to the stone table. This time, however, after the old warrior finished chanting, he removed a jet-black obsidian knife form his braided belt, and raised it high above my body. He looked down at me, and said to me in English, “Laura, you should have joined me when you had the chance.”
He then plunged the razor-sharp knife into my stomach, and removed my spleen with surgical precision. The pain was immeasurable, and I shudder now thinking about it. He held the still pulsing organ to the sky, and then brought it down and consumed in five large bites. I woke up in my hospital bed, drenched in sweat, surrounded by a room full of doctors, nurses, and orderlies. A nurse plunged a syringe into my arm, and said in accented English, “This will calm you down.”
I awoke again the later in the day, and did not feel myself. I dismissed it as an aftereffect of the tranquilizer that they had given me. Throughout the day, I had a deep sense of dread, and could not shake the feeling that a shadow had taken hold in the back of my mind. I found myself quick to anger, yelling at the nurses when they brought me food, or changed my sheets.
The same nightmare occurred again that night, but this time the Incan warrior removed my liver, and ate it in the same fashion as the previous night. The next day, the shadow in the back of my mind was stronger. Thoughts and memories that were not mine had taken root in the back of my mind, and I now have the craving for raw meat.
Yesterday, I bit a nurse, though I only vaguely remember what happened. They immediately transported me to a mental hospital, where I now sit in an empty room, with only this pencil and paper.
I now only feel in control of my body for short periods of the day. The shadow covers most of my mind; it requires an incredible amount of focus and strength to keep the shadow from taking over so that I can write this all down.
Psychiatric Notes: Dr. Jonas Belvedere
Patient Laura Livingston appears to have suffered a complete break from reality, and is currently restrained in a straitjacket in the high security mental ward. Patient Livingston was placed in this room last night after biting and eating the ear of a fellow patient in the common area. The psychosis involves her believing she is an ancient Incan King, that has returned to retake a lost Kingdom. This is a common delusion among many of our patients, however, this is the first patient we have ever had whose delusions involve cannibalism. Our psychiatric team is interested in studying her delusions further, however, Harvard University has requested that we transport Laura back to their research hospital for further treatment. She will leave tomorrow aboard a medical transport plane. Due to her apparent cannibalistic desires, she is to be fully restrained for the duration of the flight