My parents never fed me, you know. That's why I look the way I do: skinny to the point where I almost look like a walking skeleton. That's also why I ended up dead, wasting away after seven long years of abuse.
I suppose I deserved it for not telling anyone what was going on. I wanted us to be together; Mommy, Daddy and me. All I wanted was for us to be a family, loving one another and living a happy, normal existence. That was apparently too much to ask.
Less than a week after I was adopted, when I was just four years old, the abuse started. It was fairly standard treatment at first: screaming at me, hitting me, rape, cigarette burns, all the normal situations my fellow foster kids said happened to them. It was expected, almost, as if being treated in such a way was the norm.
By the time the social worker paid our twisted little family a visit, it had been a month, and I was already trained. I knew to hold my tongue in the presence of adults, to do whatever Mommy said the minute she said it, to let Daddy have his way with me at any hour, and to let him be as rough with me as he pleased. I've always been on the quiet side, and the social worker didn't even notice the change. She left me there with my new parents, firmly believing that I had found the perfect family. It seems odd now that she didn't notice the cuts and bruises and the stench of blood permeating the house.
I behaved well when she was over: I told her nothing of the abuse, of the disgusting "training" I was undergoing at the hands of my new parents. Of course, I was punished anyway, because I had lied to her. The punishment for that particular offense was a rather harsh beating, which stung all the more given my rapidly deteriorating health. In fact, it was that beating that killed me.
Daddy went crazy again and took his favorite aluminum baseball bat to my ribs. It hurt a lot, but I didn't cry. Crying is a show of weakness and would only serve to make punishments worse. So I held as still as I could as the metal cylinder crushed my ribcage into my lungs, making it impossible to breathe as the life left my body.
Daddy stood above me and smirked, my blood splattered across his face and hands, dripping off the bat he still held. Mommy just watched, arms crossed, a cigarette in her hand and a smirk on her face as I died.
No remorse, no guilt, no sense of any wrongdoing at all.
The last thought to cross my mind is how strong they are, how I'd love to be like them.
But they're different now.
After my death, both of them were sent to prison, Mommy for five years and Daddy for ten. It seems their time there really did reform them. They're back together now and they even have a new daughter. Her name is Sarah, and she is perfect. She's blonde with blue eyes and is surprisingly tall for being a six-year-old, just the opposite of me. Maybe that's why Mommy and Daddy love her more than they loved me. They feed her, shelter her, give her love and clothes and even a puppy. She calls it Scout. She's small and yellow and energetic, a fluffy little ball of fur bouncing back and forth through the house.
She's not allowed in the basement, though. Mommy and Daddy won't let her or Sarah down there. They won't let anyone down there, for that matter. They won't even go down there themselves anymore. It brings memories of me, I suppose. Even though it's been eighteen years since I died, they refuse to remove our old playtime equipment: the cage, the bat, the chains, the knives, none of it. It's all still here, though hidden away from the rest of the world behind one of the walls. Are they ashamed of me?
They're not ashamed of Sarah. They love her. And they love little Scout. The little dog is fed better than I ever was. Her belly is always full.
Mine isn't, though. Even now, even being dead, I'm hungry. It sometimes feel like my stomach is trying to eat itself.
If I could pull out my stomach, I would. It'd be better than feeling that awful, gnawing ache of hunger all the time. I doubt my stomach would taste good, but I'd be willing to try it. There's nothing I'm above eating at this point.
I wonder what Scout would taste like? Does dog taste like chicken?
She and I are both in the kitchen now. It's nighttime, and Mommy, Daddy and Sarah have gone to bed. Scout is asleep, too, curled up in her little doggy bed, a better bed than I ever had. That horrid little dog looks so peaceful...
And so delicious.
When Mommy comes into the kitchen the next morning, she gasps, covering her mouth as her eyes go wide in terror.
Poor little Scout has had her insides ripped out, the meat stripped from her bones, her marrow and blood sucked dry. All that remains of the adorable little dog is a pile of bones and fur on the floor, her shiny red leather collar accompanying the mess.
Mommy calls softly for Daddy, probably grateful that Sarah's still asleep. The two of them chat for a moment before Daddy grabs a trash bag and begins to calmly clean up the mess. That's disappointing. I was hoping for a stronger reaction to that.
I hate to admit it, but I'm rather hungry for Mommy and Daddy's attention, too.
I got quite bit of attention back when I was alive, though it was all of the negative sort. All Sarah gets is positive attention. I've seen her break things: "Oh, it's fine, sweetie! We'll just buy another one!". I've seen her be sedentary for hours on end: "It's all right if you don't want to do it, darling, we'll take care of it for you!". I've seen her scream and yell at them for no reason at all: "It's okay, baby, let it all out!".
It's unfair. Why was I never treated that way?
Well, I'll make them suffer this injustice.
A quick walk up the stairs and I find myself standing in Sarah's bedroom. It's pink and white and perfect, exactly the way a little girl's bedroom should be, all filled with lace and fleece and stuffed animals. She sleeps with a little pink unicorn, which she calls Uni. She's just as stupid and unoriginal as a blonde, pink-clad little girl is expected to be.
I wonder if she'll scream as loudly as I expect her to?
I move to stand at the side of the bed, casting my eyes down at her sleeping form. For being as tall as she is, Sarah's also a bit on the chubby side, as a child should be. All marbled and tender, like a fine steak…
She'll make a meal fit for a king.
Of course, if I kill her now, I'll never get to see her reaction to her beloved little dog's death. I suppose I'll spare her for today.
When little Sarah returns from school, I'm waiting on the front porch. Her eyes are still as red and puffy as they were this morning, when Mommy and Daddy told her of dear Scout's demise. I imagine I should feel sorry for her, but I don't.
It's delightful to see her like this, looking the way I felt all the years I was forced to spend with Mommy and Daddy. At least, how I felt at first. I grew to love them with all my heart, though I know that they never felt that way about me. A poor wretch abandoned by her own mother doesn't deserve loving parents.
Just as Sarah doesn't deserve that little dog. She doesn't deserve Mommy and Daddy. She doesn't deserve to be happy.
Tonight, I'll make sure that she isn't.
As 8 o'clock arrives, so does little Sarah's bedtime. She brushes her little white teeth and heads up to the stairs to her perfect, pink and white bedroom, curling up with Uni on the bed. Mommy and Daddy give her hugs and kisses and words of love as she's tucked into her fluffy, pillow-laden bed. When they finally shut off the light and return downstairs, I'm ready.
But that readiness dissolves away when Sarah speaks into the darkness: "Hello?"
Can she see me? No, that can't be. But she can feel my presence- Most children can.
I carefully tread my spot near the window to the edge of her bed. I can see her breath leave her mouth in short, frightened gasps, forming little puffs of fog in the suddenly cold room.
She's afraid of me? All the better. The adrenaline should act as a nice enhancer for her natural flavor. I imagine her to taste a bit on the sweet side, given all the sugar she eats: the frosted cereal and the chocolate milk and the candy.
Seconds tick by in silence before I lower myself onto the foot of the bed. The springs squeak a bit under my weight, the bed depressing slightly.
And then Sarah screams.
Footsteps thunder up the stairs and, in less than half a minute, Mommy and Daddy are here, mollycoddling their precious little girl.
This is but a minor setback. I'll get her eventually.
I'll be sure to gag her next time I try.
The next evening, the ideal situation arises. Mommy and Daddy and Sarah are going to watch a movie. A silly, girly, utterly childish movie revolving solely around a blonde, pink-clad princess. Right up Sarah's alley. The three of them snuggle together on the couch. The lights are turned off and the bowl of popcorn centered between them as the opening credits of the film begin to roll.
Sarah is on the left side of the couch, leaning back against the arm, her legs tangled with Mommy's. She's separated enough that I may be able to get her without causing too much of a scene. Mommy will come next, and I'll save Daddy for last. He'll see his wife and child die as brutal a death as I can imagine, and given my own death, they're bound to be bloody beyond words.
As the credits wrap up and the film begins, the three of them fall silent, their silly chatter stopping at long last.
I creep as stealthily as I can manage to the arm of the couch that Sarah is resting against. She has her right arm dangling over the edge of the couch, a delicious, juicy chicken wing dangling delectably in front of the hungry beast that is me.
Her chubby little thumb fits into my mouth perfectly, and it seems like she can't even feel it. She's bound to feel the next part, though.
A piercing, high-pitched scream shatters the formerly peaceful atmosphere as Sarah jerks her hand away, revealing the sight to Mommy and Daddy. Her thumb has been stripped: the skin and flesh peeled messily away from the bone, all spurting blood, a truly gruesome sight.
Mommy gasps, going pale as she scoops Sarah up and rushes her to the bathroom. Daddy watches, ashen-faced for a moment before he reaches for his cellphone. Luckily, I make it to the device before he does, slamming it into the wall. He goes even paler, but quickly recovers, following Mommy and Sarah's path into the bathroom.
The door slams in his face before he even touches it.
I can't see his face once it happens: I'm inside the bathroom with Sarah and Mommy, basking in the iron-rich scent of the little girl's blood.
Sarah is sitting on the edge of the bathtub, clutching a wet cloth around her stripped thumb as Mommy works at the sink, wetting down another rag to wrap around her baby's bleeding appendage. It seems they're both quite distracted.
They're distracted even to the point where they can't hear Daddy pounding away at the door, or see when I yank the shower curtain down to tie Mommy up. Before they even know what's happened, Mommy is bound and lying in the bathtub as Sarah presses herself back against the door, hoping for escape. Alas, the door is jammed, trapping the two of them in here with me.
I suppose it's finally time for little Sarah to die.
And how wonderful; Mommy gets to watch!
Her eyes widen in horror and Sarah screams as I approach her, eventually biting into the ring finger of the little girl's plump right hand, stripping it as I did with her thumb earlier. This mouthful of flesh is even more delicious than the last. I think I'll continue.
Mommy screams and Daddy pounds on the bathroom door as I slowly make my way through Sarah's hand, fingers first, followed by the flesh of her palm and the back of her hand. The taste is exquisite.
Finally Mommy stops screaming; She's fainted. How funny! Mommy is so silly sometimes!
Sarah, however, is still screaming, calling for Mommy, for Daddy, for anyone. No one can hear her, though. Such is the beauty of living in the middle of nowhere- No one can hear you scream. No one could hear me scream, and so no one can hear Sarah's panicked cries for help. No one can hear Daddy's enraged yells and the hammering of his fists against the door. Poor, poor Daddy. He's going to lose another daughter. Mommy's cell phone is in here, too, and there's no way for him to get help. The nearest police station is miles away from here. He has no choice but to sit outside the door and listen to the sounds of his precious little girl's death.
Sarah's chubby little arm is next on the menu. The fat is well-distributed, like the marbling of a fine steak. Delicious! Sarah's screams increase in volume and sharpen considerably.
I pay her no heed. I'm too hungry to care that she can finally see me, scratching at my face and my arms, yanking at my hair. She's close to death. That's the only way she could possibly be seeing me now. She's lost so much blood... It's all tasted fantastic. But I don't think I'll eat the rest of her body straightaway. I think I'll leave the body in the basement for later.
But it's not time for that yet. Sarah's still alive and kicking, and I'm still starving. I'm up to her elbow now, and the little girl is gradually becoming weaker. So is my jaw, sore from my teeth crashing into bone as I strip away the flesh. It's worth it, though, to be able to eat again. I haven't tasted anything since before Daddy killed me; I've been waiting patiently for just the right moment. It's been hard, to say the least, particularly when Sarah was a fat, delectable-looking baby. As I said, though, it's been worth it.
The next bite I take is cold. A quick glance up at my meal proves that little Sarah has finally expired: Her skin has gone pale, her lips and fingernails bluish, her once brilliant blue eyes dull. Poor baby.
My voice is scratchy, though that doesn't surprise me at all. I haven't spoken in years. There was no one who could hear me, so there would be no point whatsoever in speaking.
But Mommy can hear me now. She's finally awake, staring down at the little girl's body with wide, horrified, grief-stricken eyes. She's scared to death, and that alone is enough to reveal my presence to her.
It's her turn now.
She screams when she feels my teeth rip into her left shoulder, blood spurting onto my face, into my mouth in warm waves. "Stop it, please!" she cries out, and I pull back to grin at her. She shivers at the sight of my blood-splattered face, my stained, rotting teeth, my bluish skin and lips, my sunken black eyes and limp, dirty blonde hair.
She's afraid of me?
She should be!
"Why would you do this?" she asks, her voice trembling, though I'm unsure if it's from fear or the fact that she's lost so much blood. Maybe she's going into shock?
My answer is short and sweet: "Because I'm hungry."
Mommy jerks away from me, sliding as far back as she can in the bathtub, so the faucet is up against her back. That must hurt.
Not nearly as much as when I shove her back against it, though.
"Stop this! I've never done anything to you! Leave me alone!"
"Karen!" Daddy's voice calls from the other side of the door.
...Karen? No, that's not right. Mommy's name was Michelle.
I suppose that doesn't matter. I'm still hungry.
I latch my teeth onto her shoulder again, swallowing her warm, coppery essence as she tries desperately to push me away. Her breath is hot against my ear, coming out in shivering gasps. I must have severed an artery. That's too bad. I won't get to have as much fun with her as I would have liked. Oh, well.
My mouth moves up to Mommy's neck, but she smells different than she used to. She smells like raspberries now, as opposed to the roses-and-blood smell she had before she left. Strange. But I ignore it and press on, gnawing away at the area just below her ear, trying to keep her long chestnut hair out of my mouth. It's pretty, yes, but I'd rather not eat it. I'm not that hungry.
...Or am I?
I grab onto a handful of silky stands and shove them into my mouth. They taste a bit soapy, but it's not a bad flavor. Maybe I am that hungry.
But Mommy's fading quickly, so I suppose I'll have to save eating her for later. I have something more important to take care of.
I climb into the bathtub with Mommy, curling up in her lap. "Do you love me now, Mommy?"
Her voice is soft, weak: "I'm not your mommy."
I snap my head up at that, sinking my teeth into her throat and rip out as large a chunk as I can manage. "You're a liar."
She gives no response to that. When I glance up at her face, I give a small sigh of disappointment. She's gone.
Daddy's fists are still hammering against the door. "I'll be out in a minute!" I call happily to him.
I can hear him gasp from the other side of the door. I'm as surprised as he is that he can hear me. "...Karen?" he asks timidly.
I give a little giggle. "Nope!"
"Wrong again!" Another giggle slips past my lips. "They're both dead!"
That must have triggered an adrenaline rush, because the door is suddenly broken down and Daddy is in the bathroom with us, eyes wide as he stares at the corpses of his wife and daughter. I almost feel sorry for him.
Almost, but not quite.
He deserves this.
I watch quietly as he drops to his knees beside the toilet, emptying the contents of his stomach until nothing comes up but foul-smelling yellow acid.
"Why would you do something like this?" he whimpers, wiping his mouth on his sleeve, staring at me with bloodshot, teary eyes.
"Because I was hungry," I tell him honestly. I pat my distended belly. "I'm not hungry anymore, though."
He opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. I just watch as he climbs to his feet and heads back into the living room, following him as he plops down on the couch, elbows on his knees, his hands covering his face. He looks truly miserable. I've done my job well.
But I'm suddenly feeling hungry again.
Daddy doesn't notice when I kneel down in front of him, my hands starting on his knees, gradually gliding up his thighs. He doesn't notice when I press my cheek to his, smearing Mommy's blood across his face. He doesn't notice when my tongue darts out to lick said blood away.
Where's the fun in that?
He continues to ignore me as I creep up into his lap, straddling his hips and pressing myself right up against him. It isn't until I press my lips to his that I finally get his attention. "Do you love me now, Daddy?" I ask once I pull away.
He just stares at me for a moment before his hands move to my shoulders in an attempt to push me away. "Get off," he says weakly, only half-trying to shove me off him. He's broken, it seems. How sweet!
...But Daddy isn't sweet. Daddy is sadistic and wicked and cruel and evil and downright mean.
But I still want an answer, so I dig my nails into his thighs, glaring hard and growl out, "Do you love me now, Daddy?"
His breathing picks up as he stares at me with fear-widened brown eyes.
Brown eyes? Weren't Daddy's eyes blue?
"Yes," he whispers pathetically. "I love you now."
Coward. Daddy isn't a coward, but this man is.
Oh, of course! This isn't Daddy at all! I killed him years ago!
This is Christopher, the man who moved in twenty-five years after I died.
How could I have forgotten?
And it's the third time, too! I forgot about Joshua and Robbie and their sweet little families!
Nevertheless, I'm still hungry. I grasp the back of Christopher's head, pulling him into a kiss, biting down on his lower lip to gain full access to his mouth.
One harsh bite and a pained scream later, I find that his tongue tastes utterly delicious. "Don't lie to me," I whisper into his ear, though I doubt he can hear it over the sound of his own pained groans. "You're not my daddy, and you don't love me."
His eyes are huge as he stares up at me, blood dripping down his front. He looks absolutely delectable, so I decide to finish my meal, despite all the screaming. He tastes as good as he looked.
The house looks good, too, save the blood stains everywhere. That's okay. I'm sure someone will come and clean up the mess and sell the house to another family, to another meal.
I'm hungry already.