Eating Our Hearts Out

"If I'm sick of being a victim, but not cut out to be a hero, what does that make me?"

Scotty Matthews is an alcoholic- he’s used to waking up miles away from his university campus with no memories to explain where he was or who he was with. As he tries to recover from one night of drinking, though, he realises he doesn’t feel quite right. He has nightmares he can’t explain, sickness he can’t suppress, anger he can’t control, and- worst of all- hunger he can’t satisfy.

Scotty needs to know what happened to him that night, but he only has two leads- a neck wound that probably came from a broken bottle, and a vague image of a girl, taken from a dream and friends who aren’t sure what they saw. Scotty tries to convince himself she was just another drunk student at a party, but he’s soon forced to accept the far darker truth. Not only is she a monster- she’s turned him into a monster too.

And if he wants to get his symptoms under control, he’s going to need her help.

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Author's note

Hello!
This is a little trigger warning. "Eating Our Hearts Out" is a vampire story, but there isn't any sparkling or ballroom dancing, and the violence goes a HECK of a lot farther than a bit of vanilla stalking. This story is packed with blood, guts, violence, pitch-black humour and an unhealthy amount of cannibalism alongside themes of alcoholism and drug addiction. Also, both my protagonists make morally questionable decisions to say the least. If you're squeamish, proceed with caution. If none of that bothers you, then please have fun reading! Jem :)
AA

1. Glutton

She's got one hand on the dirty brick wall and the other pressed flat to her chest, even though her heart isn’t beating. There’s something comforting in the smell of the air—the way it makes her throat burn—but she never needs to take a breath of it. She watches the street from the mouth of the alleyway, waiting for a shadow to appear in the neon haze of fog — as she waits, the hunger hugs her, digging its claws into her mind.

Hurry up. She thinks. Hurry the hell up.

She looks over her shoulder as he runs his fingers down her spine. He smiles at her, so she smiles back.

“You ready?” she asks.

He presses his mouth. “Yeah.”

His hand comes to rest between her shoulder-blades, and she smiles to herself as he starts to play with her hair.

“Hold on,” she mutters. He hardens his touch as he hears the footsteps too. Then, he drops his arm back to his side.

Over the crest of the hill, a young woman appears, her ghostly outline solidifying as she leaves the fog. She’s hurrying, her hands rammed into the pockets of her oversized coat and the wind plucking strands up from her ponytail. As she gets closer, her face becomes visible—large dark eyes, thin lips, light brown skin soaking up the bronze of the streetlights.

“Is that her?” the girl asks, biting the inside of her cheek.

His reply from behind her is slow and deliberate. “Uh-huh. That’s her.”

She smiles to herself, drawing back from the mouth of the alley and retreating behind him. They’re sunk deep into the shadows, distorting the wall, but close on invisible. “Thank God.”

Three. The woman approaches the mouth and turns.

Two. She walks right past him.

One.

“Hi, Angie,” the girl says, stepping to block her path.

 “Hey. Are you… w—wait.” Angie speaks slowly, her words cut up and dragged out by confusion.

The girl says nothing, does nothing besides raising an eyebrow. Her head grows light with excitement as his shadow separates from the wall behind Angie and the shape of him grows, solid black against the soggy, pollution-rusted sky.

Angie tries to take another step, but the girl takes a step forwards, blocking her path. She widens her eyes and smiles a little, but the smile contorts into a grimace as her teeth crowd into place.

Angie whimpers like a puppy when she sees the teeth. She pulls one hand out of her pocket and turns to run, but he wraps his arm around her throat from behind. She yelps and howls and starts to struggle, but he’s strong and holds her fast. Then, he mumbles something into Angie’s ear—something that shuts up her screaming into utter silence—and looks up, locking his eyes with hers.

She nods.

He opens his mouth and rolls his jaw, restlessly licking at his gums as his broken-metal teeth puncture them. Angie screams once more as he spins her and stiffens as he sinks his teeth into her throat, rising onto her toes and raising her arms between them like she’s trying to push him away, but he’s already killed her.

He breaks away from her neck, thick lines of blood dripping from his mouth and covering his chin. He grabs her shirt as she starts to fold and bends to lower her to the ground.

The girl walks over and looks down at the dead woman, at the perfect halo of blood growing around her head.  Angie’s dark hair’s half-out of its ponytail from when he spun her, thrown sideways over her face like she’s caught in a gale. Her eyes are unfocused, one wide, one narrow, and that hand’s stuffed into that pocket like she still can’t bear to let go of whatever’s inside. The shock’s frozen on her face. In death, she looks like a bad drawing. The girl finds herself seized by an irrational bout of hatred that twists around the hunger in her head, turns it jagged, makes it crazy.

“Nice job,” she says. He doesn’t reply. He’s too busy staring intently at the sky, an absent smile wide on his face as he licks his lips clean.

She kneels down and lifts up one of Angie’s lifeless arms. God, it’s been so long since she last ate. Well, it’s been a week, but for a glutton like her, that’s a million years. She groans with relief as she bites down, feeling the hot liquid run down her throat. Her muscles loosen all at once and the clench in her stomach relaxes as it starts to fill her, making her sigh again, louder. A rivulet runs down her neck from the corner of her mouth, burning a thin line into her skin. The drinking gently pulls the thorns from her body, one by one, and knits up the gashes. It fills her up with gooey, molten warmth. She starts to pant harder.

He’s watching her. She can feel his gaze, hot on her face.

When she opens her eyes again, the world’s a different colour. The sky’s bright yellow; the streetlights drip pools of sunlight. The stars dance like fireflies. She doesn’t know why, but she wants to laugh. Loudly, and madly, and she wants it to arch up through the alleyway and spill out into the sky. Which is strange, because she’s not crazy.

He catches her eye as he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. They smile at one another.

Then, she brings the arm back to her mouth and grows all her teeth back. She opens her mouth wider, wider, till the hinge of her jaw pops and her chin lolls against her collarbones. She rolls her eyes back till everything goes dark and takes a bite. A real bite.

His gaze on her face burns hotter as she chews and swallows.

“What?” she says. Instinctively, she wipes the blood from her face with the back of her hand.

He shakes his head, but his gaze is bouncing between her and the arm. He’s still frightened of her, somewhere deep down. Right now, his eyes are almost round.

 “Oh, come on, love,” she says, not bothering to retract her teeth. They slur her words. “Eat. You don’t want to have to kill again before we leave the city, do you?”

He says nothing, but shakes his head again. Then, he picks up Angie’s other arm.

 

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