Hunger kills. Hunger motivates. Hunger drives all else. It is the primal instinct to which we all yield.
I hear the approaching footsteps long before I see the light of the lantern. Who dares enter our realm? Who could seek death so brazenly? It is a boy – perhaps eighteen years in age.
I should fall upon him. I should open his chest while he still breathes and his heart still beats. Yet my desire to feed upon his flesh is overridden by something deeper. There is something familiar about him, something I cannot quite identify. He puts me in mind of…. No! Impossible!
The pig he carries distracts me. Sometimes hunger consumes logic.
What prompts this offering? He says not a word as he crouches down before me. I see no expression upon his face. I smell no fear. But I hear his heart. It beats quickly. It is the strong, powerful pulse of youth.
What does he want?
The pig starts to struggle in the boy’s arms. I want to tear its flesh. I want to spill its viscera upon the floor. I want to suck the marrow from its bones. The desire is almost overwhelming. But the boy holds me with his stare.
In the light of the lantern I see the flash of metal. He has brought a knife. Treachery is the way of those above. Father’s wisdom. I am prepared to eviscerate this intruder in an instant. I will eat him raw. I will eat him before I eat the pig.
“For you and your kin.” he says. My eyes go wide. I cannot be! I hardly process his message. It is the sound of his voice that so enthralls me. He speaks with father’s voice.
I watch as the boy puts a hand under the pigs head and wrenches it back. Without hesitation he slits the animal’s throat. I hear the hiss of blood pumping from the severed artery. It sprays both me and the boy. It is glorious.
The boy stands up and backs away. Watching me. Unafraid. The way father was unafraid.
“I will return.” the boy says. Of that I have no doubt. He needn’t have spoken the words for me to know the truth of it. His actions speak to it. And when he returns there will be many more of my brothers with me. Father may be gone. Father may be dead. But this boy speaks with Father’s voice. We will listen to what this boy has to say. And then we will come to a decision.
“Go.” my voice rasps. It echoes off the walls of the cave. I barely recognize the sound of my voice. I hear it so rarely. “I wish to eat.”
The boy nods. He turns and retreats into the darkness.