My story began one morning when I woke up in a ditch off some rural interstate, naked. I was confused and didn’t exactly know where I was. The only thing I did know was that freezing cold and so were my nuts. It was almost fall and you could see some of the leaves beginning to turn, but the trees were still mostly green with summer. I got up from the prickling grass and walked toward the gas station on the other side. I was dirty and smelled very damp, like I had been swimming in mud. Curled up with my arms folded I walked upon the interstate, making sure I looked both ways for absolutely nothing. When I made it across and entered the station I was welcomed by just as confused eyes like mine. A single person stood in the store alone behind his cash register. We both took a moment to examine each other. I then felt a rumble in my stomach. I was hungry, really hungry, but for something sweet.
I asked the man if he had any O’Henry Bars or Smarties. He looked at me with the strangest look a man could give and told me no, he didn’t think so. I was a little baffled. What gas station doesn’t sell Smarties? I asked him for another candy bar that he might have been familiar with, it was but another failure. He then asked me if I wanted M&Ms or a Snickers bar but I wasn’t hungry for any of that American candy. It suddenly hit me, “Where am I?” I asked.
“Why, you’re in no man’s land!” he laughed abruptly at his own joke. “Oh, you’re serious, you’re in Colorado mister.” America! I couldn’t believe it, how could I have ended up in America? What happened to me? I was in shock. “Do you need anything else, we got pants in the back.”
“No, I’ll be fine just having a rough morning.”
“Hey it happens, I’ve had those too” I stood for another moment and walked out the store. I sat on the side of the interstate holding out my thumb for a potential ride. For hours I stood, waiting but no car came to my rescue. IT was late at night when the cashier came out and offered me a ride, I willingly accepted. I was very tired and thought it would be a good idea to rest my head for the long journey back. “Hey, you haven’t even told me where to go, mister!” I was too tired for his yelling but knew it was ridiculous of me not to tell him where to go.
“I’m from Toronto, how far is that from here?”
“Toronto? Golly mister you sure do live a distance! I’ll help you out though; I got nothin’ better to do.” He said excitingly. “Hey, you never told me your name, what’s your name?”
“The name’s Dave.”
“Yeah, Dave, what you’ve never seen a Dave before?” I said jokingly to him, but the look on his face seemed more focused than usual.
“I just thought you’d have more of Canadian name than Dave.” This guy was not afraid to hide his stupidity, but he was nice and I was thankful for him. He even handed me his old dirty overalls he had in the back of his pickup to wear. We drove for a couple of days toward Toronto; we would have gotten there faster if Jack, which was the cashier’s name, would not stop every five miles to take pictures of the clouds. He really loved clouds. On our first night together driving, we stopped at a Starbucks late at night for some donuts and coffee. I didn’t get anything and when I asked why by Jack, I told him because Tim Horton’s is better. He asked me who Tim Horton is, and all I could do was sigh and take up his generous offer to pay for coffee. The second night became most memorable when a radio host started talking about how all these politicians and voters want to get rid of the Lector Acts. These Acts were a compilation of multiple laws passed that allowed the amputation and donation of useless limbs to cannibals. It was adopted after the U.K.’s cannibal policy, that the body part of a human may be consumed if there is consent without death. It all began because of the Steinberg v. Michigan case a couple of years ago. “Hey, can I ask you something?”
“Yeah, sure, you’re giving me a ride home a thousand miles away, ask me whatever you want.”
“Well, you been hearing about all them cannibals around there in Michigan?” he said with an off seriousness like before. I looked down for a moment and took a deep breath.
“Yes, I have,” I said worryingly. I looked out the window to see the trees pass by. There were still no cars in sight. The smell of pine air freshener made the scenery even more peaceful and real though. I turned to him, I had to know and I had to speak up. “Why do you ask?”
“I just think it’s so cool that there are living vampires among us, you know!” Hearing that set off a switch, a switch that had never been flicked, but waited patiently for the right moment to be put to use.
“We’re not vampires!” I yelled, full of anger and resentment. I’m a cannibal as well and for many years I’ve been called that until at that very moment in time I couldn’t take it anymore. He looked at me, his eyes wider than a truck’s tire. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to blow up. Please don’t think I’m going to eat you or anything.” I knew I had probably used up the last of his hospitality and could feel an awkward, unwanted chill brush against my spine.
“No way! You’re kidding me, mister! Why didn’t you say something about it? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend, I take it back!” He was so full of energy and you could tell he was very sincere in his words. He made me feel like even more of jerk. After a few apologies and rest stop, I told him everything about me that had to deal with cannibals. I even told him how good human meat tastes and that it is a unique and wonderful flavor that many people will never know. Jack was invested in everything I talked about it was a really nice ride and new friendship. “You know I knew that Steinberg guy.”
“Now you’re messing with me.” I told him as if he really knew that guy. I soon realized he wasn’t joking. He had that seriousness in his face again. “How do you know him?”
“Oh well we use to work together, he got a bit skittish on the job and well we had to let him go.”
“We?” I said, wanting to know his past occupation. He turned to me and smiled. I didn’t get a single word out of him for the rest of the night.
When we arrived in Toronto we parted ways though I knew I might bump into him again because it turns out Jack is also a travel journalist and decided to stay in Toronto to write a new story he came up with on the trip.
I was finally home, finally back in my apartment and finally in clothes. At my laptop I posted a status on Facebook letting my friends know I was back from a strange trip to America. A message notification popped up and it was an invitation from my best buds Seth and Ronald, who were not cannibals, to go out to our favorite café for brunch. It was getting late and I had to refill my fridge with groceries but after a quick nap. It felt good to be in my bed, until a dark image played behind my eyes. It was foggy and very damp; you could feel the sweat of humidity weigh down your skin. I was running and yelling; what was I yelling? Before the sounds could be interpreted I awoke from my nap at seven-thirty in the morning. I was apparently more tired than I had thought.
Breakfast with the guys is always fun, there’s always something to talk about especially when they keep bringing up the fact that I’m thirty-one and single. They like to tease me about it, but when it comes down to it they understand and support me. It’s hard to form a causal relationship when you order human body parts through the mail and later eat them with pesto sauce and shredded mozzarella; it’s not my fault that’s how I was raised! I have even tried to date girls and even other cannibals but all I get our crazy extremists from the cult, Flesh Bound. I want someone normal who can put up with my obsession of intestine entrees and finger appetizers. God has shunned me enough; the last thing I would want is to die a single sinner.
On my way back I noticed a moving truck, I got out of my car to see what was really going on. It turned out my next door neighbors who I had come to know and love have moved out of their own home. I was in a bit of a shock and then as if ink was bleeding through paper I dozed off into a black space and could see myself running again. This time I could see the outline of trees and shine of wet leaves on the ground. While yelling I tripped in mud. What was I yelling?
“Hello there!” A deep, booming but friendly voice shook me out of my daze of a day dream. I turned around to see a nice, humble-looking fellow Canadian with a tucked-in, button up and a thick Mario mustache. His family was behind him unloading the trucks with the help of the movers.
“The name is Mr. Fillet, Fred Fillet, but you can just call me Mr. Fillet,” he said with an almost punishable if not called so, stare. He shook my hand with great assurance. He was in a way applying his dominance of me. I didn’t really care but I went along with the greeting. I told him my name and asked him what’s with all the trucks. He told me it was just one big coincidence and that this was a nice neighborhood. Something was really off about him but I had to hurry up and feed my genie pig, Delores so we parted ways.
During the afternoon before the sun had completely fallen, I began to have my wandering eyes again, I couldn’t focus at all. I was also pretty hungry so I opened the fridge and took out the packet of hands I ordered last Sunday. Still fresh- that’s another thing-human meat preserves pretty well when kept cold. I was going to make a palm pasta sauce for some good organic noodles my mother told me about, but before I could cut into the meat, I heard a scream-a horrible and terrifying scream. It came from my new neighbors place. I rushed over there to see what was happening. I banged the door furiously to make sure everyone was alright, and with a giant smile on his face, Mr. Fillet answered the door. “Welcome, Dave, how are you tonight?”
“I’m fine. I heard a scream, though, is everything okay over here?”
“Oh, it was just my wife; she’s been quite clumsy lately. She cut herself really deep. The ambulance is already on the way.” For some reason he just kept smiling, as though he had just gotten off of a roller coaster ride for the first time. He seemed a bit erratic, to say the least. I offered him my assistance but was refused by Mr. Fillet-not too big of a surprise. I walked back towards my house but instead collapsed to the ground face first. I felt mud all over my face, the darkness was blinding me to the point of outlines and refractions. I was running again and yelling but this time I could almost hear what I was yelling. It was one word. Was it “help?” Was I being chased? No, was I doing the chasing, was I calling out a name? Yes, it was a name, Sydney. I was chasing after someone named Sydney. I woke up on my front lawn with a few black ants in my hair. It was morning time, why did this keep happening? No one was around to see me lying on the grass or so I thought. Mr. Fillet was watering his plants and staring at me with such intent and focus. I got up and told him good morning like nothing happened and walked home.
After making my palm pasta I sat at my computer and searched on Facebook the name Sydney. Out of all two thousand friends, I only had one Sydney. Then I remembered who she was. She was my last date. We went camping and I told her I was a cannibal. I shouldn’t have told her, she wouldn’t have run. She either had run really far or I just got lost and woke up naked on the side of a highway somehow. No, because while I was running I was hit but by what? All these thoughts raced through my head until nothing but black consumed my desk and area. I must have fainted again.
I wish I had fainted, because when I awoke I was hanging, chained from hand to ceiling in some basement, and my head was bleeding from the back. A figure then walked down the stairs joined by many other figures. I was surrounded by blood red robed beings. “So you finally decided to remember, huh?” It was Mr. Fillet. “Dang, Mr. Froet, hit you harder than I thought, but he spoke very highly of you, very highly.” He walked closer towards me, I tried breaking free but it was useless. “Only Superman can break those chains buddy.”
“What about Captain Planet?” a mysterious voice coming down the steps. Mr. Fillet then froze and joined the other robed beings with his head down. I looked up and couldn’t believe who I was seeing. It was the leader of the Flesh Bound, the one who made me lose my memory, the one who turned cannibal for the hell of it: Jake.
“Jake?” I said weakly.
“Edgar Jake Froet, actually. I’m glad you didn’t forget about me. Oh, hey, I have to read to you the story I came up with here!”
Yes, it was definitely Jake from the gas station, but why? How could he be the number one anarchists toward the Lector Acts and leader of some of the most blood thirsty people in this country, and how did he find me in those woods? Why did he drag me down to Colorado? “Alright, so I can see you’re wondering why this is happening to you. It’s really simple. I’m also an unlicensed wild life preservationist and I saw you lost in the woods searching for someone or what we like to say here within Flesh Bound, food.”
He chuckled and lifted my head.
“I knew right then and there what you were, Dave- or I just assumed but was completely right in the end! I wanted you, Dave, for myself. I wanted you to be my new right hand man.” When he told me all that I had a realization that Jake might have be gay.
“I’m a bisexual man, Dave; you looked good out there in the woods that’s how you caught my attention.” Just as I had thought.
“Don’t get any ideas though; Mr. Fillet is my husband, in secret, don’t tell okay? Anyway I knew I hit you pretty hard and decided to create this whole situation so you could come to me in a moment like this and be convinced to join my little group.”
“What do you want now then?” I said as strong as I could. Jake stood up strong and full of confidence.
“I want you to join my army, Dave. We’re a dying breed and I need as many as I can get. It’s a war. People like us must win if we want to truly be free.” He unchained me. I hit the floor like a brick against concrete.
“What do you say?” All this for me to join his anarchist group of murders, I just wanted a normal life. So with all of my strength I pushed through Froet and Mr. Fillet up the stairs. I ran out of the house, lunging across the street, limping and crying to get free. In the corner of my eye, I could see Jake and his cult standing in front of Mr. Fillet’s home, watching me flee. Not every cannibal agreed with Froet and his ideas for a better future, a gruesome future and I was one of those many. I wanted to get away from this violent life, this taboo way of living, so I ran. I ran as fast and as far as I could, I ran past the safety of my home, my cozy neighborhood, the convenient Loblaws down the avenue. All the way into the woods, I ran, fading into the damp fog. Surrounded by dark outlines and fallen leaves, I kept running.