This is the first installment of a 12-part vampire story by Cassie Carnage titled “Addiction to the Abyss.” You can read Part 2 here: http://www.bloodywhisper.com/addicted-to-the-abyss-part-2-the-thing-in-the-barn/ Bloody and visceral, this weekly serial follows Jonah as his personality slowly erodes and he becomes nothing more than a feral, vampiric beast.
Jonah wakes up in a hotel, covered in blood, with no memory of how he got there, or why there’s a dead body in the bathtub.
A moment of clarity–a stray, lucid thought after what felt like years of static and noise.
How long has it been? Two days? A week? A month? Longer?
Don’t know. Not sure.
Where am I?
A tiled floor. A bathroom. It was dark in there, just the light from the TV flickering under the door. But it was enough for me to see that I was lying in a pool of sticky, cold blood.
“Jesus!” I back pedaled away.
My heart pounded.
I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.
I’m going to throw up. I’m gonna pop.
I lunged for the toilet and my head brushed against a cold, rigid hand. I froze, grimaced and swallowed, forcing the vomit back down to my stomach. The hand was attached to a body.
There was a body in the bathtub.
Slipping and sliding in the thick blood on the floor, I flicked on the light. The fluorescents clicked to life, buzzing and shedding stark light over everything. It hurt my eyes. Too bright. Too harsh. Didn’t like it. Wanted to smash them out…but didn’t.
I was afraid to look. I didn’t want to. But I did.
Turning slowly I saw it. The corpse.
It was a man. A naked man; ass up, face down, in the tub where I dumped him.
Wait…I dumped him there?
His arm hung over the side of the bathtub. The naked body all a tumble, like a rag doll.
There was a flash of an image in my head, a memory of tossing that man in there, and laughing.
He had stopped begging after I killed his girl and ate her.
They invited me to their hotel room for some fun. Joke’s on them. The only one that got off was me.
Blood still oozed from his neck. Huge chunks were ripped from his neck and shoulder. A flash of memory, of him screaming while I tore off his flesh with my teeth. Startled, I jerked away and slipped, falling and slamming my head against the porcelain sink. It cracked. My vision became stars in a sea of red. My heart thundered in my ears.
Shaking it off, I got to my feet. I stared when I saw the mirror above the sink.
I wasn’t there.
No reflection in the mirror. But, I was standing right there in front of it.
I am here, right?
I looked down at my chest. Blood on my shirt. My hands. My bare legs and ass. Everywhere.
Great. I’m naked from the waste down.
Must’ve been one hell of a party.
A dog growled. I could feel its hot rancid breath on my bare legs. I turned around before it could lunge at me and rip me to shreds.
There was no dog.
Confused, I backed slowly out of the bathroom, towards the bed. That’s when I realized something.
There was no TV lighting up the room. The TV screen was smashed. It was thrown against a wall, left a huge dent in it.
Where did that light come from then? Weird…
Through a crack in the window curtains I could see the electronic sign flashing red LEDs:
VACANCY. 1 room $80. Hourly rates. 75˚ F 1:30 a.m. Welcome to Texanville Tennessee. Breakfast Buffet.
That’s where the light was coming from. I could see the light from the sign, even in the closed bathroom. My eyes, they were sharper now, just like my teeth. I cut my tongue as I ran it over them. Razored incisors, a sharp knife’s edge on the rest. Not a smooth ridge anywhere. I liked it.
I remembered biting through flesh with them, so satisfying. Like crunching a lollipop after only sucking on it for a few minutes.
The dog growled again.
I looked around. There was no dog.
What was making that noise? Was that me?
There was a girl on the bed–16, 17, 18, maybe older. It was hard for me to tell. She was limp. Spread eagle. Something with sharp piranha teeth shredded the inside of her thighs. She bled out. Her arteries sprung a leak.
Her legs were plump juicy sausages. When my teeth cut into them, and broke open the skin with a satisfying pop. Blood spurted out in gushes until the pressure was gone, then it drizzled until it slowed to an ooze before stopping.
There were blood splatters on the walls, trailing down to puddle in the carpet. The blankets were strewn everywhere. I kicked them around, looking for my clothes.
I couldn’t get dressed like this though, I was filthy. Covered in drying blood. It was already crusting over in places, getting itchy.
I returned to the bathroom, shoved the rigid corpse to the back of the tub with a foot, and took a hot shower, cleaning off the thick chunks of clotted blood from my backside. It smelled delicious. Like a rump roast for Christmas dinner.
I dried off, tossed the towel over the corpse’s staring, blank eyes and went back out into the main room.
I needed to get dressed. Couldn’t go anywhere without clothes, or they’d arrest me.
I found a clean shirt, pulled it on, and started looking around for some pants.
“Pants. Pants. Pants.”
I found my jeans, and slipped them on. Shoved my feet into my shoes. Took the expensive pair of shades, the pack of Marlboro Reds and the Zippo with the cheesy eagle on it.
“Fucking Boy Scouts.”
I didn’t need a lot of light to see now, I could get away with wearing sunglasses in the dark. It was like wearing shades at high noon.
I slipped on the shades and lit up a cigarette. Tasted good. Shit, I felt good. Like I just took a hit of something.
Over the smell of smoke and hot burning paper, there was a sickly sweet odor. I wrinkled my nose. The meat was starting to rot where it lay in the bed and bathtub. It was time to leave, before someone else noticed the stench.
I found car keys next to the ashtray on the side table.
Didn’t matter if they were my keys or not. Because they were mine now.
I left, shutting out the rotting corpse smell behind me. Outside, the night reeked of car exhaust, chemical fertilizer, and sex. Two doors down a couple was getting hot and heavy. She was dripping wet. I could smell it.
Too bad I wasn’t hungry, or I would’ve joined them, had some more fun.
I hit the automatic unlock button on the fob remote. A car two spaces down lit up and the door locks clicked open. Cherry red Mustang. Tinted windows. Nice.
I got in.
Must be mine. Seat was right. So was the mirrors. The glove box had my map, some pens, more cigarettes, a couple cheap lighters, several folding pocket knives and a roll of duct tape.
The car’s engine purred like a cat in heat.
I pulled out of the parking lot and high tailed it out of there. No use waiting for someone to report it to the cops. The cops were trouble. They’d want explanations, words about things that I didn’t remember, if I even remembered how to say things in a way that they would understand.
Words were getting harder, but sometimes they were all right. Especially after I fed. Like now. But, in a day or so, they’d start leaving again. I wouldn’t have the words to think straight. After that, I’d black out and wake up confused, surrounded by more corpses, not remembering how I got there, or what I did.
Once the words left, it was just scents and sounds and tastes and feelings of rage and intense, orgasmic pleasure. Then sleep. Sometimes, I’d remember what I did during then. But that didn’t happen a lot.
I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about that, so I didn’t.
A few hours later I pulled over at a rest stop and checked the map. Last X was…I wasn’t sure.
“Gotta start dating these.”
I drew a new X on the map, then studied it. A row of X’s marked where I had been, where I was when I woke up. In some places crude lines squiggled across the map in circles and loose un-closed squares written in a child’s hand.
They were all made by me.
It didn’t smell like anyone else had touched it. It smelled like ink, and dried blood, and fear and death. MY MAP.
It was the only thing that kept my memory for me.
When I first started roaming, I kept a journal? Diary? Something like that. It lasted until my first blackout. After I found it ripped to shreds and soaked in blood. Looked like it pissed me off so much that I wanted it to die, so I killed it.
Where have I been? Where was I going?
There were X’s in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Indiana (where I was now), and somehow, there were also X’s in Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.
“Must’ve flown there.”
Did I fly? Could I get on an airplane now? How did I pull that off? Red-eye express? Did I crawl in the plane’s cargo hold when no one was looking, did I pack myself in a box and mail myself to the other side of the country?
Don’t know. Not sure.
But, it must’ve happened. Because the X’s are there.
I noted that I needed to get gas soon, and kept on driving until I saw the sign for the truck stop. That was an easy set of words to remember. Truck. Stop. Simple. A child could read it.
Has my mind become that of a child’s?
Don’t know. Not sure.
Does it matter?
What the…what is wrong with me? Of course it matters!
Words were important. That much I knew. They’re what people use to communicate. They’re what I used to use, a lot, before IT happened.
Ever since then, I haven’t been a person. Not really.
I’m no longer human. I can’t feel my heart beating in my chest. I’m cold all the time. I only get warm after I feed. Then I feel golden, hot molten fire inside, higher than a kite. It’s addicting.
Killing and feeding were my drugs now.
Did I do drugs before? I think I did, but I didn’t know for sure.
Shit. I don’t know.
I don’t remember.
I don’t know who I am.
Where am I going? What am I doing? Why does it hurt so much to try to remember?
Panic swallowed me whole; my breath shallow, stomach nauseous, head dizzy. The car swerved. I had stopped steering. Needed to get off the road.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!”
I pulled into the truck stop. Parked the car. Gripped the steering wheel until I calmed down.
Panic happened a lot. More so now. Now I that I knew that I could remember some things, but not everything. And not all the time.
It was terrifying.
I was losing myself.
More and more. Every time…THAT happened.
Every time I blacked out, I lost something. I couldn’t remember my own name. I knew that I was a man, and that I was (am?) young, or at least I looked it because that’s what the food told me before I lured them out to a quiet space and ate them.
I didn’t like to share my food. Didn’t want to.
Different people’s blood tasted differently, depending on the drugs, the alcohol, the blood type. Like wine vintages.
That made me laugh.
People are like wine. Pop off the cork and chug the blood down.
I filled up the gas tank, threw a wad of money at the kid running the gas station register and left without a word. He was standing there, staring at me. A trapped rabbit. I forgot to tell him to keep the change until I got back into the car and drove off. Oh well. Maybe I would remember next time.
After a few hours of driving, just before the sky started to grow light with the coming dawn, I could feel the sun rising like an invisible weight pressing down on my body. It was the same feeling that a deer had when a predator sat in the forest, staring at it. Waiting for it to move a little further away from its herd, and into its hungry jaws.
The sun hurt. I knew that. I remembered that. Took only once for that lesson to stick. Even when I stopped thinking clearly, I knew that I had to get out of the sun or I would burn like a human candle. Poof! Up I’d go in thick, black, choking smoke and crackling fire.
The rising sun made me nervous. My knee bounced. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. I got off the highway and drove until I found a nice secluded dirt road. I parked the car on the side, under the thick shade of leafy trees.
I locked the doors, pulled the back seat forward and crawled into the trunk.
arms like lead
I didn’t want to pass out. I didn’t want to forget.
But, the darkness was calling to me, begging me to join it.
“Jonah. Come. Rest. Sleep,” it whispered in a voice like shards of broken glass.
I sighed, closed my eyes, and took a step further down into the abyss.