JUST A MAN
By Toneye Eyenot
Someone’s walking over my grave. I can feel it in my bones. It’s causing me to wake and groan. It’s that time again. Fuck, I hate this so much. This terrible affliction that attacks me at my weakest moments and compels me to leave the solace of my bed, to prowl the darkened countryside in search of food. I don’t speak of the food of normal folk, but of the normal folk themselves. I’ve listened to the stories told in town by these normal folk of a day. Stories of the werebeast that terrorizes the stricken land. I know they speak of me and as I sit close by, listening to their fantastic tales of slaughter, I feel their pain…their fear and despair that sinks to the pit of my stomach, to fester and slowly spread through my being like a plague. Their stories fascinate and horrify me all at once. This is me. The monster. The abomination. I am no werebeast. I am just a man like every other man, tho at times such as now, that man who is me, is no longer me.
At any other time, I detest the smell of blood…the taste of meat, it sickens me. I don’t remember why or how things changed for me. I just woke up one night long ago, craving something new. Something fresh and living to be extinguished and devoured. My mind won’t allow it, but my primal urge insists and overrides my rationale. The tales of normal folk are always somewhat embellished, tho I don’t know why. The reality of it is so much more gruesome. They don’t see my conflicting thoughts as I carry out my deed. Nor do they hear my wails of sorrow and lament as I gorge on twitching, bloody flesh until I am full to bursting. They only see what has been left behind and draw their own fanciful conclusions. A morbid subject matter for their fear ridden gossip sessions in the café back in town where they congregate.
I have indulged in every kind. From the elderly goatherd to the goats he herded. From the doting new parents to the fruit of their loins. Dear gods, the taste of the newborn! So delicate, sweet and succulent, yet an aftertaste of self-disgust and loathing that strikes at my heart and sickens me to my very core. I cry for the souls of the normal folk every time I rise from my bed. If I could resist, I surely would. Am I possessed by something so sinister and depraved? Or is this just my true nature that has lay dormant throughout the early years of my life, only to emerge with devastating consequence? I am just a man. Just a man. I don’t grow hair and claws or bay at a big white ball in the night sky. Just a man like any other.
This night in particular will never be forgotten by the normal folk and will be spoken of with fear for generations to come. In my daily contemplations, I have tried to strengthen my resolve. I have tried with every ounce of my will to remain bed-ridden when the mood takes me, but to no avail. Alas, I am doomed to repeat until I am caught and most likely killed in a horribly sadistic manner for my crimes. I can’t keep doing this forever. No, I can’t keep doing this at all! Tonight is the night it all ends, both for me and for the normal folk. Oh, how I wish I was normal folk. Just a man. A man like any other.
Tonight, I will feast like never before. Eat myself to a horrible death by gluttonous excess, or be beaten to death by the terrorised and outraged normal folk. Tonight is the catholic feast of Saint Januarius and the entire town will be congregated in the cathedral to witness the “Miracle Of The Blood”. Their patron saint, Januarius’ blood is said to liquefy on this night. At this midnight vigil, the liquefied blood of many will spill upon the altar and across the pews. If I am lucky… If they are lucky, their god will strike me down before I make it across the threshold. Somehow, I doubt that though. If their god existed, how could one such as myself be allowed to exist? If there was a god, then would I not be normal folk? Just a man like any other?
I open my door and step purposefully out into the night. Just a man. My senses are heightened to a painful extreme, as my body takes me to mutual doom. The mournful sounds of the normal folk and their hymns reach my ears from afar, and the smell of their blood as it still courses through their living veins invades my nostrils and turns my vision to red, as I tell myself over and over… Just a man. A man like any other. This time, I don’t believe my mantra. I am a monster. I AM an abomination. My body is independent of my will…of my very soul. Breaking into a run, I long for this to be over. Tonight, it ends forever.
The cathedral stands looming ahead. The spires like silent sentinels. Terrible angels of Death, waiting to rend my soul from this tired body, as I advance towards the feast of Saint Januarius. Pushing open the doors, the hymnsong of the faithful near bowls me over back down the steps. What a morose and sullen din! The cool of the night air rushes in and turns the heads of a few in the rear of the house of worship. Their questioning eyes upon me, what is it that they see? Just a man. A man like any other. I close the doors and shut out the rest of the world, as more heads turn and the priest looks up from his holy book. With reverence and in deep regret for what I am bound to carry out, I genuflect and make the sign of the cross, before rising once again to my full stature. The place is filled to capacity. Not a pew unattended. How many will fall before my inevitable demise, I wonder? It doesn’t matter anymore. Tonight, it ends and as I take my final breath, I will once again be…Just a man.