Feeding

Trish roused from a deep sleep, her body lethargic, heavy, and so, so tired. She wanted to roll to her other side off her aching hip and fall back into blissful unconsciousness but couldn’t summon the energy to do so. As she was slipping back beneath the veil of sleep, her full-to-bursting bladder spasmed—shouldn’t have drunk that fourth Margarita.

With a sigh, she threw back the covers and made her way to the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet, Trish became aware of a bone-deep aching in the muscles of her arms and legs, the weighty feel of them. She’d have to make an appointment with Dr. Lane soon if whatever was going on with her body didn’t improve. It didn’t seem right having perpetually sore, tired muscles when she sat at a desk all day. And it was interfering with her life. Last night, she hadn’t danced—hadn’t for a long time—when she and Logan met for drinks at Yancey’s Bar and Grill. She was always too tired for that anymore.

She flushed, returned to her warm bed, and was asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

And came awake with a start.

What the…

Trish felt things, some things, crawling over her scalp, her arms and legs, and even something wriggling inside her vagina. Screeching, she sat up, reached for the lamp, clicked it on.

Her screech turned into a wail of terror when she saw numerous thin wires piercing her body (in places, through her short gown), and she tracked the wires upward where they met in the center of the ceiling fan and disappeared inside.

Her heart hammered; her breath came in shallow gasps. What-what-what! In a blind panic, she batted at the wires as if they were circling wasps, dislodging some of their needle fangs from her skin. Ohmygod! She scrambled from the bed, and knees buckling, fell to the floor.

A myriad of tiny somethings tugged at her scalp, and waving her arms above her head—shoo! shoo away!—Trish encountered a large cluster of filaments springing from her head like a halo of static-charged hair.

She wrapped them in a fist, yanked hard. “Eeeeeee!” screaming as the mess turned loose. She looked at the bundle of thread-like wires in her hand. Each had a tiny droplet of blood on its end. She raised her eyes to the sight of more thin wires dancing a jig in the air above her bed.

“Oh, my….” she mumbled.

#

Trish woke to the guitar riff alarm of her phone, and to sunlight streaming through the half-open blinds, painting golden stripes upon her bed. And as she stumbled into the bathroom to rid her body of the rest of last night’s Margaritas, she recalled something about wires, bunches and bunches of wires…hissing, dancing, stinging—a dream—remembered the terrible fright—a bad, horribly bad, dream.

She took a quick shower and, feeling somewhat revived, gulped three cups of coffee liberally laced with sugar and half-and-half while cooking a breakfast of four fried eggs, eight strips of thick, fatty bacon, and four pieces of heavily buttered toast. On her way to work, she drank a large, insulated mug of coffee and munched on a couple of granola bars, glad it was Friday so she could catch up on her rest over the weekend. She didn’t think she’d even leave her apartment, just laze around in her pajamas and sleep. And eat.

A niggling thought entered her mind: It didn’t use to be this way, did it—me and everyone I know always tired, always hungry, always anxious to get home and go to bed? Something’s changed…I think.

#

Except for bathroom breaks, she sat at her desk at Parkland Medical entering data until first break. For those twenty minutes, she sat with her friends in the cafeteria, drinking more coffee and gorging on donuts, then it was back to her desk.

By noon, her stomach was grumbling loudly. She and Logan went to the pizzeria three blocks down from the medical center, where they shared six assorted pizzas and two pitchers of beer—had to go light on it, the workday wasn’t over—then back to work for three more hours.

#

She met Logan at Yancey’s after work, famished and almost faint with hunger. Both ordered two Porterhouse steaks, salad, every side on the menu, and polished off so many baskets of rolls they lost count.

But hey, who was counting? Everyone in the bar and grill was pigging out too, even the staff who seemed to be continually sipping or nibbling on something.

Trish thought how wonderful it was to eat as much as you wanted and never gain an ounce. Since she’d started taking the new drug that had hit the market six months ago, she’d lost weight, as had everyone, even those whose weight was within the normal range to begin with. All the insurance companies covered Lowesta for anyone who requested it, which Trish thought a bit odd, but you didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when you were fat, which Trish had been, along with three-fourths of the U. S. population. Those who weren’t overweight were happy to take the drug so they could eat anything and as much as they pleased without packing on the pounds. And the drug was perfectly safe, with no side effects, according to all the scientists who knew such things.

After she and Logan had consumed every bit of food down to the crumbs in the roll basket, Trish felt almost as if she were high. And right then, she didn’t feel too terribly tired. Two Margaritas later, Trish was flying even higher. “Want to dance?” she asked Logan.

“I’m sort of pooped, but I think I can manage one or two,” he answered, then drained his glass, his brown eyes sparkling over its salty rim. “Let’s do it.”

Holding hands, they threaded their way through the tables to the open area in front of the band. A few other couples were dancing, but not many; most were too busy eating.

The band was playing a slow number—seemed like that’s all they played anymore—and Trish slipped her arms around Logan’s neck. He placed his hands on Trish’s hips and pulled her close. The pressure of his body against hers caused a faint stirring, and when Logan leaned in and kissed her, his tongue swirling inside her mouth, she felt a sharp stab of desire. It felt good…the desiring. It had been a long time since she’d wanted anything but food.

The two twenty-somethings, both friends and occasional lovers, swayed to the music, bodies pressed together. They didn’t make it through the second dance. Equally tired and turned on, they purchased two giant Margarita to-go cups and hailed a cab. They drank and made out on the way to Logan’s home, which was closest, paying no attention to the cabbie, who gobbled a triple-Mac and fries while watching in the rear-view mirror.

They fell onto Logan’s bed, and for the first time in months, made love.

#

Trish came awake to the feel of hands roaming her body. Her eyes flitted half-open. Silhouetted by the diffuse light coming from the bathroom, she saw black filaments whipping the air. She let out a startled squeak, tried to push Logan away, but couldn’t. And with rising horror, she realized hundreds of the silken wires bound her and Logan loosely together. Her friend’s face hovered over hers, eyes closed, lips parted, a string of drool hanging from the corner of his mouth. Wires sprouted from his head, undulating like skinny snakes.

And this time, Trish knew without a doubt that this was no dream: it was eerily, erotically real. “Logan…” she whispered. “Wh…what’s happening?”

No answer. Instead, Logan kneed apart her legs and entered her. The coils of wires tightened around their bodies, felt as if they were humming. The vibrations sent Trish over the edge, and she screamed her release, the sound muffled by the filaments crisscrossing her mouth.

And promptly fell asleep.

#

When Trish opened her eyes the following day, she remembered the night before—she and Logan making love. She stretched, smiled, looked over at her friend. And the smile died. Logan had dark circles beneath his eyes, and his skin was pasty white. A bluish tint colored his lips. Looks like me before coffee and a good breakfast.

Leaving Logan sleeping, Trish rolled out of bed, groaning when she stood on tired, spaghetti legs, and shambled to the bathroom. She shot a quick glance in the mirror, seeing the same haggard expression her friend wore—I’m not even thirty, I shouldn’t look this way…unless I’m sick…maybe…. She swallowed. Maybe cancer. But if I have it, so does Logan and…and everyone?

She forced the disturbing thoughts from her mind, peed, then made her way to the kitchen. On shaky legs, head pounding, and stomach grumbling, Trish plugged in the coffeemaker. Then she pulled eggs, sausage, butter, and orange juice from the refrigerator; pancake mix and syrup from the cabinet; and four bananas from the large bunch on the countertop, along with three avocados from the heaping basket beside them. She ripped open a bag of trail mix, stuffed a handful in her mouth, then started preparing breakfast.

While in the attic….

Two shimmery beings pulsing with rainbows of light contained in vaguely human forms were disengaging from a multitude of wiry filaments, their semi-bodies quivering in pleasure.

This species feels so much. Feeding on them is such a delight, almost an overload to the senses, one spoke into the other’s mind. It will be disappointing when it ends.

Nothing lasts forever, its companion said. Eventually, they will have no more to give, and we will move on.

A shame, though. I’m sure it will be eons before we find others as satisfying.

©2021 KT Workman


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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