Note: references to grief, death and eating. Also, this is honestly not my best. Better Halloween erotica is available on the blog tag.
I feed off your dreams. You knew that, right? But did you know that each dream tastes different? The happy ones are bland and shining. Joy tastes like ashes in my mouth – the bad dreams are where it’s at. The giant spiders chasing you through Covent Garden. Infinite, unwakeable scenes of drowning. Delicious.
When you were a child, you used to dream of losing your parents. That richness of that was sustaining. I used to nurture that one by whispering to you while you slept: using one of my many mouths to tell you tales of loss and loneliness while you slumbered. Enhancing the flavour of your torment with stories spiced with infinite sadness. Hearing you moan and weep, my bellies would rumble, and I’d stick out one of my tongues to catch fat droplets of your misery.
The more personal the horror, the more delicious the dream, so I’d nurture those specific horrors.
The way you speak is embarrassing. There! Another morsel of pain.
You once hurt someone you care about so badly that they’ll never forgive you. And they no longer trust you enough to tell you exactly why. Mmm.
Of all her children, your mother loves you the least. Yummy.
When you toss and turn and murmur in the night, I’m slurping down the sepia-toned images that your brain spits out. Gulping down throatfuls of tasty torment. Biting off chunks of your angst.
Why have I never shown myself to you, then? Why do you never see my tangle of limbs? My scales and feathers and these lovely teeth? Why, if I want to nurture your fear, have I never shown you all my pretty eyes? So many of them! Humans hate eyes. They can handle two, at most, but they have no stomach for more. And I am blessed with so many! All the better to watch as the wisps of your dreams float free from your head, then reach out with a paw – a tentacle? A bone? I don’t know what you’d call it, you decide – and snatch that dream towards me, yanking it into the darkness so I can devour it with one of these mouths.
The answer is that these fears – spiders, monsters, heights, drowning – they’re mere popcorn when compared to the nutritious feast that your brain spits out when you’re truly terrified. The fear that you will one day be utterly alone. The self-disgust that underlies everything you do, uncertain whether your friends secretly pity you – murmuring behind their backs about how foolish you are. The horror that those who love you are only pretending. These are the steak and potatoes on which I grow up big and strong.
Let me tell you something I’ve been bursting to reveal. Sssh, don’t wake up. Sleep on, sleep on, sleep on, let this seep deeply into your dreams… I’ve been waiting a long time to tell you this.
The person you love most in the whole world? They do not love you at all!
Now we’re talking. Now we’re cooking. Toss and turn and toss and turn and let me reach out a limb to snatch at this starter. Mmm yeah. That is good.
That human who sometimes joins you here in bed, to whisper compliments and jokes and filthy things before the nighttime takes you and I start my supper? They do not love you.
The first time that human joined you here, I was starving. It had been a long time since your brain spat out the kind of honest horrors that might properly sate me. You tumbled into bed with a gruel-like splattering of laughter, tearing clothes and kissing wetly and whispering “may I…?” and then grunting, panting, befouling the sheets above this place where I live with rancid-tasting joy. It’s the happiness I can’t cope with. The frantic cries of ‘yes!’ and ‘fuck!’ as they plunged one of their pathetically-few extremities in and out of your laughably shallow crevices and holes. Gorged on the insipid flavours that lingered in the cracks of your writhing carcass, begging “more!” as if any person could ever be satisfied by whatever it is that you think you are.
The sparks in your eyes were rendered no less frustrating by how few eyes each of you have to go around.
You and that human, together, your dreams have often been unappetisingly peaceful. It’s like eating grass. Visions of warmth and comfort and sex and pleasure – like an endless salad of stomach-numbing tedium. No nourishment at all. Peace tastes more bitter the happier you are. During those first few months together with them, when you tumbled into bed each night above my glistening tentacles and sharp fur and these glorious claws, you would so often be giggling in a manner that heralded a very poor dinner for poor old me. And I am old, you must understand. I am personally quite young for my kind, though still a thousand times older than the history of your fragile species – but we’ll get to that.
Your revolting lust blossomed into love, and I was there every night. For every rotting-vomit-flavoured squeak and rumble of that bed. You couldn’t resist plunging into each other, smearing each other’s faces with grins and your bodies with whatever fluids you exude – sneaky of you, humans, for your fluids to be so pale, so clear. Those of us on this side of glory ooze only the brightest colours from our many, many holes.
I have lain beneath your bed – night after night, year after year – on my raw, rumbling belly as you fucked them. Listened with uncountable sharp ears as you squawked appalling noises into the night. I satisfied myself with mere morsels as you plundered each other for pleasure: dispensing glee-drenched dreams like so many sneezes into my face. Faces. Whatever. I was with you for that euphoric moment when you heard that human tell you they were in love – your dream that night was cardboard and dog shit and the fetid tang of ecstasy. The moment when you asked them for their hand (a lot to ask, as you only have a mere two each) in marriage. Your dream that night was a single, par-boiled sprout – noxious and disappointing. The meagre mouthfuls I could enjoy swallowing down only came from a residual fear that one day they might die and leave you here alone. Pathetic.
Over these decades I have made do with snatched morsels of misery through procreation and parenthood and redundancy and grief. The shock of learning to care for aging parents – good dreams then – swiftly eclipsed by the gutpunch realisation that you were becoming them yourselves. Lovely. Not enough though. I’ve scrounged these snacks of sorrow from all the nonsense ephemera that you mistakenly believed made up your life. All that while I was fattening you for harvest.
Well it’s harvest festival now, baby. The time has come. With the paper-thin skin on your face still crusted with tears from weeping over the death of the human you believe you spent your life with. It’s time for me to eat you out of your misery. It’s time for you to dream the final dream: to learn the truth.
Go on, now: try to wake up. Oooh, delicious! You can’t wake up, can you?
Panic! Mmm. Struggle! Yes! Try to open your meagre two eyes! Try as hard as you can, my dear, the more you struggle the richer your pain. Mmm yes.
You’re still trying to believe that this part’s the bit that’s a dream. There’s no such thing as monsters, there’s nothing under your bed. You are so richly wrong I can taste it like spiced mulled wine!
Here’s the truth: there are only monsters. There is only this bed. There is just you, and this bed, and me hunched beneath it, feeding you the delusions that brought you to this day.
That human you love? The one you’ve nurtured for all these years, pouring desire and compassion and care and words and fluids into and onto in the hope that you can cling together in whatever darkness might come next? That human does not love you. They never loved you. They couldn’t love you because they never were.
I made them up!
There are only monsters.
There are only my many eyes and my limbs and my roaring hunger. You are the crop that I tend and grow and nibble away at gently until it’s time to harvest.
Dream. Fear. Panic. Let me open all of my jaws and gulp down each rich, fatty morsel as you finally embrace the knowledge that I’ve been scratching into the back of every nightmare you’ve ever had: that human never loved you, and no one has ever loved you. No one you’ve ever loved has even existed.
Keep dreaming. Scream for me, that’s it. Nourish me. Understand that loneliness is not just a nightmare, it’s the truth. A truth so full and rich that it can sustain a monster ten thousand times older than you imagine your species to be.
Besides my good self, you’re the only person you have ever met that ever lived.
Your horror is delicious like the sound of a dying star. It tastes sweeter than the ringing chasm between worlds! Rich as the combined agony of a thousand civilisations. Oh yes, god, that’s so good. Who’d have thought that all it took to make the dreams of such a simple life-form taste so sweet would be the knowledge that every similar being to ever come to life will one day experience loneliness beyond your mortal comprehension!
That’s good, that tastes so good. And if you find consolation in the belief that at least this nightmare will end, take horror in the fact that it won’t. Your physical self will be recycled, the delusions reloaded and nurtured once more, and this delicious torment will be fattened up again, ready to be harvested in your next life, and the next, and the next.
My appetite is infinite. And so, my dear, are you.