Sweet Tooth (1)
Janet Osmond stared around her, the packed nightclub bustling with strangers concerned only with superficial matters, like dancing with the most attractive woman they could lay their eager hands upon, or even getting the aforementioned woman back to their flat where they may have their wicked way with them. Janet wondered what she was doing here. She asked herself why was she spending an evening in a run-down, seedy, squalid club, where it was easier to purchase drugs than to buy a pint. The numerous people that rushed past her payed little attention to her, deeming her below their standards. Janet decided to leave the pokey nightclub, feeling that the longer she remained, the more she would degenerate until she were part of the teeming hordes that passed her by. She started to make her way out of the nightclub, anxiously weaving in and out of the busy people, avoiding contact wherever possible. She hurried her escape as she neared the exit, and in her rush she bumped into a tall, stocky man who happened to be clasping a glass of orange juice. The glass was nudged from his stern grip, and the juice cascaded onto his shirt, instantly soaking into the material. The giant's face reddened, the colour spreading until even the top of his shaven head boasted a proud display of beetroot. His cold, blue eyes widened and he lowered his head so that he was eye to eye with Janet. His brow furrowed as he began to voice his ferocious complaint.
'Do you have any idea how much this shirt cost?' The man whispered, the quiet gripe somehow carrying more menace than an infuriated scream. Janet, desperate to escape the sudden confrontation, reached into her trouser pocket and shoved a wad of five pound notes into the stranger's palm. The man's eyes registered shock, and he looked at the crinkled mass in his hand. Before he could count it all though, Janet had brushed past him and was at the exit.
Janet stepped out onto the High Street, and let out a sigh of relief. She rubbed her eyes free of premature tears and let out another sigh, but not one of relief. It was one of self-pity. Janet didn't understand why men never approached her in the nightclub. Every time Janet went there, she left the building feeling the same: lonely and rejected. Janet was not stunning, but she was by no means plain looking. She had a rather delicate face: a combination of a cute button nose, a sweet round chin and bright, observant eyes. Janet also had a fine figure of a body, a slim waist and stomach combined with slender and graceful legs. Her long, blonde hair hung from her dainty head like the powerful auora of an angel. Yet she never seemed to attract any men, no matter how lonely or desperate. But Kathy was always there for her. Kathy always cheered Janet up, no matter how depressed Janet was feeling. Kathy was Janets flatmate, and was everything to Janet. Kathy was a best friend, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with and someone to talk to. Their relationship had never gone beyond that. Their relationship was wholesome; pure and unblemished.
It seemed that tonight would be another night of shed tears on Kathy's jumper, the watery pain smearing on the soft, fragrant fabric. The smell always made her feel loved, it made her feel special. But she didn't feel so special right now. Standing in the Rington High Street on her own in the steady drizzle, pondering over her future with the opposite sex, Janet felt like she was not a human, Janet felt like she was part of a unique species, consisting of only one specimen: her. To Janet, it was the worst feeling in the world.
Janet then began to feel optimistic. She had to get home, for the sooner she got home then the sooner she would be comforted by Kathy. With these new thoughts in her mind, Janet turned around and strode through the slow downpour, her feet sloshing through the ever rising rainwater, hurrying to the bus stop. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts about Kathy that she didn't see the approaching man coming at her, his head bowed as if concentrating solely on the straightness of his walk. The impact of the collision seemed to surprise the man more than Janet, but when she bumped into him, his face lit up with a sly smile rather then a shocked expression.
'Whoops! I'm so sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going.' Janet blurted out, desperate to apologise.
'No, no, no. The fault was all mine. I was being ever so careless. What must you think of me!' The stranger explained. While the stranger carried on apologizing, Janet began to feel at ease. This man spoke so peacefully and convincingly that Janet soon became engulfed in his words, his soft voice soothing Janet's heart. 'Look, I'm sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going because my mother.......she.......passed away a few days ago. So I'm pretty distracted at the moment.'
'Jesus, I'm really sorry. Really, I am.'
'Thanks.' A warm smile lit up the stranger's face. 'My name's Daniel by the way.'
'I'm Janet.' Janet thrust her hand forward, and it was met by Daniel's, and they shook hands.
'Um.......seeing as you look pretty soaked, I just wondered if you'd like to come back to my house, and I can get you dried, and you can have something to eat if you want.' Daniel offered. Janet considered the kind offer for a second and then broadly smiled.
'Yeah, sure. Thanks, that'd be really great.' She beamed. Janet stared at Daniel, studying his face to see if his expression was one of sincerity or not. Daniel had a thin, bony face. It was rough and stone-like, with skinny cheekbones that made his face even gaunter. His eyebrows were black and thick, giving him a permanent frown. His eyes were a light blue, and could either give him the appearance of being vey honest, or blank and emotionless. His hair was black, short and cropped, giving him an overall smart appearance. He seemed to mean well, and didn't appear very sinister, so Janet was confident that she could trust him.
Daniel led Janet to his car, a small yet proud Ford Fiesta, the body a deep green. Daniel courteously pushed his seat forwards and held the door open for Janet to slip in.
'Thanks' Janet gushed, blushing slightly at all the attention she was getting from Daniel. Janet sat down in her seat and fumbled in the darkness with the seatbelt, her hands scurrying rapidly to find the clip that the seatbelt buckled into. Finally she grasped it and secured herself in Daniel's Fiesta. The drive to Daniel's house, situated in a town just outside Rington called Horseham, seemed to take little time for Janet, as her mind was plagued by thoughts of what was going to happen in Daniel's house. Janet realised that she knew nothing about him, yet she was going back to his house. This man could be some rapist, or a serial killer. What with the way the world was like now, you could never be too careful. That was Janet's philosophy. Muggers, drug dealers, murderers and prostitutes everywhere you looked. The world was becoming a vile place, and Janet began to create suspicions in her mind, scaring herself with her paranoid delusions. Daniel might be planning to take her home and ravage her body, then dispose of it in a cruel and savage manner. Janet shook the silly thoughts from her head, and concentrated on acting especially nice to Daniel. She may have her own problems, but Daniel's problems exceeded hers substantially, and Janet recognised that.
'Well, here we are Janet.' Daniel's voice broke the silence, and Janet's train of thought.
'Oh thanks. I just can't wait to be dry again.' Janet responded enthusiastically. Then she felt her skirt clinging to her legs uncomfortably and realised that she had left a stain of moisture on the seat, so added. 'Damn. I'm really sorry, but I've left a mark on your seat from being wet. I'm so forgetful sometimes!'
'Hey, hey. Don't worry about it. I can clean my car later. You're my main concern at the moment.' Daniel said reassuringly, calming Janet's distraught nerves. Janet stared out of the window to her right, and was amazed by the house that stood before her. She was sure that it was Daniel's house because they were parked in a large field with scruffy, light green grass and patches of mud showing here and there, like miniscule bald patches showing through the head of a gargantuan man, and about fifty yards to the right of Janet was a single cottage, small and frail, yet remarkably beautiful. There were no other houses as far as Janet could see, and she felt privileged to be going into such a dainty house.
Janet saw Daniel open his door and set foot out onto the field, so she unbuckled her seatbelt and was surprised that Daniel didn't let her out with the courtesy that he had let her in with. He seemed to be worrying over something: he was staring into the distance with a blank gaze. Still, Janet thought, his mother had recently passed away.
'Daniel!' Janet cried. 'Is this your house?' she shouted whilst clambering out of the door. 'Yeah, this is it.' Daniel replied. 'Lets go in then, eh?' He continued. Janet and Daniel began to walk towards the house, Janet slightly ahead as Daniel had had to stop to lock the car.
As Janet neared the house she was stunned even further. The cottage was like something out of an ancient painting. The house was a heavenly white, clean and radiant. The windows were decorated with lavish black criss-crosses, weaving and interlocking over the glass like a loyal guardian, keeping any unwarranted visitors out and keeping the purity in. The roof was delicately thatched, the thin straw blades gracefully overlapping each other to create an exquisitely woven tapestry of dark yellow splendour. The cottage had an innocent and wholesome quality to it, and Janet smiled, basking in the beauty of it.
When they were both at the front door, solid and hefty with a metal number twenty-seven latched onto it, Daniel reached into his right trouser pocket and his hand emerged clasping a set of glittery silver and dull bronze keys. He flicked through the collection and then inserted a bronze key into the keyhole on the door. There was a loud, satisfying click and Daniel swung the door inwards, the rusty hinges moaning and making the door move slowly. When the gap was wide enough for them to fit through, Daniel and Janet stepped into the luxurious house. Janet had expected the inside to be fairly nice, but it was magnificent! The carpet she laid her feet upon was plush and dense; a jungle of soft fabric. The wallpaper covering the hallway walls was a lagoon blue; deep and soulful. The stairs ahead of her, and slightly to the right, were dark brown wood; they had a mysterious air to them. She guessed that the room at the end of the hallway was the kitchen; its worksurface also a lush tanned colour. A click behind her disturbed her inspection, and she whirled to see Daniel locking the door. He turned and smiled at her, then knelt down and drew the bolt across the door into its latch, the metal screeching as it ground against the latch. A nervous smile wavered across Janet's face, and Daniel noticed it.
'It's just to stop people from breaking in. You wouldn't believe the amount of times I've had smashed windows, or kids have tried to break in through the front door.' Daniel explained.
'Really? Jesus, that's awful. I mean,you pay your taxes and you go to work. You don't deserve to have your property vandalized. You just don't need it.'
'I know, tell me about it. Sometimes I'm tempted to buy a gun or something, and when one of the little bastards tries to break in, I can scare him off. Of course, if he tried to attack me then I'd be forced to use it. I don't really want to have to, but a situation like that would give me no choice.'
'Yeah, I can understand.'
'I'm gonna go fix us something to eat, you can go through into the living room and pop the TV on if you want.'
With that, Daniel brushed past Janet and walked through into the kitchen. Janet saw that on the wall to her left there were two doors. The nearest one was fully open and she could see that it was the lounge. There were two sofas that she could see, they appeared to black leather. Very expensive. But what was behind the other door? Janet guessed that it would be a broom cupboard for putting coats and shoes in, as the door was about fifty centimetres smaller than the lounge door and there was no coat rack nearby, nor were there any shoes littered about the hallway floor. Janet stepped towards the unknown room and weakly gripped the handle. She pulled the door towards her and when she saw what lay in the room she drew in a sharp breath, then screamed as loud as she could, penetrating the silence in the house.
Lying on the floor in this small cupboard was a limp carcass, one of a man. The flesh was very pale, and there were blue tinges on the lips and ears of the corpse, giving it a ghostly appearance. The fingers and toes would also have had a blue hue, but the hands and feet had been cut off somehow. There were scabbed, dry stumps where they had been removed and the gore had dried. The mans face was contorted in an expression of extreme agony. The eyes were wide open, taking in everything yet seeing nothing. The lips were drawn back over his gums, as if the man had been enraged when he had been slaughtered, and the teeth were turning yellow; the bacteria now running wild on his teeth with the body dead and immobile. Janet wondered why the eyes were wide open, then saw that the eyelids had been hacked off,small remnants of the shredded skin hanging over the eyes like discarded confetti. Such a thing to see in one second was a huge shock for Janet, and she stiffened, momentarily paralysed. Suddenly a shoe that the mans head had been propped up against shifted under the pressure, and the cadaver's head lolled back, slowly and horribly. Then Janet could see a gaping hole in the man's neck. A cavernous wound leading deep into the man, almost as if the throat had been cut, then large dollops of sticky flesh messily scooped out. This sudden movement shook Janet back into the cold, brutal reality, and no longer mesmerised but the horror of the situation, she drew in a deep breath. That was when the scream escaped her lungs and shocked Daniel into dropping the cake he had fetched from the larder, spraying icing and sponge onto the tiled floor.
When all the air had been expelled from Janet's lungs, her first thought was that she had to get out of the cottage, with it's foul cupboard of death, and the bitter, haggard corpse. Janet rushed quickly stepped backwards and bolted to the front door on her left. She hurriedly pushed the latch down to unlock the door. Then she pulled the door towards her, but it didn't budge. Janet was still alone in the house with this sick man., and she couldn't bear to be in this place of unspeakable evil anymore. Each moment longer Janet remained in the house, she felt more corrupted. Janet's mind was then haunted by an image of Daniel sliding the bolt across the door. Not only keeping any unwanted visitors out, but keeping any escapees in. Janet knelt down to undo the bolt, and the very second her fingers curled around the handle of the bolt, the apprehension rising inside her like a dank mould, a stern hand roughly gripped her shoulder. Janet violently shook it off and whirled around, only to find that Daniel was crouched down in front of her, a maniacal grin spread across his cold face and a meat cleaver in his right hand. Janet was too petrified to try and run, and she didn't even flinch when he brought his face close to hers, his penetrating blue eyes staring into hers, and uttered to her
'I've got a surprise for you.' The grin spreading across his jagged features.
'Janet! Janet! Are you here Janet?' The voice echoed round the flat, shrill and breaking the consuming silence. Kathy Mammet appeared in the doorway of her bedroom, crying out into the rest of the flat, the voice hopeful and concerned. Janet hadn't come back last night when she went to the club, and Kathy had even gone and searched for her at the nightclub, but it was to no avail. Nobody had noticed the pretty little thing lurking selfconsciously in the background. Kathy was worried about Janet, Janet had never done anything like this before. Janet was trustworthy and reliable. If she didn't come back when she said she was going to be back, then something was seriously wrong. A tear sprung to Kathy's eye as she thought of all the memories she shared with Janet. All the good times and hardships that they had gone through together.
Kathy exploded with a sudden snigger as she remembered the time that her and Janet had been the victim of an immature prank in the cinema; some insiduous teenage hoodlums had been flinging tiny pieces of popcorn at them from the back, while the two friends were intent on watching Shakespeare In Love in peace. The two girls quietly plotted on a scheme of retaliation, and at the end of the film they swanned up the aisle and emptied three large buckets of popcorn all over them, then coated the gang in an ocean of coca-cola.
A sorrowful tear was brushed away when the image of Kathy and Janet sobbing at the end of Gladiator crept slowly into Kathy's mind.
Kathy sniffed painfully whilst recapping on all the highs and lows that their friendship had seen. She just couldn't stand to lose Janet. She was probably just overreacting, but she felt deeply worried over Janet and was probably being extremely paranoid. Kathy was already thinking that Janet had died, and was working herself up into a fit of hysteria. After a few seconds of panicky, laboured breathing, Kathy managed to scrape together vestiges of self-control, and her breathing became regulated once again. Wherever Janet was, Kathy was sure that she must be okay.
Suddenly a smile found its way onto Kathy's face, giving her face a whole new appearance, a transformation that refreshed Kathy's mentality. Kathy realized that she could go out and find Janet; all was not lost. Their friendship had persevered through everything that had been thrown at it, so why should it end now. All Kathy needed was some determination and she would be with Janet again.
Kathy grabbed her brown leather jacker from the coatpeg, slipped into her size seven and a half high heels, hurried out of her room and down the wide stairs ahead of her. She looked at the hallway mirror to her left and offered herself a wan smile before opening her front door and stepping out into the street.
'You're a cannibal?' Janet uttered, taken aback for a second, her senses reeling with the shock of Daniel's statement. Daniel simply stared back at Janet, a wide grin spread across his face, eyes bright with excitement. He nodded enthusiastically in agreement, a small raspy chuckle emanating from his lips. 'What the fuck are you talking about?' Janet said, disbelieving.
'I'm a cannibal.' Daniel repeated, his voice plain and cold. 'I eat people. I eat them all up.' Having said this, Daniel slowly and pleasureably ran his tongue along his top lip, eyes slowly closing due to the false pleasure. Janet squirmed in the chair, the thick rope binding her hands rough and chafing. Daniel's expression changed from one of playfulness to seriousness. 'Well, strictly speaking I don't eat them all up. I only eat the hands, feet and other, how shall I put it, delicacies. I avoid the meaty parts of the body; the legs, arms and belly. They're pretty much all fat, and fat just tastes nasty, don't you agree?'
'Fuck off' Janet replied harshly.
'My, my. Aren't we feeling touchy today?' Daniel mocked.
'Go fuck yourself, you sick fuck' Janet icily said.
'What's the matter? Don't you like me anymore? I thought we were friends.' Daniel sarcastically joked.
'What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you a fucking retard or something? What do you mean you're a cannibal?' Janet questioned, tears of hysteria now forming in her eyes.
'Look, I'm being serious here. I eat people. The people you see running round to their offices, scurrying to their nests like foolish insects. And you know what happens to insects right?'
Daniel smashed a closed fist against the palm of his hand, the loud clap causing Janet to bolt in her seat. Daniel then continued with his speech.
'Look, cannibalism's got a really bad image. People associate the word with huge disgusting men, butchering their victims whilst ravenously drooling. It's not really the case though. For a start, nature is full of cannibalism. Female tarantulas eat their mates after sex, and praying mantis' do the same. It's what evolution is all about Janet. Survival of the fittest. Eliminate the weak and you have a better chance of getting what you want in life. If we remove all the weak people in the world, then we can create a race of strong humans. Plus, it's such an abundant source of food. Why live in hunger and poverty when food is all around you. Overpopulation's decreased through cannibalism, and that gives a better quality of life to all peoples of the world. In short, cannibalism is the answer to some of the world's major problems, and provides a good, cheap source of food.'
'But why, Daniel? Why do you do this?' Janet asked, tears now flowing freely down her face and cascading from her chin onto her lap, where they formed a small puddle.
'Oh please, I can't keep this pretence up anymore. Look, my name's Steve. Not Daniel. I just like to use a different name when I pick people up, 'cos it makes it seem...............easier. Like it isn't really me who's picking these people up that I'm gonna eat. It's someone else, doing it through my body. It helps me sleep at night.'
'Well, well fucking good for you, you psychopath. I'm so glad you can sleep at night. Now you're gonna eat me, and you expect me to feel sorry for you, or understand why you do this?' Janet gasped, the constant weeping making it hard to talk fluently, the thought that Janet could be inside this madmans stomach anytime soon running wild through her mind.
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Copyright © 2002 Adam Brelsford