For those unfamiliar with Sade Smols, the small man I devoured, I insist you read his story before proceeding here. It’s not because I worry you won’t understand what I’m about to tell you, but rather because you need to know what kind of creature I am.
I am a monster. I am a murderer. A cannibal. A savage. And for those reasons, and many more, I decided to take my own life.
The decision to commit suicide is the most freeing experience I can identify. Once I was sure that would be my path, I felt better than I had in the months following my experience with Sade. Those months were devastating; a tumultuous whirlwind of depression and my unhealthy methods of mitigating it:
I ate a man. Do you think that might fuck up my approach to food? The morning I met Sade, I was 165 pounds. Now I’m barely a hundred. My diet is entirely liquid nowadays, but often is simply nothing. The sensation of chewing is too much to handle. I wake up during the night gasping, my dreams forcing me to experience, over and over again, the snapping of his hips between my front teeth and the taste of blood and shit as his intestines burst against my tongue and palate.
I’ll stand in line at the bank and imagine the splintering of Sade’s skull as it was pulped by my molars. It’s then, with the flavor of brain in my mouth, that I will hand a card with my address and a time to the bank security guard. Or to anyone like him.
When it comes to my promiscuity, I fuck every oversized man I can get my hands on. Or, more accurately, I get fucked by those men. Fat, tall, muscular, or any combination of the three; I want to feel as tiny and helpless as I made Sade feel. I make them fill every hole Sade had visited – either the two he was inside that morning or the one he exited the next day. I need their weight on me, thrusting manically and forcefully, like they’re fucking me into the ground. Fucking me into my grave.
As for self injury – there’s no direct causal relationship between that and what I did to Sade. No, that’s just for me. That’s my little present to myself. My dessert after a long day of starvation and being used. I’ll draw a warm bath, strip, and slip inside. A small cocoon for an increasingly-small woman. I’ll rest my head against the back of the tub, take a razor, and make small, deep slits on the bottoms of my feet and in my armpits. It hurts. Sometimes unbearably. But afterward, as the water shifts from clear to pink, the adrenaline kicks in. Pain remains, but it’s shrouded in a sense of accomplishment. I’ll draw my legs up to my chest and begin to clot as I stare mindlessly at the swirls and eddies the movement of my body makes in the warm water. And that’s where I was, last night, when I met Emmy Smols.
“Danielle,” came the voice. My eyes snapped to my left. Standing on the edge of the sink was a woman. She was barely four inches tall.
I didn’t move. I’d hoped I would never see another one of the tiny people Sade had said existed everywhere in our town, but part of me knew I wouldn’t be so lucky.
“I’m Emmy. Emmy Smols.” She was wearing a simple dress and apron. A broom was in her hand. She cast a long shadow in the afternoon light coming from the window above the tub.
“Sade’s wife,” I replied. It wasn’t a question. I just knew.
We stared at one another for a while. The trickle of hot water I’d been running to keep the bath warm seemed louder than normal.
“I’m…” I began, but was cut off.
“Just listen for a minute, please,” Emmy insisted.
I nodded and shut my mouth.
“I know what happened to my husband. In fact, I watched from the other side of the room. I saw what you did to him.”
Hot tears leaked from my eyes. She continued.
“It’s taken me a while to forgive his infidelity. I questioned my own self-worth for months. But I know he meant more to me than one regrettable morning can erase.”
Emmy paused, like she was trying to figure out what to say next.
“Still,” she continued, “I see what you’ve been doing to yourself since that day. And despite my anger toward you, I don’t like seeing you suffer. That’s why I have a proposal.”
“Anything,” I whispered. I meant it, too. Anything to redeem myself from the acts which had ultimately devastated my life was a prospect too inviting to pass up.
Emmy smiled. “I was hoping you’d say that.” She let out a deep, long sigh. The water felt a bit too hot.
“I want us to be with my husband.”
Somewhere, in an ancient, never-before awakened part of my brain, I felt a faraway moon shudder and fall out of its orbit. The room dimmed and spun and the water, too hot only seconds ago, was icy cold against my skin.
“Do…do you mean…,” I choked out.
“Yes,” Emmy interrupted. “He’s in you, Danielle. He’s part of your body. And that’s too far for us.”
“Us…,” I repeated, bewildered and terrified but also confused. It was the second time she’d used that word.
“That’s right,” she insisted, and turned sideways, displaying her profile. “Us.”
I broke down and began to sob. Pink water sloshed lazily over the side of the tub and covered the bathmat as my breath came in gasps and heaves.
“Danielle!,” Emmy barked. “Stop it!”
I tried to obey. I banged my head against the wall until I felt something crack. Whether it was a tile or my skull didn’t matter to me, but it calmed me down enough to listen to what the woman was proposing.
“You took Sade from me eight months ago,” Emmy informed me, as if it was something I didn’t know. “Well, he was with me the night before that.” She ran her hands over her protruding belly. “Eight months ago he gave us these.”
“These,” I parroted in a breathless whisper.
“Twins,” Emmy answered. “And I will be damned if they live their lives without their father.”
I almost laughed when she said “lived their lives.”
“You can’t be serious,” I said, my voice exhibiting a level of normalcy that had been absent throughout our interaction so far. “How does killing you and your twins bring them closer to their father? He’s dead. He’s been dead for eight fucking months.” I waited a second, then exclaimed, “I ate him! He’s gone!”
Emmy nodded. “We believe in an afterlife, Danielle. And we believe that death will bring lost loved ones together again.”
“Can’t you just jump off the sink or something?” I asked, regretting the hint of scorn in my voice. “Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to kill you?”
“Because you took him from us!,” Emmy shouted. “I miss him! I love him! And I can’t get him back! It’s you who needs to make this right, Danielle. Remember, I saw what happened with you two. I saw the sex that happened between you. I saw how turned on he was, even in his final seconds of life. I know he asked for it! I know! I just want to know why! What could you have given him that I couldn’t?!”
Emmy stopped yelling and wept. I didn’t know what to say. But right then I knew something else. Two things, actually. Number one: I’d give the woman her wish. I’d let her be with her husband again in the manner of her choosing. It was the least I could do. Number two: I’d slit my fucking wrists and end my life right after.
And there, as I alluded to earlier, was the moment I felt free.
With my suicide assured, I relaxed. Anything that happened between now and that ultimate act wouldn’t matter. I reclined in the tub and stared out the window. The sun had given way to thick clouds and snow was beginning to fall. It would be dark in a little while. This twilight was mine.
Emmy was still crying when I spoke.
“Take off your clothes,” I instructed. “I don’t want to swallow them.”
She stopped crying and looked at me suspiciously. “Do you mean it,” she whispered. I could barely hear her over the water dripping into the tub. I nodded. She began to strip.
When she was nude, I offered my hand. She walked onto its water-wrinkled surface. Despite her tiny size, I could feel her trembling.
“I don’t know if I can stand,” she informed me. “I feel like I may faint.”
“It’s okay,” I assured her. “You can sit.”
She sat cross-legged on my palm. I brought her to my face and studied her. She was attractive, like Sade had been. Her face was youthful and gently freckled and a bit dusty, presumably from her work. Her tears had carved streaks down to her chin.
“How do you want this to happen?” I asked. I was surprised by how strong my voice was. There was no timidity like there had been with Sade. There was no dread like I’d experienced throughout the beginning this conversation with his wife. Now I was confident. Calm.
“I…don’t know,” Emmy said. “It’s not a sex thing for me. I still can’t believe it was for Sade.” She brushed her fingers across her nipples and vulva for a moment, then shook her head. “I’m too scared to be turned on by this. It isn’t right to be.”
“It’s fine,” I assured her. “This can be whatever you want it to be.”
“I can hardly think,” Emmy whispered. “The anticipation is too much. What was the first thing you ate of Sade’s.”
I thought back to his calves falling onto my tongue after I’d bit through his knees.
“His legs,” I told her. She nodded.
“Start there. But go high up. I don’t want this to be over right away, but I don’t want it to take longer than it has to.”
I didn’t hesitate. I picked her up under her arms with my right forefinger and thumb, leaned my head back, and brought her legs to my mouth. Before I parted my lips, Emmy’s bladder released. I felt a pang of guilt for being the reason for her terror, but I didn’t pause. Two seconds later, I’d bitten through each femur. I swallowed the legs without chewing.
Emmy screamed once, then relaxed. I brought her back so I could see her clearly. She was on her side in my palm, bleeding heavily. Her skin was already pale.
“The pain wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated,” she almost laughed. “Oh God, but it’s still awful.” She rolled onto her back and ran her hands over her belly. Blood gushed from her severed femoral arteries. This wouldn’t take much longer. Soon I could die.
“The twins,” Emmy murmured. Her hands continued to caress her abdomen. “I want to see the twins.”
“Won’t you see them when this is over?” I asked.
“Probably, yeah.” She shrugged. “If this whole afterlife thing we talked about isn’t just bullshit.” I could barely make out her words. She was slurring heavily. Almost dead. I’d be following her.
“Still,” Emmy continued, “show them to me.”
Without much thought to the mechanics but still knowing it would probably work, I brought Emmy’s hips to my mouth and sucked. There was a gush of foul-tasting fluid on my tongue, followed by something else solid. I placed Emmy back into my palm, noticing, with genuine interest, that my action had also sucked her digestive tract out of place. It lay wetly in my palm, still connected to her torso.
Carefully, I spat the contents of my mouth onto Emmy’s chest. It looked like a peeled cranberry with slight movement inside. I got very close and could see one pair of feet kicking against its red, semi-translucent walls. The other pair of feet didn’t move.
With her last bit of strength, Emmy brought her arms around the sac and clutched it. She looked up at me.
“Thank you,” she mouthed. She shuddered twice and lay still.
“I can be dead in five minutes,” I thought to myself, as I studied the corpse in my palm. I opened my mouth and put it inside, chewing and swallowing for the first time in at least six months. The crunch of bones didn’t bother me. The thought of their afterlife, if it existed, and their reunion as a family overtook everything else.
I sighed. The water in the tub was the perfect temperature. I felt like I was ensconced in a womb – warm and safe. I picked up the razor and carved two deep, long gashes from the underside of my elbows to the base of each hand. It hurt. But it would be my last hurt.
Exsanguinating, I placed my head on the edge of the tub and gazed out the window. It was the last gasp of daylight. I guided my eyes to the clouds and was lost in the snow-filled sky. Whiteness overwhelmed.
As I’ve said twice now, the best part of suicide is the sensation of freedom. Everything ends. Your life, finally, is in your own control.
What I’ve waited to mention is the worst part of suicide: waking up.
When I lifted my eyelids, I expected to see angels or demons, depending on where I ended up. I didn’t expect to see my own blood-filled bathtub. “No no no no no no,” I whispered, wondering how I could have possibly gotten it wrong.
My words sounded fuzzy in my ears. Far away. It was another span of seconds before I realized there were more voices. Strange, unfamiliar ones.
I looked up from the tub and gasped. Surrounding the sink and tub and staring at me from the floor were more tiny people. Hundreds.
“No!” I shouted and went for my razor. It was gone. I looked at my arms. They were stitched shut with sutures almost too small for me to see. “NO!” I exclaimed again and covered my face as every instant of my first and second murder flashed into my consciousness. The pain was back. The self-loathing was back. The strength and sensation of control had evaporated.
“Danielle!,” one of the tiny men called. “Danielle calm down! It’s okay! You’ll be alright! After you heal up you’ll be good as new!”
I stared at the assembled group and felt a shard of bone poking into my gums.
“You’re lucky we got to you in time!” another one shouted. The group nodded in unison.
“Why?” I whimpered.
“Why?” the first one said. “Because we need you!” More nods. “We couldn’t sit idly by and let you condemn us all to an existence with no afterlife, could we?”
My head fell against the back of the tub. “No afterlife,” I repeated to myself. The crowd was cheering my name. “No…afterlife…” I thought again. And then I remembered what Emmy had used me for. To be with Sade.
Something caught my eye. A tiny, naked old man was walking toward me along the side of the tub. He stopped when he reached my shoulders. “I’m ready to see my grandchildren,” he told me with a smile. I screamed.