Chapter 17Mature

Remaining silent, Alex got back to his feet and went for a snack, hoping to calm his stomach if even for a minute. Bailey didn’t flinch nor make any sounds as he left. Grabbing the first apple he saw, he smelled the wax on its surface, stalling him on taking a bite. Once he did, the tangy taste of the flesh of the apple didn’t make any changes in how his stomach felt. If anything, it made the grumbling worse. Even more when he felt the vessels in his head and chest constrain the next time it happened.

Unable to tell if his father was awake, Alex found the patty from before. As he ripped the paper towels off and took a sniff of it, his stomach seemed to lock up again. He was almost salivating over it, despite his stomach feeling like it was shrunk. Getting some cheese for it, he set it up in the microwave, hoping some other tastes would help.

Watching the cheese melt and the meat start to bubble again drove his hunger. He hoped in the right way. Once it was in his hands, he took a bite of the slab, taking in how good the mix of dairy and meat was. Chewing it slowly to try and satisfy his stomach, his efforts, while gratifying to his taste buds, did next to nothing for that cause.

Whether it was his head or his stomach Alex couldn’t tell. Something was leaving him unsatisfied with what he was eating, which now was starting to scare him. Just then, Alex felt his heart sink as his thoughts returned to what he had felt the week before. The doe he had killed last time jumped back to mind as well. It had taken that to make his stomach stop growling before.

Was his body demanding some kind of live prey instead of dead meat to satisfy it? Alex shivered at the possibility of his own body working against his better nature. If not himself as a person. His next thoughts went to his parents and their safety. He had to combat this somehow without letting them know.

Looking outside, he could already see a student waiting for the bus to his high school. With the time now at 5:24, more were sure to come soon. And with his last kill being at his school’s stable, he was certain the police would be watching that location. But then, what if they weren’t?

Alex immediately started doubting that possibility. Even if they weren’t, and even if he somehow beat the buses and most of the staff there, and even if he managed to hide all the way there, the ruckus from the other animals would get someone’s attention and possibly expose him.

The only other animal farm he knew of was near Catherine’s neighborhood at least four miles away. The number of roads he would have to cross just to reach it made that location unappealing, if not dangerous. The sky was already turning a lighter blue on the horizon. Once the sun started to rise, or if someone’s headlights spotted him before he got back home, he was screwed.

The End

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