by Matt Dixon
Michael finds himself wondering if his dark nightmare is real. Is he an actual monster?
The Dark Masquerade Chapter One
The Queensland Courier
Woman Missing in Lockyer Valley
Residents of the quiet country town of Laidley in the scenic Lockyer Valley were awoken last night to terrible screams from a house located on Hounslow Court.
Witnesses say the screams began at about 1 a.m. and lasted only a few minutes.
‘It was horrible,’ said Mr’s Milly Wright, who lives across the road, ‘I thought she was being murdered.’
Police were called to the scene to find a male occupant appearing dazed and confused. When questioned about the whereabouts of his wife, 25-year-old Michael Kelly could not answer and appeared to be suffering from shock.
An inspection of the property showed no signs of foul play.
Mister Kelly, a well-respected teacher at the local high school, was taken to Laidley hospital for observation. The whereabouts of his wife, 24-year-old primary school teacher Kate Kelly, is unknown.
I had been feeling odd all of that day. It had begun in the morning as I drove through the grey drizzle along the country roads to work. In my chest it grew, reaching out from my heart and moving slowly out to my limbs, an odd feeling, a sensation like a euphoria mixed with an insatiable hunger. A hunger for what, I could not tell. At first, I wondered if my morning coffee had been laced with some kind of drug. I even considered stopping at the local doctor’s surgery to be examined. But such decisions would require extra work in preparing cover lessons for some retired old substitute teacher. There was nothing I hated more than other teachers taking my classes.
The feeling did not leave me. I parked my car in the muddy staff car park and walked briskly through the drizzle. Students were playing handball in the rain and laughing. They gave me a casual wave. I returned the wave and quickly entered the staffroom, scraping the mud off of my shoes. It was strange. The feeling was becoming stronger. I was beginning to enjoy it. Whatever this feeling was filled me with dark pleasure. I felt fantastic.
I walked through the shared staff room with its many desks ordered in rows like some form of prison and made my way to the small lunchroom to place my lunch in the fridge. Along the way, I gave my usual good morning greeting to the various teachers at their desks preparing for the day. Entering the small lunchroom with the two long white dining tables in the middle, I was struck by the strong scent of freshly brewed coffee mixed with sweet perfume. I immediately noticed the young graduate teacher Layla waiting for the coffee machine to deliver her a fresh cup. The aroma of the fresh coffee was unusually strong.
Layla was tying her long brown hair back in a ponytail and her already tight black blouse slipped up to reveal her smooth midriff and purple butterfly belly button ring. Her tight black formal dress pants were teasingly low on her hips and it took all of my strength not to stare at her fine, silky skinned midriff.
Inside, something dark was sparked inside of me. I stared at her beauty. It was not lust that captured me. It was hunger. My mouth watered and my stomach growled. A dark and macabre urge to sink my teeth into her smooth-skinned midriff overwhelmed me. I wanted to taste her flesh and drink her precious warm blood. The urge terrified me.
‘You okay, Michael?’ she asked with a look that gently scolded me for staring.
I tried to answer but my eyes were fixed on her bare belly and I was desperately fighting the urge to leap across the room and sink my teeth into her.
‘Michael?’ her voice had little more concern to it this time. ‘You okay?’
It took all of my strength to fight the urge and remain calm as a deliciously euphoric feeling flowed through my entire body. Was my body rewarding me for thinking this way?
I shook my head and blinked hard.
‘Yeah,’ I replied absently. ‘Sorry. I was in my own little world there for a moment.’
I smiled apologetically, hoping that I did not come across as some kind of pervert. I was happily married, after all, to a beautiful primary school teacher.
‘You scared me for a second there,’ Layla said.
I saw in her eyes an uneasiness now that I knew would take a lot to reconcile but she was too polite to be anything other than nice.
There was some awkward small talk between us for a few minutes before I excused myself. I made my way to the staff toilets and locked myself in a stall to sit and compose myself.
That sudden primal urge worried me. Nothing like that had ever overcome me before, not even in puberty when my body had been pumping with hormones. I was shaking. I felt aroused. What terrified me was that the arousal came not from any form of sexual fantasy but rather the desire to devour the young woman like some form of primal predator playing with its prey before striking.
I stayed in the stall until the bell for the first lesson had gone, listening to the chatter in the staffroom and the general chaos that is the start of a school day. When I was certain all of the teachers had moved on, I quickly exited and grabbed my bag, walking briskly through the rain to my first class with my head down, daring not to engage in any kind of conversation.
I managed to teach without much distraction, keeping my eyes on the laptop or the board for fear I may feel that urge again. I found my hands shaking and an odd blissful sensation flowing through my veins all day. It was a mix of irresistible arousal and primal hunger. It felt like some form of dark and carnal metamorphosis was happening inside of me and it took all of my strength to hide the struggle from my students.
Each lesson made it more difficult for me to concentrate. I could smell a sweet scent. More than one scent. I hid in my classroom during breaks, pretending to be busy with work. I googled the symptoms on my phone to no avail. I could find nothing except for something called Gigil which one doctor described as the urge to squeeze or bite things people see as cute or adorable. It was little comfort.
As the day went on I realised that each person I interacted with was giving off a different scent, unique and attractive. Like some odd sixth sense, I could smell them all. It was not the sweat or the deodorants but a delectable natural scent.
Had I suffered some kind of odd brain condition? Did I have a tumour?
Some of the scents were more attractive than others but they were all becoming overpowering. The urge to bite a student was disturbingly real. I realised very quickly that I was losing control. I have an addictive personality as it is and resisting temptations is not my strong point. I was shaking. I was losing concentration in class and the students were noticing.
During the last lesson of the day, as students were watching a documentary on the death of Tutankhamun, my thoughts had drifted into murky, unfathomable territory. I hungered for my wife, but not in the way I would normally. This was something far darker, more macabre. I wanted to have her, to hold her, to taste her smooth skin and suck on her delicious neck, tasting her skin between his lips. My mind drifted to fantasies of sinking my teeth into her slightly podgy belly and tasting her flesh. In my mind, I saw her face filled with fear. I imagined her begging for mercy as my teeth tore into her smooth, slightly fat stomach and devoured her flesh.
The bell ripped me from that morbid fantasy with a start. I had to check myself. Had I just imagined devouring my wife? The urge was oddly arousing. Something of the image of her begging as I ate her stirred up a dark pleasure in me. That was not normal. That was disturbing. I began to sweat.
‘Are you okay, sir?’ one of my female students asked.
I looked around to see that most of the students were packing up. Swallowing hard, I nodded absently and wiped the sweat from my brow.
Looking to the pretty girl with her blonde hair tied up in a messy bun, I could smell her honey flavoured scent. My eyes moved to her smooth neck and there was an instant in my mind where I honestly considered sinking my teeth into her flesh. I stopped myself with a gasp of air. What the fuck? I thought.
I concentrated on turning off the video and packing up my laptop.
‘I’m fine, thank you. Class dismissed.’
I stared down at my desk, not daring to look at any of the students as they left. I was losing control and it terrified me. Silence slowly fell. The students all ran with their bags to catch the various buses. The honey scent stayed.
I looked up to see the pretty blonde standing a few feet away. Her scent was overwhelming.
‘Cassie, you need to leave,’ I said.
‘You’re not yourself, sir.’ She began to approach me.
I fought hard to resist the urge to grab her and lick her pretty face. Just a taste, a voice inside of me reasoned. Just lick her skin. It’s delicious. The dark immorality of that voice and the primal urge to do as it said caused terrible conflict in my mind.
‘Please, Cassie,’ I said as I grabbed my bag, ‘you need to catch your bus.’
‘Sir, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I…’
It was too much. That sweet scent. My right hand lashed out before I could think and grabbed the pretty blonde by her neck. I saw the fear in her eyes. Her soft hands grabbed at mine. Her mouth opened wide and she let out a squeak. I could feel her smooth neck being squeezed in my grasp. Her pretty face was turning dark red. There was true fear in her eyes. She tried to speak but only gurgles came from her mouth.
I slowly pulled her close to me, her pretty face so close I could almost kiss her. For a moment that seemed like an eternity, I stared at her open mouth desperately gurgling for breath. I watched as her pretty face gradually turned dark red. There was a dark pleasure in watching her wide eyes roll back into her head as she struggled to stay conscious.
Just as suddenly as the urge had overwhelmed me, I regained my senses. With a gasp of horror, I let her go.
Cassie fell to the floor, coughing and gasping desperately for breath. Her gasps were horrible, long and drawn out. She remained on all fours, staring at the floor as her breathing began to return to normal. She appeared afraid to look up at me.
I looked to my hand in a panic. I was shaking. I had never been violent before, never threatened another human being. Something terrible had overcome me and I was certain my teaching career was at an end. Surely this would result in criminal charges.
You could just kill her, a voice inside me urged. My heart sank. What was that voice? Where had it come from? Was I possessed?
‘Cassie, I…’ I paused, unable to finish the sentence.
No words could save me or explain away what had happened.
Slowly Cassie stood, rubbing her neck. She stepped back slowly, her breathing heavy.
‘I won’t say anything,’ she said, ‘You asked me to leave and I didn’t. I’m sorry.’ Her sweet blue eyes looked to me with both fear and desperation.
I realised with a horrible sense of dread that this young girl was so insecure she thought the attack was her fault.
‘I’m sorry,’ she repeated as tears welled in her eyes.
She backed up against the wall. Her eyes reflected her fear.
I opened my mouth to speak but before I could say anything Cassie grabbed her bag and ran out the door.
What the hell just happened? Am I suffering some kind of brain damage? I nearly killed that girl.
I sat at the teacher desk and debated what to do next. I could report the incident. That would be the right thing to do. There was the option of going to my doctor for a medical check-up. Perhaps a scan of the brain would reveal a tumour or aneurism of some kind. Alternatively, I could ignore the urges and pretend nothing had happened. Cassie was a sweet girl and the likelihood of her reporting me was slim. Add to this the fact her parents were hopeless and abusive and there was little to no risk of her saying anything. A selfish part of me said she should be used to it given the number of storied I had heard of her family. It was a wonder such a sweet girl had come from such a harsh environment.
I did not go to my office or the staffroom for the usual end of week drinks. I grabbed my bag and walked briskly to my car before anybody could accost me.
I needed to see my wife. I needed to shake those horrible images from my mind and hold her close, kiss her, feel her smooth, pale skin and see her beautiful blue eyes gaze into mine with pure love, not fear.
I drove home as quickly as I could. My hands were shaking and my mouth salivating with an inexplicable insatiable hunger. Now and again the images of my wife screaming as I bit into her flesh flashed into my mind.
There was a light rain falling. The beautiful rural landscape looked amazing with the tall mountains in the distance and the green, lush farmlands all around. This was part of the reason they had decided to move from the city, to enjoy the beauty of the lush countryside and escape the terrible crush of suburban life. Kate was glad to be free of her domineering parents and I, being an orphan, had no ties to the city at all.
Turning into the relatively new housing estate, I pulled the car up in the driveway next to Kate’s silver Volkswagen Golf. She had arrived home earlier than me.
I sat for a moment and listened to the mesmeric patter of the rain on the car. I love the rain. I love dark, cloudy days. I'm not sure what it is about those days that makes me feel so at home. Perhaps it has something to do with my origin; my true origin. Perhaps some memory far back in the recesses of my brain from my time with my real parents was there and it was related to rain. That was something of a mystery that I thought would never be answered. All files on my adoption had been lost in a fire soon after I was adopted.
I could have sat there for hours but a desire deep inside was drawing me inside, pulling me like some dark tether towards inevitable darkness. I wanted Kate; to kiss her, to smell her sweet scent, to hold her in my arms. I wanted to slip my hands up insider her top to feel her smooth midriff and then squeeze her so tight her warm flesh oozed between my fingers and she gasped for breath as I crushed her sweet body, staring into her wide, terrified blue eyes.
‘What the fuck?’ I muttered, looking down at my shaking hands.
I stepped out of my car and felt the cool rain against my face. Some of my neighbours greeted me from their deck chairs, sitting and watching the neighbourhood from inside their open garages. I politely waved before entering the house.
‘Princess?’ I called out.
I could smell her. That was odd. A sweet strawberry scent mixed with vanilla. It was odd for a few reasons. Firstly I seemed to know instinctively that this was her scent and secondly I had not assumed it was some kind of scented candle or the like that Kate so often brought to the house.
‘In here,’ came her musical voice. ‘Just getting started at dinner.’
I stepped into the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks. My heart began to race.
Kate had her long brown hair tied up in a ponytail and was wearing tight grey tracksuit pants that sat teasingly low on her hips and a cropped white tee. She had the palest porcelain skin. It was silky smooth to the touch. She didn’t have the body of a model but I found her slightly podgy muffin top belly sexy.
She turned and smiled at me but her smile turned quickly to an expression of curious concern.
‘Yeah,’ I nodded.
I was sweating again. There was her sweet scent so clearly in the air. It made my mouth water. Slowly I approached her, my eyes moving to her cute exposed midriff and her deep round bellybutton with its butterfly belly ring. I slipped my hands around her midriff and felt her warm, silky skin. She wrapped her arms around my shoulders, her pretty face looking up at me with adoring eyes.
As I felt her smooth skin, the urge came again to squeeze her like a marshmallow and watch her pretty face as she gasped for breath. Surely that was impossible. I resisted the urge to try.
‘What’s got you so frisky?’ she said.
My mind returned to the image of her gasping for breath as I squashed her belly between my fingers. Her lips came close to mine and I could smell her sweet scent. It was delicious. My hands squeezed her midriff just a little. It was enough to scare me.
I quickly stepped back. Kate frowned.
‘I’m going to have a shower,’ I said.
‘Okay.’ Kate gave me an odd look. ‘Don’t be so long this time. The water bill is getting ridiculous and it’s not me.’
Whatever had overcome me seemed to dissipate with the cold shower. I was grateful for the escape. I decided that tomorrow afternoon I was heading to the doctor to have a full checkup. There was something wrong and I needed answers.
The remainder of that evening seemed normal. We ate dinner. Kate talked of her day and the plans we had for the holidays. She complained about her parents wanting grandchildren. I complained about work. We watched television, made love in our bed and fell asleep holding each other. The urges, it seemed, had been killed by the cold shower.
It was the screaming that woke me. At least that’s what brought my mind back to reality. There was this delicious, salty vanilla strawberry taste in my mouth; much like the body butter Kate used. I felt something deep inside me. It felt like something wriggling and tickling the inside of my stomach but that made no sense. It felt like toes wiggling against my insides.
I opened my eyes. I was lying on my stomach which was the first indication something was amiss as I never slept that way. As I tried to move, the horrible truth hit me hard and I felt my heart sink. It was impossible. Was this some kind of horrible fever-induced nightmare?
Kate was up to her knees in my mouth, my lips sucking tight against her knees. She was resting upon her elbows, completely naked, staring down at me with a face reflecting both terror and disgust. My jaw was dislodged like some kind of serpent devouring large prey.
‘Michael?’ she said with a wavering voice. ‘What the fuck are you doing?’
Hunger overwhelmed me, filling me with a euphoric pleasure greater than any sexual pleasure I could describe or had ever encountered. I could not explain it. That look of fear in the eyes of the one I loved aroused me. I was overtaken, possessed by some primeval desire.
‘Michael?’ she said. ‘Is this real? This has to be some kind of weird nightmare. You’d be choking to death right now if my legs were inside you, right? This makes no sense.’
I sucked her in just a little more, her knees disappearing into my mouth. Kate let out a little squeal. The hunger grew stronger. Go ahead, said that sinister voice in me, eat her.
‘What the fuck. Michael? This feels real.’
Her skin was glistening with sweat that gave off a delicious scent.
My mouth was full of her wriggling legs. The taste of her skin was so delicious.
Kate’s breathing was heavy and her body shook with fear. I could see her cute belly rising and falling with heavy breaths. Her butterfly belly ring shone in the light of the hallway.
‘Michael, are you eating me?’
I found myself overwhelmed with an instinctual drive to suck her into my unnaturally large maw using muscles inside me I never knew I had. Kate slowly slid down the bed as her smooth thighs slipped between my lips right up to her fine hips.
Kate squealed and twisted her body. She tried to reach back for something to grab a hold of but failed. Resting back on her elbows again, she looked with fear-filled eyes down at me. She was naked and hip-deep in my mouth. It made no sense.
‘This is just a dream,’ she reasoned, ‘a terrible nightmare. I am going to wake up from this at any moment.’
She let out another squeal as I sucked in her hips and smooth, round butt.
‘This feels real,’ she said. ‘This feels very…’
Panic set in and Kate let out a loud scream, begging for help. I gradually sucked her smooth belly in between my lips and she sank in right up to her firm breasts. I tasted her sweet belly, felt it wriggling in his mouth as the flavours of her body cream mixed with her sweat to make a delicious blend in my mouth.
It has to be a dream, I reasoned. Some kind of weird Freudian nightmare wet dream. A mix of sexual desire and primal hunger that was somehow erotic and terrifying all at once. After all, swallowing a person whole was physically impossible.
‘Michael,’ Kate begged. ‘This feels very real. Please don’t swallow me. Michael, I think you’re actually eating me. I don’t think this is a nightmare.’
Kate wriggled around in a desperate attempt to escape. Her arms reached up for the bedhead but she could only grab the sheets. I began to suck up her ribs and firm breasts as she reached down and tried to push herself out, placing her hands on my head and trying to resist the suction.
‘Michael? Please stop! Michael Please! I, I don’t think this is a dream. I can feel it!’
She screamed, then squeaked like a mouse as her firm breasts were squished into my mouth and her arms awkwardly struggled to try and free her, slowly reaching up to flail above her head.
‘Baby, please! Please stop! I don’t like this! Help me! Fucking help! Fuck’
Kate let out one final blood-curdling squeal as her smooth long neck and pretty face slid into my mouth to leave only her arms and ponytail hanging out. Her arms thrashed about desperately. I sucked them up like spaghetti. Her fingers grabbed at my jaw and tried to pull her free but the battle was brief. They quickly slipped and with a quick swallow, Kate was gone.
I rolled over and placed my hands on my bulging stomach to feel Kate squirming inside me. Then came her final muffled squeal before my massive stomach quickly shrunk down at an unnatural speed. I could feel the acids digesting Kate’s naked body in moments to a liquid stew. At that same moment, I was overwhelmed by a euphoric rush greater than any orgasm. I imagine it would be much like the high one gets from drugs.
I waited to wake up from this odd Freudian wet dream. I waited but the dream did not stop. I did not wake. The delicious taste on my tongue and the feeling of that satiated hunger stayed. I lay there for what seemed like an eternity, lost in the bliss of that ecstatic, oddly erotic dream.
Then a horrible thought came to me. What is this was real?
I sat up and let out a loud belch. Something had regurgitated in my mouth; I felt it on my tongue. I spat it onto my hand. It was Kate’s butterfly bellyring.
‘Wake up,’ I begged, ‘fucking wake up you bastard. You didn’t just eat your wife.’
I slipped off the bed and looked down at the large wet patch on the sheets. There was some kind of slime that had come from my mouth all over the sheets.
‘What the fuck?’
My heart sank.
Running to the ensuite bathroom, I splashed cold water on my face and stared at my reflection. I looked normal. I touched my jaw. It was normal. It was impossible. There was no way I could have fit Kate into my mouth. This had to be some kind of bizarre erotic nightmare born from my twisted subconscious.
‘This is just a nightmare,’ I muttered. ‘Fucking wake up.’
That was when a loud knock came at the door. I looked at the bellyring in my hand and quickly flushed it down the toilet. I slipped on my dressing gown and briskly walked to the front door, the sweet taste of Kate still fresh in my mouth, her last squeal still echoing in my ears.
Why won’t this nightmare end?
I composed myself and then opened the door. Standing there was the pretty young Constable Stephanie Lane, her patrol car parked on the street outside with a few curious onlookers gathering on the street.
‘Mister Kelly?’ she asked.
That was the moment reality came crashing around me like a wave hitting the shore. I could see the drizzle falling outside, smell the rain, feel the cold tiles of the foyer on soles of my bare feet. This was real. I was awake.
I suddenly felt dizzy and collapsed into the arms of the Constable.