Evil sought after Jacob's soul like it was some long-lost treasure, sunken to the bottom of the ocean…. And despite every shark, pirate, storm, or wave, Evil pressed on… stuck to Jacob like a leech.
Sometimes he thought she lived in his head… in the vast, empty space between his consciousness, and his memories… right there in the sweet spot….
Her voice sounded so close when she spoke to him, like she was right over his shoulder, and every time he turned to look at her she was gone….
Though he never had the privilege to see her face-to-face, she was always kind enough to appear in Jacob's dreams… whether it was an angel on a cloud, or a song in the distant wind, or a snake wrapping itself around his neck… she was there… and Jacob lived for her company….
She'd sing him sweet nothings, and stroke his face with moonlight, her experienced hands molding him like clay… at the time he wouldn't even try to resist, if she'd held out a butcher knife, he would have leaned into it….
He was in love, and she would use that to her advantage… any time she was sad, or horny, or angry, or just fucking bored she'd leverage Jacob's misguided affection to accomplish all manner of goals….
Just a couple days before she slipped into Jacob's body like a suit… and used his arms, his hands, and his fingernails to claw out the eyes of some random, poor bastard on the side of the road who was just looking for a ride….
Jacob clips his nails over a barrel fire later that night, watching the evidence burn away along with the beer cans. A young man sits cross-legged on the ground beside him, huffing and puffing until snot shoots from both nostrils as he curses under his breathe….
"I… I just wanna go home…. Please take me home…." He pleads, looking around the fenced in yard through his mangled sockets. "You are home…." Evil answers with Jacob's mouth….
The young man recoils at the admission, and falls to the ground sobbing while Jacob runs his hand back-and-forth through the flames as he talks to himself…. "We could just let him go…." Jacob whispers. "No." Evil replies. "It would be so simple! Why can't we just…." "I said no!" Blisters begin to rise on Jacob's palm, and he pulls his arm away from the barrel. "Fuck!"
"Just kill this prick…." Evil tells him in that sweet, --Cinderella stepping on your balls-- sort of voice…. "Why?... he's… he's blind…." Jacob pleads naively. "But since birth?... Was he blind then?!" "Well… no…." "No! He wasn't!... Have you ever seen a sketch artist?! They're like psychics! You leave this blind bastard alone, you're screwed! Finish it!"
Evil expands, rises, and drops down on Jacob's head like a tsunami; spreading needles through his brain… the migraine of all migraines, enveloping his every thought….
He retrieves the knife from his belt in the hopes that it will free him from the tortuous puppetry of it all… but as he closes his fist around the hilt he's overwhelmed with the urge to stab the man over, and over again… and so he does….
"Stop! Please! Just let me go!" Jacob screams as his blade tears through the young man's chest. The hitchhiker doesn't scream, or howl, he is slaughtered in an eerie silence.… ,"Not yet…." She answers, relishing the muted thuds of the knife scraping bone….
"I can't keep doing this…." Jacob whimpers as he removes his bloody clothes, and tosses them into the fire. "You can, and you will, because I demand it." Her words are like rose water, and her painted claws pull him into the depths again, dulling his senses to the reality around him….
A shiver runs through his body as he undresses the hitchhiker, and throws his belongings into the makeshift incinerator. He feels a wallet inside of the man's sweatpants, but he doesn't open it, not wanting to catch a glimpse at the I.D. inside, --his conscience could rest a little easier without knowing his victim was actually a teenage runaway--….
He slathers cooking grease all over the body, and stuffs it ass-first into the barrel, folding it like he was trying to overpack a suitcase….
The smell --though shameful to admit-- was intoxicating, like a steakhouse, or Sunday breakfast at his grandmother's…. "Go on, take a bite…." The voice teases playfully. "He'd be delicious… you know I'm right…." Jacob doesn't bother to argue, he just resists the urge to plunge his knife into the licking flames to cut off a piece of grisled ear, popping like bacon... Which proves to be easy enough… When his nostrils catch the stench of burning hair emanating from the smoke he retreats from the fire, and wretches again, and again until finally he lets forth a stream of foamy white bile onto a nearby rose bush….
"I'm proud of you… you're getting better... you used to get sick at the sight of blood… now you can kill on a whim, we just have to work on disposal…." Jacob stands up, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and whips the oozey remnants to the ground, disgusted by himself.
He picks up a blackened trash can lid from the ground, and places it over the fire. "You're going to smother it… let it cook…." Evil commands. "No…." Jacob replies. Cue migraine…. "No?!" Evil declares, wrapping her hooked claws around his soft, susceptible brain. "YOU!… are NEVER to use that word with me…! You know this!" She shouts from the center of his mind as she pierces its surroundings with her lashing tendrils.
Jacob grabs the lid immediately, --one hand on each side-- and puĺls it off of the barrel, needlessly blistering his fingers…. Smoke plumes from it like a toxic geyser, spraying him in the eyes like rattlesnake mace….
"Fuck!" Jacob yells. "Why are you so angry?" Evil asks in the most condescending voice imaginable… "You knew that would happen!" He snaps. "And you didn't?... "You know what I mean! You MADE ME grab it!" "Mere suggestion… but you were right to listen." Evil says coldly.
"Can I go inside now? It's freezing out here…." Jacob says, defeated. "I'm satiated, for now, so yes you may." Jacob's sigh of relief lingers in the cool night air in front of him.
He leaves the corpse to cook, it would be bone, and ash by morning, and by design he had no neighbors to speak of, the worst he had to fear was a hungry bear, but realistically that could only help his cause.
He hurries inside, and scrubs himself raw in his Elizabethean clawfoot tub. Then he soaks for a while, everything submerged, but his nose, the only sense of placidity he knew away from Evil's domineering whispers. He stays under the water until it's too cold to bare, and quickly wraps himself in his late grandmother's canary-yellow bathrobe. It still smelled like her, peppermint, and cigarettes. He doesn't bother to change before bed, the familiar scents offering him an iota of comfort allowing him to drift away easily enough --it had been tough to do lately--.
His dreams meet him with the familiar sweet smell of "pork" cooking in the open barrel behind his house. And in the flames, Evil's face stares at him, her eyes two glowing blue embers.
"You did well." She praises him seductively, like the act had put her in the mood. Jacob doesn't accept her praise, or meet her gaze, he just stares at the hitchhikers crackling skin, realizing he hasn't eaten breakfast in over a month….
"I said…." She says, grabbing his chin in her flaming hand, forcing his eyes to meet hers. "You did well…." Still not letting go, undoubtedly wanting to cause him as much pain as possible for ignoring her…. "Thank you…." He winces, and she finally lets go. "You're welcome. Now… take a bite."
He stares down at the body again… still crackling perfectly like sausages in a skillet that never seem to burn… just endless crackling…. His eyes roll, and close tight as he resists the urge again. "I don't want to." He whispers just ever so audibly.
'I wasn't asking." Evil tells him. "I can't…." His voice cracks. "You can… and I must, so YOU must…." His stomach turns, and grumbles at the thought of cannibalizing the man.
"You… asked me to kill for you… you didn't ask me for this…." Jacob says, naively believing that he was in any way going to sway her. "I'm asking now… are you refusing?" The flames hiss back at him, her tendrils taking shape within the coals preparing to strike.
"No… I can't refuse…." He reaches out a shaky hand and grabs the corpse by the scorched locks of hair on its head. A steak knife appears in his dominant hand, and his mouth waters in shame as he slices off an ear.
His hand continues to shake, and his eyes stay locked shut as he dangles the ear over his tongue, like a child on the playground about to eat a spider on a dare….
"It's not even that bad, this is a dream, a perfect way to get the stomach for it." Her endless, needling pomposity always amazed, and sickened him….
"Are you going to make me count?..." She asks in the same tone of voice one would use when speaking to a toddler. "No, just, just give me a second… please." Luckily he remembers the magic word, or it might have been his own ear he was chomping on next….
Finally, he says fuck it, and drops the golden brown cartilage into his mouth. It is… ridiculously delicious… better than any steak he's ever had…. Evil doesn't have to command him to devour the second ear, he takes that upon himself… carving, and biting, and ripping that poor man's appendages to shreds; damn near choking him on the way down….
"Good boy." Ordinarily, Evil's condescension would have bothered him, or made him feel small, but he can hardly hear her from the heaven he's experiencing. He lets the knife fall to the ground, and gnaws into the man's cheek like somebody might bite into a porkchop….
"Now you see what we've been missing…." Evil says, a creeping yellow smile starting to solidify above the smoking barrel, as she begins to grow out from the fire, and take her true form….
Her body begins to take shape within the smoke cloud… jerking, and contorting like a marionette doll; laughing, cheering, climaxing at the thought that they'd both soon be eating real, fresher than fresh, grade-A human meat….
And how could Jacob argue now? "You're right… it's the best thing I've ever eaten… and not just the ears, all of it… the cheeks, the jowls… and I had no clue liver could taste so good…." He wipes his mouth, smearing grease, and soot across his face.
By that time Evil was in all her glory, fully-formed, and fully nude in front of him. Her skin the same hue as the orange of the fire, but no longer smoldering, or cracking… just smooth, and luminescent….
Jacob makes his way to her like a mayfly, ready to give his life for a moment of her time…. His instincts tell him to flinch, but she embraces him, strokes his hair, rubs his hands… and he goes limp, thoughtless, like a dog getting scratched on "the spot".
"What will I do for you now?" Jacob asks, eyes like big glass marbles, voice like a record player…. "You will rest… you've done well." Evil says, caressing his innocent face with her bloody claw of a hand.
"I've done well…." He mimicks mindlessly, as he scratches his neck with her fingers. "Yes… now rest."
His internal clock wakes him up at 6am. A quick glance at his calendar immediately puts a pep in his step when he realizes what day it is… the anniversary of his grandmother's death. I should get flowers… maybe a nice candle…. He thinks to himself.
Luckily Evil more or less left him alone during the daylight hours, so he has plenty of time to run his errands. He rushes through his morning routine, and heads out to the yard coffee in hand to check on the progress of his burn barrel.
It's still smoking, but the job is done. A pile of ribs, and femurs, and knee caps wait patiently to be buried, or otherwise discarded. He decides to leave it for later that night when he has a chance to consult Evil.
He gets into his car, and heads for a roadside flower shop just a few miles away from his house. He paces between the arrangements mulling his options. Roses? No, too romantic. Sunflowers would be too big… She always hated Tulips for some reason….
"Can I help you with anything?" The Florist asks politely, he clearly noticing Jacob's blank stare. "I'm wondering what flowers I should get for my grandmother." Jacob tells him. "Special occasion?" The Florist asks. "Not particularly." Jacob says, still staring around at the assortment. "Does she enjoy gardening?" The Florist asks. "She used to." Jacob replies. "Well in that case I'd tell you that Perennials are a gift that keeps on giving." He says motioning to a bright yellow bush. "I'll take them." Jacob agrees.
He places the flowers carefully on his floorboard, and wedges a couple sweatshirts around the pot so it doesn't tip over on the ride back home.
His radio had gone out years ago, and he never bothered to get a new one, so it was a quiet ride back aside from the sound of leaves smacking his windshield as they fell into his path.
He puts his car in park, retrieves the flowers, and heads for the back of the house, to the crawlspace, where his grandmother was buried....