I pull into my parking spot at work, and turn off the car. I toss the last bits of food in my mouth before stashing the baggy in my center console with all the others. I sit back and close my eyes before opening the door, and head into the office. “This is going to be a long day…”
I sit down in my cubicle and stare at my screen. Someone changed my screensaver a dinosaur eating a person, with the dinosaur labeled “You.” I roll my eyes…they must have heard the same radio show as I did coming in this morning and thought it’d be funny to replace my screensaver.
“Hey man, how’s it …. Whoa cool screensaver!” Josh (a coworker, and a friend) said to me, peeking over the cubicle.
“Yeah it’s a hoot. Know who did it?” I said
“Nah man, someone did the same thing to Jasmine over there, (whispering) I think she has what you have…that meat virus thing. Anyway, I’m glad that shit isn’t contagious. You folks with your fancy dinners. That’s why you’re all sick! You hear that Dr nut on the radio this morning? Carnivores…psh…heh..I think I get what you’re screensaver means now! You’re all like dinosaurs!”
“Thanks Josh…Makes me feel real old…” I say while rolling my eyes.
“Anyway man, I came over to see how you were doing. You didn’t look too good last week, and you’re looking pretty pale today. You eat today?”
“Yeah I ate a snack on the way in, but not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow. I’m almost out of food, and the city is dry….you got any spare meat you can let me borrow until butchers get more?”
“Nah man, I hate my last bit of hamburger last night, granted I cook mine…but to each their own man, no offense.”
“It’s alright Josh. I’ll figure something out. You said Jasmine can only eat meat too? How’d you find out?”
“She’s been sick too man. Getting pale and everything…wait you’re not gonna die on me are you? You still owe me fifty bucks!”
“Nah man, I’m not gonna die on ya. I gotta get to work, unless you needed something else?”
Josh shook his head and waved while he walked away from the cubicle. I start working on my normal spreadsheets, when I felt someone watching me from behind. I turn around and say “Can I help you?”
“Hi, my name is Jasmine. I don’t think we’ve met, but rumor has it, that you’re a carrier too.”
“A carrier? If you’re trying to ask if I have the meat virus, then yes I do. Josh told me that someone changed your screensaver too?”
“No…I changed it myself. I changed yours too. I wanted to see your expression. I take it you heard the radio this morning with ‘Dr. Smitty’ before they knocked him off the air?”
“Yeah I did…what do you think about it? What are we supposed to do with no food to eat when the city is dried up?”
“Oh, I have plenty of food stocked up. I could live for months on what I have! Don’t you have any stored up? You had to know that the city would eventually run dry for a while…”
“Yeah I had it stocked up when it first struck, but I’ve been buying 20 pounds at a time since I ran out of my initial stash…and now I’m out. Think I could buy some of yours until the butchers get more in?”
“I have a better idea. Why don’t you come over for dinner, and I’ll fix you something up.”
“L-L-L-L-Like a date?” I stuttered..
“No, think of it as surviving together…have you had any strange dreams lately?”
“How’d you know?! I had a really messed up dream that I was chasing a guy down an alley and when I finally caught up with him, I started eating him! How messed up is that!!”
“You haven’t been eating well have you…not making yourself full all the time, trying to conserve what you have left is my guess.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing, but how’d you know about the dreams?”
“I did the same thing you were doing, I would eat only what I rationed out for myself, and that’s it. I started having disturbing dreams, but mine were eating my own animals, and family. So I started importing meats from around the country to ensure I had enough to last me as long as I need, or until they find an antivirus for this ‘meat virus’. Anyway, I gotta get back to work, here’s my address. Come over after 7 tonight and I’ll have something ready for you to eat. Don’t come over before then though. I won’t be ready.”
I rushed through work to make sure I was done in time to get home, take a shower, and get over to Jasmine’s house by 7. I pulled up to her house around 6:30 and told myself that she wasn’t going to be ready for another half an hour minimum. So I circled around the block, and parked a few houses down. I didn’t want her to think I was a creeper. 7 o’clock came around, and I started up the car and drove up to the house. The front porch light flicked on, so I knew she was ready for me.
I get out of the car and instantly get hit by this aroma…it smelled like something only fit for Kings. The smell in itself lured me to her door. I was salivating when she opened the door, smiling at me, she nodded her head in greeting, and welcomed me into her home.
“What is that smell? It smells….it smells so appetizing.”
“Oh, that is our dinner. Come on in to the dining room and we can dig in!”
I step into the dining room and see 4 plates sat out stacked high with red juicy meat. Almost like it came straight off of livestock, and onto the plates.
“I want to introduce you to my new family. At the end of the table is Emanuel, and sitting next to him is Susan. Emanuel, Susan, this is our new brother Jacob, he’s almost out of food, so I figured he could eat with us for now on.”
Without looking away from the plate, I raise my hand in a wave, and say Hi.
“Come on over and sit next to Susan, Jacob. She doesn’t bite too hard.”
I sit down and the plate seemed to be the only thing in my vision. I pick up the biggest club of meat I’d ever seen and bit into it. The feeling from the dream came to me, and it was pure ecstasy. Never before had I tasted something so good. I felt the nourishment almost immediately.
“What did you put in this? None of my meat tastes like this…this is…is…I don’t even know how to explain it! What kind of meat is this anyway?” I asked.
Silence filled the room, and I look up from my plate to look at everyone. Everyone was in mid-bite when I had asked the question, and everyone just froze. Jasmine set her club of meat down slowly and wiped the blood from around her mouth. I looked at the other two and saw their mouths covered in blood as well.
“Well dear…I was hoping you wouldn’t ask, but since you did, you first have to promise us that you won’t tell any one where we get our meat, and what it is.”
“I don’t want anyone else but us to know where this food is. The more people we tell, the less will become available to us!”
“Right you are about that…well Jacob. Me and you are sharing the same meat host, and Emanuel and Susan are sharing a meat host.”
“What is a meat host?” I asked.
“A human of course!” She said laughingly….