Emperor, Flesh
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I stare at the man hanging above the drain of my rot room. His struggling has finally ended. His body, lean in the perfect places, fatty in the tastiest, stares at me with eyes coated in crimson and cloudy with the nearness of death. The draining is always the worst part of the whole endeavor, the mess. His throat lies open and drooling pretentiously. Why can’t there be a button I can press to make it start?

It took so long for him to escape. I let him. I knew what he would do. I laughed when he tripped over the barbed wire in the backyard, the autumn leaves sprung up by his whimpering and fat heels.

I run the carving knife down, down, through his abdominals. The toned muscle splits willingly at the behest of my blade. His skin is pure and beautiful. I will treasure it forever.

The hunting tool sat sturdily in my hands. The callouses met the handle with joy. I grin with sickly grace as I begin the hunt. Gallop, gallop across the ground.

His chest is split, and the innards are displayed before me. My hands slide between the ribs, gripping them. I pull. Crack, snap, shatter. His still—beating heart quickens, quickens, adrenaline speeding, blood pumping and spouting. My expertise means no veins were hit. The meat will be fresh and spicy.

Broken branches. Scattered clothes. Single moments. I track, I hunt. I smell his sweat on the wind and my heart quickens with glee.

The news blares. I grin as my bets, my stocks, increase in value, doubling quickly. The neat kitchen around me is my safe haven, but sometimes the warblers grant me small gifts. I grip his lungs, the intense narcotics and sedatives running through his system meaning the flesh will have a distinct lack of lactic acid. Grant me my gift, O Odin, and the serenity of the flesh. I take my tongs in one hand, my shears in the other. The amphetamines have hit. His eyes are saucers, body soft like velvet. I smile.

I see him sitting in the hollow of a cave. He pants. I smile. I let his eyes search for a moment, before revealing myself.

The liver. The kidneys. The intestines. The sweetmeats. I harvest with abandon, grinning gleefully. Ample flesh. My hand is careful and guided, extracting every morsel, ensuring no excess blood spatter across my chest.

He stands. I run. He dashes. I slide. He is sloppy.

They are set aside. I choose a section of the thigh, and begin to cut, hitting the vein. It will not be much longer. I grant him this gift. The crimson fluid drains into the basin, tracing old pathways, flowing quietly across the sheen metal surface.

All of him will be used. None will go to waste.

He swings wildly. My hips slip back. I swing forward, slicing through the air. I connect. I chortle. He screams.

I move on to the rest of the muscle, stripping it away with ease and precision. The bone is exposed now, dark brown framework of the human contraption. I envy none my position, for I see a part of the human meat few ever do.

I let him run away yet again. The blood he spatters makes me giggle like the boy I used to be, before the drugs and surgeries and all the things I did in my quest for my betterment. He cannot hurt me in this form, this feeble human shell of a boy—man. His nudity evades me as he stumbles across a hillside.

I am tempted to begin my consumption already. The joyous event before is too scrumptious to pass up. I wish to dip down, bite the corpse, let the fluids paint a smile on my cheek.

I breathe deeply. He is at least a quarter mile now. I dip down, entering a stance I have practiced since childhood. I can still smell him on the wind, Odin’s blessing giving me strength and stamina and will. I feel his thunder in my veins.

I sprint. He will not escape again.

I resist. My final cuts are delicate, exact as ever, worshiping the flesh, the meat. His head lies a dessicated and open remnant of his former beauty. Jaw cracked and hanging open. Ocular portals lying open. The tongue an empty stump. Every tasty morsel now dissected. I sit, covered in his waste, and sigh.

Simple joys. Long work. Good times.

My legs deny me any simple rest. I eat up the ground like a mulcher, chewing it up and spitting it up behind me as dead leaves and small twigs crackle under my bare claws.

In this moment I am no longer my flesh. I am beyond. The scent of everything occludes me. I see a deep and careful line through the underbrush, his trail, the path to food and consumption and satisfaction. In this moment nothing else matters. The line to the destination is just a journey and a quest I WILL defile and destroy and consume to the fullest extent.


I speed ever faster. I reach his sniveling whimpering flesh. He turns around and cries a sound of fear. It should be one of shame. I strike a final time, hammerhead fist colliding with his medulla oblongata in a precision strike. His physical body goes limp and splatters like the fallen leaves in a cavalcade of broken nerves.

I run past him, letting the energy leave me. I pant. I smile. I chortle. I begin to drag him. His eyes still work, my precision so exact I let the heart beat on as the body is still paralyzed.

This is my design.


The blood has drained away. My cuts are wrapped, meat still lukewarm and the corpse still fresh. Soon I will mulch it, return it to the dust from whence it came. The mile hike home took a lot from me, so I leave the deconstructed body of my prey for another day. The rolling cart takes it to the rot room. I crack my fingers, lithe body striding back to my kitchen space. I have chosen a cut of the thigh.

It is beautifully marbled.

Cherry red.

I begin.

I open one of my cookbooks, my name on the cover making me grin. What my fans would know if they saw me now.

I tie my hair back in a sloppy ponytail. I always feel a slut in this mode of dress. Open to be fucked by the universe. Let her. Who knows. Maybe she will.

I press my hand against the skin, shaved smooth and peaky pink. I contemplate. The pages turn. I stop.

This one. I remember it, as I do every recipe. But I open it just the same.

I place the book on the counter, holding it open with the skull of some cretin. A bad reviewer, if memory serves.

Onions, carrots, arugula, cardamom, thyme, basil, potatoes, milk, all the herbs I can find in the garden the meal trampled.

He will fill me for the night, and days beyond.

My husband arrives home, hugging me tightly. I kiss his cheek. He smiles brightly and observes the perfect cuts. He wraps his hands around my waist as I cube the onions, quartering the carrots. His gentle hums light my soul on fire. This dish must be perfect.

Butter sizzling in the pan. Minute bubbles in the oil. The asparagus butter melts so well in the pan, the little bumps in the cast iron giving it oceans. I stir. I sprinkle herbs, finely chopped, into the near inch of melted butter. Stir some more, infusing flavor. I giggle as his hand goes into my waistband. In Russian dripping with sparkling wine, I respond.

“My love, let me serve you this meat first.”

He giggles and returns to the rot room, ready to remove the offending material. I hear the chipper purr into life.

Grab the meat. The butter sauce is ready. Delicately, I lower the cube of meat down. As it hits the sizzle, the scent, the aroma of cooking meat hits my nose, my mouth waters. The flesh slowly cooks, turning that peculiar shade cooked meat has. So in between other colors. I can never describe it properly. I wait.

I see a photo of us together, his arm around my tree—trunk neck, and my eyes well with tears.

I flip the meat, the now darkened edge presented towards me. Carefully, I repeat this process, making sure to keep the butter from splashing towards me. As I put the skin down, I begin to scatter onions and garlic into butter, the level so much lower, absorbed by the succulent man—flesh. I preheat our oven. Our treasure from the old times.

The onions are stirred and sweated, turning a translucent white, as I put the meat on a small circular baking dish, drizzling it with olive oil and truffle salt and minced rosemary. Into the oven he goes.

The onions and carrots next. The onions will reduce down, melting into the carrots. I begin to peel the potatoes, working hastily and effectively. Each is fourneed and dunked in the pot of cold water, which is then set to boil. Just enough to feed us. No leftovers tonight. .

The pans cooking, I return to my melancholy remembrances. Of when we didn’t have so many wrinkles. Of when we first met, the kiss in that great cyclopean railway tunnel. Of the dankess of our first apartment together. Of the first time we tasted flesh in a dark alley and both knew we could never let go.

The onions are caramelizing now. The potatoes are soft, so I drain them. I sprinkle seasonings and more herbs into the onions— brown sugar, a hint of soy sauce, cinnamon. A teaspoon of vanilla extract. The potatoes are mashed, doused in butter once more. I take the meat from the oven, glistening and golden and the smell so vivid it cuts through my derogatory mind palace and sends me straight to heaven. He returns, flecks of blood on his cuffs, and gasps.

“Mon ami! You have treated me tonight.”

“As I will every night, my love.”

“I’m going to keep you to that promise, my darling.”

“It was on our wedding vows, my darling sunflower.”

“Your cooking on that night was just as divine as it is tonight.”

We kiss and squander away time while the meat rests. I feel every curve, very sinew, every muscle of his delicious body. He handles me like fine china. I carry him like a sack of hundreds, and know I value him far more than any currency. He is my treasure. I am his.

Bliss, at his touch.

Finally, the food is ready. I cut off a slice. Lay it on pure white ceramic, layer mashed potatoes on it in a ring, then dump the carrots and onions in the center, ringing the plate with the buttery sauce. He salivates. We sit.

He cuts in on my creation. He is hungry from the day on his feet. I love him for his voracity. I watch him chew, teeth masticating the meat, and the mixture of spices I can picture in his mind. He shuts his eyes and does that thing with his cheeks where swishes his tongue around a full mouth of food to get all the flavors.

He swallows.

“You master of the craft… you bless me. I love you.”

“I love you too, sweetie.”

One day, when I see life start to fade, when I see him begin to slow, when the flesh becomes not so tender.

He will be on this table.

Our last meal together, and mine forever.

But tonight.

Bliss, at the empty plate.


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