March 31st, 2007
Ghost Boy watched the feast.
The Blue Eye hovered over the corpse, dropping white milk-tears. The tears corroded the flesh, souping it to a frothy gel which was easier for the green medusa to lap up.
The Medusa in turn fed the eye, coating it with the liquefied flesh. The Blue Eye soaked it up like bread soaking up vinegar.
Ghost Boy was shaking. He’d expected this of the Medusa, which he’d never trusted. Those slinky snake mouths with their winking venom-wet fangs.
But the Blue Eye — this was different. He never imagined the Blue Eye would kill and eat like this, do something so base, so visceral. Ghost Boy had thought the Blue Eye was one of the good guys. A wanderer like Ghost Boy, stuck in the forest and just trying to survive. Without a thought to eating, killing, devouring. Just another lost spirit. A friend to have, confess to and hope with. Not this. Ghost boy felt sick inside.
“How could you do this?” he suddenly yelled from his hidden copse. “How could you eat another living thing like that?”
Both creatures started, and dropped their food.
“He was dead when we found him,” said the Medusa. “And we’re hungry. Why are you so upset?”
“Blue Eye, I’ve been looking all my life for you,” cried out Ghost Boy, “and now you’re here, right before me, sucking up the flesh of the dead, feeding on flesh like a fungus, like a rot, a buzzard, a parasite. I wanted you to be something different, something better, something to help get me out of this forest, a friend for me, not a beast, a bug.”
The Blue Eye stopped dropping its acid-tears and wept real tears of sorrow. “I’m sorry,” the Blue Eye said, “I was hungry, and there was food here to eat. I never knew you were looking for me. I never knew how much I mattered to you. I can still be your friend, even if I’m not as perfect as you thought I was.”
Ghost Boy pulled out his bow.
“I don’t want your friendship anymore. Stop it now or I’ll kill you both.”
“What is it Ghost Boy,” said the Medusa, “What is it that bothers you so much? Is it that Blue Eye is eating dead flesh we came across by chance? Did you think he was a Spirit, a God, something above normal animal needs? Did you think he was insubstantial, removed from the normal objectives of living organisms? He is none of those things. He’s a simple creature like me, hungry when he’s hungry, thirsty when he’s thirsty, and if you aren’t willing to accept that, then you cannot possibly accept yourself, you who we’ve seen feasting on swine that you’ve shot and killed, roasting rabbit, and skewering sparrows on sticks.”
Ghost Boy drew an arrow in anger.
“Stop eating now, both of you,” he said, “Or I’ll kill you.”
“I’m sorry,” the Blue Eye said, continuing to eat, “I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted. Forgive me.”
Ghost Boy shot the Blue Eye through the pupil, and sent another arrow clean through the Medusa’s mouth. Both creatures fell in a heap, covering the corpse they had been feeding on.
He stood still for some time.
Eventually he approached the pile, shuddering, cold. He squatted down, looked around to see if anyone was watching, then began filling his mouth with great handfuls of flesh, making sure to stir it all up, eye, medusa and corpse combined.