It’s him. The opportunist. The leech. A damn traitor, really.


Turn around and he won’t be here.

Turn around and he won’t be here.

He is just a voice in her head.

His body is in her head, too.

She turns around.

Void is there, holding a fork in front of his face, looking at it hungrily, or quizzically.  There is no telling, really.

He doesn’t look good.  He holds the fork with his only remaining hand.  His left arm is shorn at the elbow, and his torso floats leg-height from the floor, his waist ending at a bloodless diagonal tear like the cragged base of some volcanic rock.  All that remains of his legs is his upper right thigh.  The spirals churn slowly, freezing intermittently, his broken body glitching.

Some cousin of pity twitches in her.

“Don’t eat that,” she says, and takes the fork from him.

At least, she thinks she does.  She looks at the fork, crusted with the remains of her breakfast.  If Void isn’t here, and he can’t be, did she just pick it up off the coffee table?  Did her mind skip forward, past that part?  Because she doesn’t remember it.  Try as she might, she can’t remember it.

She flings the fork away from her onto the counter, like it was covered in maggots.

“I’m hungry,” he says.

She plugs her ears with her index fingers.  “So hungry,” she can faintly hear him say.  That horrible voice.  If it’s in her head, what good is plugging her ears?

She removes her fingers.

“What are you going to feed me?”

“Nothing.”  She grabs her lips as if she could stop her voice from entering the room.  It can’t be good to reply to voices in your head, can it?  Having imaginary friends was perfectly normal as a child, but at what age does it stop being normal?  Is there some Handbook for the Recently Schizophrenic?

“I’ll die if you don’t.”

“Maybe I want you to die.”

There she is, responding again.  At least, she thinks she’s responding.  How can she trust that she’s even audible?  Could the whole exchange be in her head?  Of course, she’d seen the men on the street, haggard and sunburnt, shouting at the wind.  No, the responding is real.

She pinches herself repeatedly.  Wake up, Beddy.  Wake up.  She knows she used to dream about him, long after she locked him outside. Those were dreams, right?

“When did you last eat?”

“When you last fed me.”

She gasps. “But that’s been years.”

“Years aren’t so long. It’s the days that are the longest.”

“How did you survive?”

“I ate myself.”


“My body is surprisingly nourishing.”

She had thought of eating her fingers before, of course, but always in rage, never out of hunger.  Start with the pinky, the easiest to bite through, and when that popped off in her mouth, and the blood sprayed out onto her face like from a split hose, then her bullies would pay attention.  This is what they were doing to her.  She would show her teacher a mouthful of fingers.  They needed to know how it felt.

“What did you taste like?” she says.