Henry could smell them even before he opened his eyes. The smell overrode any thoughts he might have had of dreaming it all. It was a putrid gassy mix of rotting meat and mildew that hung over him, pulsing, undeniable, and real.
He tried to focus. What was the last thing he could remember before the reek? He had chased a man and a woman across a field. She was wounded. He had smelled the blood even over his own stench. Henry had been hungry. So hungry. He had ached with it, he still felt hollow, but the pain had subsided. He realized he could taste the rotting meat on his tongue as well as smell it and his stomach clenched, but there was nothing to vomit. When he thought of what he had meant to do to the woman, to the man too, if he caught them made his stomach cramp again, but whether it was from nausea or hunger he couldn’t tell. Have I shaken off my madness at last? He wondered.
And what about the others? Henry had seen them from the corners of his eye as he ran across the field. They had been only competition then, and he would have eaten any one of them if they had been easier to catch. Were they still sick? Had he awakened only to be devoured by them instead? His muscles stiffened painfully as a weak splash of adrenaline hit them. Not enough energy to run now. If they didn’t eat him, he’d die of starvation anyway.
Henry risked opening his eyes just a crack. A mountain of brown hair shuffled around about an arm’s length from him. He stopped breathing. It seemed to sway for a moment and then a thin brown arm reached out for something. The hand was missing its last two fingers and the arm was little more than a wrinkled stick. He opened his eyes a little more so he could see what it was trying to grab.
Henry started to sit up as he saw the hand reaching for a pile of boxed food on a nearby table.
“I wouldn’t do that,” growled a thick voice to his left. The hairy thing’s arm and Henry both froze.
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