He looks at her, astonishment written across his face. He reaches out and touches her face causing her to stir from her unconscious state. He strokes her hair, feels her nose, and rubs his fingers over her lips.
“So beautiful,” he whispers. Her eyes start to open and close, trying to get use to the light that’s in the room, what little there is. A putrid smell reaches her nose.
He stops touching her face and walks away from her. He goes over to the fridge and opens up the door revealing bags filled with red meat that looks like ground beef. He pulls out a juice box, sticks a straw into it, and then walks back over to the girl. He presses the straw to the girl’s lips. She eagerly starts to drink.
“Slow,” he says. “Don’t want you to choke, do we now?” She stops drinking and blinks. The world is coming into focus for her now, he thinks.
“Who are you?” she asks, still blinking. Such beautiful eyes. They don’t seem scared, not yet anyway.
“You don’t know?” he mocks a gasp and backs away from her. “Can it be true? Have I finally met someone who doesn’t know who I am?” His voice becomes louder as he continues talking, “What? Don’t you read the newspapers? HAH! That’s funny. A rich, snobby, sophisticated woman reading the newspapers. Television, then. Surely you must watch the news on the tube!” he yells and she jumps, pulling on the ropes that are holding her in place. He sees that her eyes are focused now, but he knows he’s in the shadows so the only thing she can see is his silhouette.
“I’ll give you a hint,” he lowers his voice, but makes sure that she can still hear him over her cries for help. They weren’t screams, not yet. “Recently, I’ve been on the front page, the first news story on the TV. Normally, my picture is accompanied by a saying. ‘If you see this man, run’.” He grins.
Now her cries become something deeper. Something that tells him she’s afraid. That she knows who he is. From a newspaper? Nah. A TV? Not likely. A friend then, someone who feigned worry and just gossiped.
“Who am I?” he asks. He steps a little close to her, but makes sure to stay in the shadows. The everlasting shadows where anyone can hide. The lonely, the heart broken, the poor, the scared, the monsters of the real world, he thinks.
“Come on, ya know who I am, I can tell. Say it! Tell me!” he shouts, making her jump and now her cries become sobs.
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the knife, the 6-inch blade that has worked so many miracles for him. He steps closer to the light, hugging it almost. He reaches out and tilts the knife back and forth, the light reflecting off of the blade. “Come on!” he shouts again. “Say my name! Say it loud so all the deaf ears in the room can here ya!”
She sobs a little bit more, but finally regains control of herself. She starts to tell him, “You’re the guy that…” involuntary sobs break the rest of her sentence off. Then she says, “the guy that Melinda told me about. The…” sobs break her speech again.
“The what?” he shouts, pride filling him because now he knew people knew about him. He smiles again, this time because he guessed right about where she had heard of him from. “Say…it!” he yells again but pronounces each world clearly and with a certain amount of threat behind them.
“The cannibal!” she yells, more in fear than in anger. “Sam the Cannibal. You kidnap people, women mostly, and you kill them. The press only knows that you eat your victims because of the places you’ve abandoned and the half-eaten body parts still rotting away there.” She pauses. Her eyes go wide and her breathing is becoming irregular, almost as though she’s hyperventilating. “No. Please. Don’t. It’s not fair!” she cries out, but this time it is little more than a whisper. He hears her anyway.
He steps out of the darkness and into the light. She sees his face and lets loose a silent scream. He smiles, the patches of skin that cover his face, stitched together and stretching in inhuman ways. He walks up to her and pulls her head near his and, although she struggles, licks the side of her face, tasting the salty sweat that is dripping from her forehead.
“Mhmmm,” he says, “Delicious.” She cries out again lowers her head to her chest. “I think,” he says, “I’ll eat you as a Thanksgiving feast. Your brains will serve as the cranberry sauce, your eyes as the mashed potatoes…” he pauses. “After I mash them up of course. Then I’ll roast your body, and carve it. I know you’ll be good.” She cries harder, but he just smiles. He reaches over and turns on the light switch, immediately illuminating the once dark room.
Her eyes practically bulge out of her head. The ceiling is covered in dismembered ears, the floor is human hide, the walls are covered with hundreds of faces with their empty eye sockets staring at her, and all around the room there are empty water bottles with crimson droplets still in them.
He walks behind her and grabs her by the hair, pulling her up so his mouth touches her ear. He whispers, “I will never abandon this house.” He laughs hysterically as she struggles to free herself from his grasp. He takes his 6-inch blade and cuts her throat.