The Beast Inside

The fiery-haired woman rinsed her hands under the scalding hot water, wincing with each movement. The light above began to flicker, darkening the dingy roadside washroom as she scrubbed the dirt and skin away. Each flicker brought back her memories, each flicker brought it closer to the surface.

‘I am the poison in your veins.’

She shot her head up, staring deep into the green eyes reflected in the mirror. She ground her teeth tight and furrowed her brow, the water still burning the skin away. Burning the last two weeks away. For a moment, she missed the days when her face had fewer wrinkles and creases. When she had nothing to worry about besides a job and school. And then the light flickered once more.

‘I am the desire in your eyes, the craving in your heart.’

She hurried her scrubbing, tearing skin off of bone as she desperately tugged at any semblance of vein she could find. One by one she pulled on the veins in her hands, hoping for the slightest hint of relief. The voice was in her blood, she knew.

‘I am the force that drives you, the life which eludes you. I am everything inside of you and all that surrounds you.’

Her hands torn and bloodied, she shakily reached up and held them in front of her face. “Eyes, heart, everything inside and all around.” She repeated the words through shaking breaths. She would happily sacrifice her eyes if it meant a moment of silence, but her heart? Her insides? The woman’s wish to be free was matched only by a will to live. She was at a loss. She let loose a scream, the only noise for miles. A large man burst into the woman’s washroom, a wrench in hand.

“Ma’am are you alri— Jesus Christ!” The truck driver dropped the tool upon witnessing the woman in the mirror. Her hands were red from the burns and blood, the veins having been forcefully pulled out. Several nails had been removed from her fingers, whether intentionally or not he could not know. She raised her head and met his eyes in the reflection, her lips quivering at the sight. Her eyes swallowed him, deeper and more insatiable than any ocean. He was hers.

‘I am the hunger you fear and the fire inside. I am all that sustains you. Go, fan the flames and sate the hunger.’

Like a light switch flipping from off to on, she turned to face him, the need outweighing every thought and worry she had. She savoured every moment of the man in her eyes, every beat of his heart and every breath he took. She could drown in this feeling if it let her. The feeling of anticipation, of knowing what’s to come. Of desire. But she had to listen. She had to feed the beast inside and continue moving.

“L-lady—“ Before he could utter another word, she was gone before his eyes. And just as quickly, she was there, close enough to feel his breath. His scream broke the silence outside of the rest stop for just a moment, but a moment was all that she needed for the drug she craved. The poison she couldn’t live without. She knew she was running out of time before the beast inside reduced her mind to need and instinct, but so long as she could feel the rush, she would not find the energy to care.

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