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He stepped out of the window and immediately broke into a run having completed the easiest heist of his long criminal life. Within the black bag, the object slapped against his thigh as he crossed the well-manicured lawn of the estate. Shrouded by layers of darkness, he has no fear of k-9’s, guardsmen or alarms because he had been informed that the owner didn’t have any.

As the thief raced through the grove that lead to the brick wall, the conversation he had overheard replayed in his head. In a drunken ramble, the man at the bar said, “My f-ing friend is an idiot. He has this thing. (hic) it’s worth millions and he keeps it in his freaking (hic) house.”

The man’s companion sipped sloppily from his beer and responded, “Really? Where does he live?”

“Ha, ha. The big house at (hic) the top of the hill. You thinking of robbing him?”

“Nah, …well…not tonight anyway.”

“You should. (hic) He doesn’t believe in alarms. He says (hic) he doesn’t need’em. You believe that crap?”

“Why not?”

“He says the (hic) the thing is cursed and it’s all the protection he needs.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” his companion laughed. “Are you kidding me?”

“No shit. (hic) He’s very superstitious by nature and he (hic) believes in all that hooey I guess.”

“Hooey. That’s exactly what it is,” the thief laughed as he leapt onto the eight-foot wall, but as he swung his legs over it, he felt a pinch, or perhaps a digging into his side.

He fell nearly the whole eight feet with only the bushes to slow his decent. “Some thief” he thought, picking himself up and brushing off. He looked around to make sure the noise didn't cause any unwanted attention. He was thankful this was a solo job, that could have been one of those stories that stuck with a guy. He made sure to stay out of site, and made his way to his car a few blocks down the street. Quietly getting in and starting it up, he drove away with the headlights off for a few blocks.

He nearly couldn't contain his excitement. He was grinning from ear to ear. He reached down into the bag to pull out the funny looking ... thing. He wasn't really sure what it was. Maybe some sort of sculpture or art. Whatever it was, it was obviously old and the jewels alone were worth a fortune. When he pulled to raise it into sight, he felt it pull on his side. It wouldn't come. Suddenly, and now quite somberly, Jeff knew there was a problem. He again tried to pull it out of the bag and still, it refused to let go. With panic setting in, he couldn't think clearly. He wanted this thing gone, and fast. That conversation with the drunk didn't seem so funny now.

Jeff put his foot down on the gas. He wanted to go see Mike, his fence and one of the few people he trusted. Mike had often been able to help Jeff out when he was on the run, and as long as Big Mike had been fencing, maybe he would know what to do about this.

Another sharp pain sent Jeff swerving into a mailbox before he wrestled control back from the car. Now he was sweating, his heart beating hard and fast. To make matters worse, there was now a cop behind him, flashing his lights. Jeff tried to calm down, gain some composure but he felt this thing reaching inside of him. It felt like it was squeezing his internal organs. He could feel it moving through his body. He was terrified to look down. Jeff pulled over, and the Cop pulled in behind him.

It seemed like forever before the Cop got out of his car and came over. The pain was immense now. “I gotta get outta here”, he thought, “I could just drive off. Damn, he's probably running my plates”

He knew he wouldn't be able to run, so he brushed his hair back, and tried to calm down. He's been pinched more than his share of times and new how to deal with the cops. He'd just take the ticket for speeding and move on.

The Cop strolled up to the car window and tapped it with his flash light, pointed for Jeff to roll down the window.

"License and gegistration son"

"Certainly Officer" Jeff said while reaching over to his glove box.

The Cop moved his light around to see what was in the car. Jeff could barely swallow. His ass was drawn up so tight he was sure he was going to tear something. He handed the Cop his license and registration.

The Cop put the light on his ID, then flashed it into Jeff's face. The Cop nearly fell over while trying to back away, and Jeff could feel himself reaching for the Cop. Not with his hands, but with his mind. He had never felt more focused. Before the Cop could get more than a step or two away, red knotted and twisted tendrils shot out from Jeff's mouth, piercing the Cop through the throat, chest and head. With a thought, Jeff pulled him back to the car. In his mind, Jeff took a deep breath, breathing in the life of the cop. He could feel himself getting stronger, filling him with power. It was quite a rush.

Jeff let the Cops body fall to the pavement and pulled away. He never felt so good in his life. He could see farther than before. He felt ten years younger. He could feel the warm glow of life that he'd just taken, coursing through him.

“I'm no killer” he thought, “what is this thing doing to me.” He felt a moment of panic, but then the bliss returned. He could feel this thing reach out to him, and calm his mind. “It's going to be okay”, Jeff kept repeating in his mind. “You're fine”

Jeff pulled into Big Mike's place. With a quick glance to make sure he wasn't followed, he went inside.

"Mike, man, I'm glad to see you. You won't believe the shit I've been through tonight".

Mike had a loop over his eye and was looking at some diamonds. He was licking his lips at the thought of the money they would bring. "So, did you get it? Lets see it then" He said without blinking from what he was doing.

Jeff reached into the bag and realized the thing was missing. He started to panic as he realized the item was gone. “Calm”

"Yeah, Mike, I got it. “Hunger”. Take a look.

Big Mike pushed the loop up to his forehead where it seemed to be at home. He walked over to Jeff and put his hand on his shoulder. "Well, Lets see it"

Jeff felt his mind tingle as he reached out again. The tendrils followed, this time more quickly and pierced Big Mike. He barely got off a groan before he fell silent as Jeff drank the life from him. As the tendrils returned, Mike's body hit the ground with quite a thud. They didn't call him Big Mike cause he was a little guy.

Jeff felt the warm buzzing again, and He liked it. He felt sick about what he'd done, but the feeling he was having now was better. And he could feel the urge already growing to do it again. He felt something reaching up from within him. Touching his mind.


Chrispian H. Burks
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The following comments are for "Write Off: Hunger Within"
by Chrispian

Felt rushed
I thought it all happened to fast. The part about the cop seemed rushed. Too much happening all at once. I didn't buy into it. The thought that you would suck the life out of a cop and then just drive on to meet your fence didn't ring true. It seemed he would have spent more time in astonishment. Even if he felt the need to drive on quickly due to what had just happened...I still think he would have a pause at some point to shit his pants or something. I know it's got to be a short story, so I give you credit for that, I just thought you should have spread out the events a little more so as to have it happen a little more slowly to the guy...first the funny feeling...then perhaps the desire to kill...then the kill...then the exhileration. Instead you made all that happen in one paragraph.


( Posted by: Jeff [Member] On: January 28, 2002 )

nicely done.
I like the way it reads. I also like the thought that he stole something and that it stole him. (kinda.) I'm kinda curious as to how something so malevolent could exist in the previous owners house without corruting/getting him? I would have thought the curse would've taken him out as well.....

good concept though.

( Posted by: kross [Member] On: January 31, 2002 )

Very enjoyable
When I first read this story, it really blew me away and I'm actually surprised that it hasn't received higher scores. But oh well, that's why ice cream comes in different flavors.

I thought this story moved exceptionally well, and it turned my cliched starter into a very interesting read. Well done.


( Posted by: Richard Dani [Member] On: February 1, 2002 )

Better Late Than Never
I read your 2002 story in 2010 which makes me very "late" and it was "NEVER BETTER".....Very good with great mystery. Indeed you are talented. Thank You....

( Posted by: JetfireK [Member] On: May 25, 2010 )

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