I’ve seen the Eater crawling back to his hut from the darkness, contorting and shuddering. We owe him for that. I’ve heard the madness that boils on the Eater’s tongue when he drinks of the froth from the bone-rattle tree. He is the only one who dares to taste it. I’ve seen him walk across the village as though he’s forgotten in which direction lies the earth and which the sky. He goes into the woods alone. After a time, his body has always returned. But he–the Eater I know or think I know, the laughing Eater with his clever tricks and dances–he stays away for even longer, unable to speak or unwilling, somewhere we can never go or see.
Never, that is, unless one of us follows him.
About the Author
Michael J. DeLuca attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005, helps run the indie ebook site Weightless Books, has volunteered at Small Beer Press for longer than he cares to admit, and is a member of the Homeless Moon writers’ cabal. His short stories have appeared in Interfictions, Apex, Clockwork Phoenix and The Future Fire. If you like this story, you might try his series of centaur westerns, which are similarly Classics-infused and brutal, and can be found in the archives (some in audio form) at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Also check out Literary Beer at the Small Beer website and his profile at Writertopia for a list of previous work.
About the Narrator
Laurice White is a recent theater graduate and long time theater student, and has read stories for Podcastle, Pseudopod, and most recently for John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey on The End is Nigh and The End is Now, the first two volumes of The Apocalypse Triptych.