Tiger in a Suit: A Way Out

by Chantelle Tibbs
read it in the correct order

 

It all started with what I assumed was an innocent question. Which began with a minor curiosity as they often do. One day when my love was licking the blood from a wound he had inflicted on my left rib, I simply asked,
“What does blood taste like?
“Do you really want to know? It’s not something I could explain.”
“Why do you need it so badly?”
“Everything good is outside of me. I must consume it all.”
I thought for a second.
“Would you teach me to hunt?”
He laughed.
“No.”
I continued to let him lick my wound. But thoughts are threads and they pull together great fabric, stitch by stitch. In the back of my head, or maybe more in the front than I would have liked to admit, I knew I wasn’t the only one he pounced upon. So one night when he was too hungry to take precaution, I followed him on a hunt. My curiosity out burned my jealousy as I watched him pounce on others like me over and over again. For more nights than I can remember, I practiced his lurk, his linger, his stealth in open fields.

 

Her name was Jessica. I’ll never forget her eyes. The pupils stay dilated, black dots slapped into green circles. My tiger ran off after this mauling leaving her particularly wounded, immobile and stranded. I gathered all my courage and made my way over to her. She was lying upon an old mattress on the first floor of the dilapidated house I had been peering inside. As I crept in close, I could hear her teeth hit one another as she shivered in the dark.
“Who is there?”
“A friend.”
I knelt down. We were now face to face.
“He’s gone isn’t he?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Would you do me a favor and please kill me?”
“What?”
“I think you heard correct.”
“Oh. Can I taste…can I taste it first?”
“What?”
“I think you heard correct.”
“Will you promise to kill me after?”
“Yes.”
“Promise?”
“Yes.”
I licked her wounds clean. I bandaged her with love, put her clothes on and sang her sweet hymns. All the while her blood making its way down my throat, into my stomach, through my veins, into the backs of my eyes, turning me. Once you get the taste for it, you know you will never be the same. Pounced upon, ravaged or ripped apart. It’s a low hum of a lack of feeling, the emptiness of giving yourself over and over again. Even lower to pretend it’s not so bad. So when I got a choice, a way out, I can see why I took it. I held Jessica while she cried. In one swift blow she never saw coming, I made a new hole in her and left her to bleed out as promised.

 

Years later I saw the tiger I once loved crossing a busy street. When his eyes met mine, his shoulders slumped and he retreated at the sight of my dominance. As I turned to keep walking it became clear he didn’t recognize me.

 

 

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