The Cannibals (story by R.C. Peris)

I was hot and weary. The bugs were consuming me. We hadn’t eaten in a day. We didn’t know what we could eat around us. Everything seemed so strange. Giant jungle rats ran before us. It made us pause. The jungle blocked the sunlight. I didn’t know what time of day it was.

I saw a shadow in front of me. A dart whizzed by my cheek. I looked back. The dart went straight through one of my companions’ neck. He fell to the ground. I yelled out in Spanish that we come in peace. I tried various Indian dialects. The shadow appeared. All the shadows in the jungle appeared. They offered their hand and led the three of us remaining.

When we got to their camp I saw human bodies roasting. They were cannibals. I was introduced to the Chief. He had a crucifix around his neck along with other beads and baubles. He knew Spanish. I introduced myself.

“Why are you seeking?” he asked.

I shrugged. “We are all seeking. I seek every day. I don’t know why. It’s who I am.”

The Chief laughed. “Let’s feast.”

They carved up human flesh. I felt revulsion at the meat in my hands. I was starving and hungry. But I hesitated.

The Chief laughed. “Pretend it is the body of that man…what do you call him…Jesus Christ. It is his body you are consuming.”

I ate the flesh and swallowed. My hunger lessened but I felt empty. It was like communion. You took something in, satisfied in something small, but still needed everything. Tomorrow I would continue through the jungle. Seeking something. I don’t know what. My life is seeking.

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