By Kimberlee Akimoto
Lily Beauvais stared at the odd business card and wondered what a “Hunger Demon” was. It was a simple white card with a website address and a phone number printed in red lettering. She contemplated looking it up on the Internet, but suddenly realized the time and threw it into the box with the rest of Mr. Terkel’s things.
The mystery of Mr. Terkel’s unusual predicament had been the topic du jour for watercooler conversations these past two weeks. The facts were thus: Mr. Terkel exited a Greek diner on W. 7th and Inferno Way on the night of August 6th and walked right into the path of an oncoming cab. He was currently in a coma at Cedars-Sinai. Lily visited him once with a few of her co-workers shortly after the accident. He seemed oddly at peace for a man in a coma; his thin lips curved slightly into a smile. At the time, Lily remembered being struck with a sudden image of Terkel’s snake-like tongue slithering up her spine. The image lasted only for a moment, but it haunted her. Before the accident, Lily would catch Mr. Terkel watching her and that too still haunted her. She wouldn’t admit it aloud, but she was glad he was no longer at the office.
Lily took the last box of Mr. Terkel’s things to the file room. A new associate would be moving into his office the following week. She was usually the last to leave, though not because of an unbearable workload. The truth was she had nothing else. The only thing waiting for her was a chilly apartment and a cat that barely tolerated her company. This thought brought back the familiar feeling of emptiness in the pit of her belly. There was a hollow there and an unrelenting ache and craving for something. She didn’t know what that “something” was; all she knew was that she had a hunger that she could not sate.
She sighed as she turned off her computer. Her routine was rote and the thought of decades more spent like this made her sometimes entertain the thought of ending it all. Two things kept her from doing it: (1) a staunch Catholic upbringing and (2) a tiny sliver of hope that things would get better. Hope for her was a silvery thread that she clung to, but she felt her grasp slipping.
9:05pm. She had six minutes to catch the train home so she sprinted to the Metro station. Just when she saw the train in sight, Lily’s heel caught in a crack in the pavement and she felt herself being propelled forward with only the lonely L.A. air to catch her.
She waited for the inevitable impact but it never arrived. Instead, she felt herself caught and lifted in one fell swoop. It happened so quickly that no one noticed her disappearance into the night sky.
Saul Reaver, Hunger Demon #666-13, returned to the Greek Diner and picked pieces of Lily from his pointed teeth (his own hollow filled and his craving for something other than Greek food finally sated).
“Just as I imagined,” he thought to himself. “Slightly poisonous, but oh so very tasty.”
The Hunger Demon headed towards his usual perch in the corner booth but stopped short when he noticed that someone was already sitting there. The man had his back turned to him but Saul recognized the stench immediately. He reflexively turned to signal Alexia and Nikos but they were both mysteriously missing.
It looked like he was on his own and Saul did not like that.
He did not like that at all.