Friday, March 26, 2010

The Hunger

by Peggy Nolan

"Without a sense of time, how would we function in this world?" I let the question hang in the air as I stare at my undergraduate class of bright, eager, and yet all too vacant students.
"Anyone?" I ask as I look around the room.
One of my students sitting in the back row clears his throat. Another taps a pencil on her knee. I shift my gaze towards three students in the front row. A young woman with brilliant green eyes and glossy red lips twirls her auburn hair. She smiles as we make eye contact. I allow my gaze to linger on the curve of her creamy white neck.
I turn to the black-board; my tweed jacket covered in chalk dust, and write "Eckhart Tolle" in big square letters. "Did anyone actually read the assignment?"
Chair legs squeak on the floor. Someone in the back row giggles. I underline Tolle's name and drop my piece of chalk. I feel slightly queasy. "Did anyone see him on Oprah the other day?"
The girl with the green eyes raises her hand and snaps her gum.
"You..." I point at her as I grab the student roster from the lecture podium. "Sophie Williamson, right?"
She nods and snaps her gum again.
My gaze drops to her delicious neckline for a second time. "She's too young," I think as I feel a thud where my stomach used to be. I brush the sleeve of my tweed jacket across my forehead and breathe in a trail of stale chalk dust.
"Anyone else?" I ask, fumbling for my handkerchief.
Three more hands shoot up.
"Good," I scratch my nose. "At least we've got a quorum."
Sophie raises her hand. I notice her nails; painted a deep purple, almost black, filed short and squared off. "Yes, Ms. Williamson?" I inhale more dust and cough. I reach for my bottle of water, unscrew the cap, and take a sip.
"If I had no sense of” she pauses and snaps her gum again.
I catch a hint of cinnamon, Big Red perhaps. Or maybe Dentyne.
"I wouldn't know when to go to class, right?" She tilts her head to the right and smiles, showing off her perfectly straight white teeth.
"Riiiiight." I can’t take my eyes off the pulsing blue vein on the side of her neck. Transfixed by the imaginary taste of her oxygenated blood, I struggle to maintain the equanimity that took me nearly two hundred years to cultivate. I can feel my carefully crafted sense of enlightened poise unravel inside my mind.
"And,” Sophie continues, “I wouldn't know how long to bake the lasagna or when to serve the Mellini."
I can hear the sound of her mascara coated eyelashes crash together as she gives me a slow unsophisticated wink. I watch as she shifts in her seat, lifting her skirt as she crosses her right leg over her left, exposing a hint of her well-toned luscious thigh. In the dark recess of my mind, I hear the echoes of my savage past. A past I thought I had banished forever. “A slow drink on her Femoral artery to tempt my taste buds? Or perhaps I should go straight for the jugular and dispense with the formalities of a civilized feeding.” Oh I can taste her now.
“Patience!” I chide myself. My hand shakes with anticipation, releasing tiny particles of even more chalk dust into the air. I notice the miniscule hairs on my knuckles stand up as my cold skin tingles with anticipation. I flick my tongue across the tips of my fangs as the back of my throat and the insides of my cheeks begin to salivate. I clinch my hands into fists…it’s all I can do to maintain control.
I glance at the clock. The sound of the minute hand roars in my ears. “Well,” I say, “It appears that only Ms. Williamson has grasped the basic concepts of the assignment.” I glimpse at the roster and pick a few names. “Davis, Watson, and the rest of you - be prepared to discuss chapter two on Wednesday evening.”
“Professor Gaines?” I’m not sure if it’s Davis or Watson.
“Yes?” I turn. It’s Davis.
“You just want us to read chapter two?”
I nod my head and clear my throat. “Class dismissed. Ms. Williamson?”
“Yes Professor?” she looks up as she gathers her books.
“If you don’t mind, a word before you leave.” A hunger I haven’t felt in centuries burns deep inside my hollow core. I walk from my lecture podium to her front row desk. "Dinner?” I ask. Sophie arches her right eyebrow and shifts her gaze down and then back up at me. She gives a quick nod of her head and I glimpse a half smile. I can smell trace elements of iron as the symphonic sound of her blood dances on my eardrums.
“The Mellini,” I say, handing Sophie her notebook, “sounds delicious.”
All rights are retained by the author.


  1. Nadine,

    Thanks so much for hosting this contest and to all the judges for taking their time to read all the entries!

    (I still can't believe I won!)


  2. Congratulations Peggy! The entry is good! So you won. Believe it and enjoy!!!!

  3. Brilliant little story! Well done Peggy. Carrie

  4. Peggy,
    I find you amazing. Congratulations!

  5. Well done Peggy! Thanks for letting us read it, you deserved to win.

  6. Peggy, OF COURSE you won, you are a superb writer and my head is getting big too to personally know such a great author. So hurry up with your book will you?

  7. Goodness, I posted before I left for work this morning and it isn't here. Check your mail, Peggy (and Jo and Don) and you will believe.

    Welcome to the new visitors and huggs to the repeats. I love you guys!

  8. Hi Peggy and Nadine .. Peggy - well done .. such a 'fun' story .. twisted and turned .. and Nadine - good choice of a winner.

    Hae lovely weekends .. Hilary

  9. I've started thinking about different ways I can take this Sophie really that innocent? Is the Professor being set up? Will he catch on before it's too late?


    OK Wilma - the book is coming!!

  10. Peggy, I bet she isn't so innocent!

  11. I don't think she's innocent either. Great story Peggy, I enjoyed it.

  12. Congratulations, Peggy!! Wonderful story!!