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My Tumor’s Hunger

This selection is paired with “Son of Celluloid” by Clive Barker. Get NonBinary Review #20 at Zoetic Press.


There was a man who collected little bits of me. Strands of my curling hair, a piece of my menstruation, a scraping of my arm. My underwear, the papery shedding of my favorite ovarian tumor (which had a mouth and stomach of its own), an eyelash. This man kept all these parts in a little box beneath his bed. It was his box of totems and he prized it above all. When the man slept above this box, he dreamed of being consumed, piece by piece, always painlessly. He dreamed this eating was done by my mouth, not my tumor’s, although it was my tumor’s hunger. My tumor devoured him without pause, sucking my dry, tossing him down her stomach like he was nothing. My tumor did not even need to gulp. When my tumor ate too much, she slept, and then I went to the man, slipped him inside myself, and just held him there, his body trembling within mine. I wanted to feel every bit of him, his tremors and spasms, and without doing anything, I milked him into me. When the man finally slipped out, my thighs were wet and my cunt dripped. I smelled the chlorine, the musk, of him and then my tumor smelled it, too. She woke within me, stretched out, came creeping along my flesh to reach him. She touched his throat, scratched his tongue, directed him between my legs where he did as she insisted, although he was so tired. I wanted to protect the man from my tumor and I also wanted to take him back into myself, cram all of him within me so that I was stuffed fat. Come inside me, I said and so he came, his hardness hurting me as he thrusted. He did not have to fuck me for long. He slipped in, twitched once, and it was over, his body buried inside, already emptied. My tumor ate him from within me. She extended her tongue, licked slowly, and took all of him. I tasted him through her. I swallowed and my tumor swallowed and together, we swallowed the man up, left him voided within us. My tumor tried pushing him out but I held him where he was, held him tight, did not want to let go because I did not want that hole to open again, could not stand its vacancy…

But this man could only stay within me for so long before he began rotting away. Poor him. How he wept and pleaded but I could not let him go, would not scrape him out. I left him where he was, his flesh melding with mine, turning liquid. I pet his head, caught his tangled hair in my fingers, rubbed his eyes, and he dissolved, his flesh reddening, darkening, blackening. He smelled of old meat, my menstruation, sour milk, all my old pregnancies that went watery with failure. My tumor crept down to him, buried her face in him, sniffed and licked, took his rancid self into her body, ate with full mouth and cramping tongue, ate with sour throat and sour stomach, ate until she could not eat anymore, and then she did, because she was my tumor and nothing was ever enough. She took more than I was able and together, we tore this man to pieces. His taste was on my teeth and his taste was on her gums. This man tasted like chlorine. When he finally slipped from out of me, I caught bits of him in my hands. I held them to my face and I cried while my tumor nestled herself comfortable within my meat. Do not cry, she said but I could not help my grief. How I wanted him to stay a little longer, to keep me stuffed. They never stay, my tumor said. They only ever go away, my tumor said. We must use them, my tumor said. We must eat them up, my tumor said. We must eat and eat and eat…

Once the man’s taste faded from my mouth, I was free. I did not want him anymore, I did not think of him. I did not sleep because my tumor’s howling was so loud. I did not eat because my tumor ate enough for us both. I did not shit because my tumor and I did not produce waste. It was only that my stomach growled with false hunger, with the need to put something between my teeth, and when I hesitated, my tumor directed me to the woods, where the trees bent towards me, raked at my skin, tore me apart (tore me so deep, even my tumor was cut up), and I bled there in the earth, spilled myself to the roots and mud, waited for the men to come creeping from the shadows (that was where they lived, hidden away in those places my tumor and I could not see). When they came, they thought they would be the ones to hurt me. They surrounded me, laughed and hooted, sounded like great beasts, except they were so small to me, so deflated. They grabbed my wrists and squeezed but I felt no pain. They spread my legs but found that they could not get hard enough to enter. These men thought they could scramble my insides, bleed me out in the dark, spread me flat on the ground, riddle me with holes, bash me open, leave me weeping with the pain of what they did, and how disappointed they were when they could not hurt me, not even a little. Then my tumor and I rose high above them, tongues salivating, eyes narrowed, hair like snakes, and we rose up and up, silhouetted against the moon, and warned these men to run. They did not listen and so I swooped, knocked them to the ground where they choked upon the earth. My tumor and I ate them from their spines and throats, ate them from their cocks and mouths, ate them while they spewed and spasms, ate until our mouths were filthy with them, and my breasts were heaving with them, and we were red with them, and we were sopping with them. There were so many men and my tumor and I took our time but then it was over. The ground was soggy and the trees were close together and the dark was heavy and nothing felt like enough. My tumor held me and I held her. We breathed into one another, listened to the slow rustle of the dark over those spent bodies. Are you sad, my tumor asked. And I was not…


Alana I. Capria is the author of the novel Mother Walked Into the Lake and and the story collection Wrapped in Red. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.