36 | I Like Messy

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BLANK. My mind went blank at Jookie's words, trying to decipher if he was fucking with us or not. But by the shit-eating grin glistening my way, my tongue knew he wasn't kidding.

Yaz stumbled against the island. "Wait. What?"

Dropping to her knees, Layla shivered, face crumbling into sobs. "God, no. Please."

"Plea-please be kidd-ding," Chi stammered, staring at Jookie with glassy eyes.

Aries looked shocked and nauseous, but he stood firm, hands in his hoodie.

Jookie let out a tantalizing laugh, eyes glittering like new gems. "No. You heard right." He motioned to the dead body like one of those models on The Price Is Right who points out the prizes. "You will be eating Tiran."

"Holy shit," I murmured, feeling my insides twist into a hard knot while my heart battered against my ribs. Two different emotions entered my body — disgust and excitement. Both very conflicting yet both made sense.

Jookie shrugged, tilting his chef's hat. "Not all of him. Just fifteen pounds per group."

Layla cried, wetness streaking down her cheeks. "Oh my god, I can't."

Aries gulped, peeking down at the corpse. "Fifteen pounds?"

"Yes. You have to dismember the body and weigh it out." Jookie pointed to the giant metal scale on the side countertop. "And then eat it."

"Please be lying. Let this all be one horrible joke," Chi said, burying her face into Aries' shoulder. Aries tried to look strong, but his cloudy complexion gave away his true feelings. He was scared.

Jookie clapped, jumping in place. "First team to eat the fifteen pounds wins. Your time limit was three hours, but I requested an extra hour for you guys. So now it's four."

"Gee thanks," Yaz muttered, wrinkling her nose.

Jookie grinned, head swiveling around to look at all of us. "Challenge starts now. Go."

Everyone stayed still, frozen in shock. Eerie silence and smothering tension veiled everything, the odor of the body swirling around us like a swarm of wasps wanting to attack.

Until my partner began sobbing her heart out again. Chi clutched onto Aries like he was a life jacket, and she was stuck at sea, face turning a sickly white.

Aries kept letting out breaths while muttering to himself. Yaz clutched the island, staring off into space.

My eyes landed on the corpse. Tiran. A couple of days ago he was alive and thriving. Smiling and laughing. Now we had to eat him, to sink our teeth into his pale flesh. Swallow his skin and tissue and taste the very essence that kept him alive — his blood.

I shuddered at my thoughts, a zing of raw eagerness zipping down my neck. These conflicting feelings were fucking with my mind. I didn't know what the fuck I should do.

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