“All About The Taste” by Baby Funbo.

Feeling the fresh summer breeze on his face and the warm rays of the sun beating down on him, Tony drifted deeper into his slumber with the sound of lapping water ringing in his ears. With his head resting in his large hands, Tony lay on the lush green grass beneath the blue, cloudless ether dreaming pleasant dreams until a familiar voice woke him from his siesta. His eyes fluttered open and found himself staring into warm, hazel eyes.

“Sorry to disturb your peaceful slumber.” The girl with curly black hair smiled down at him cocking her head to the side making her dimpled cheeks even more prominent. 

“It’s alright Fay.” Tony sat up, groggily rubbing his eyes while she settled down next to him unslinging her navy blue backpack from her shoulders and placing it on the grass next to her. She pulled out her steel bottle and offered it to Tony who was wiping his dry mouth silently hoping that he wasn’t covered in his own drool.

“Thanks.” He said giving her a small smile as he opened the bottle. The sensation of water cascading down his parched throat brought him back to his senses.

Tony glanced at Fay who had her eyes on the green lake below them while she gave him a rundown about her day. She wasn’t pretty in the conventional sense but her personality and pleasant nature made up for it. Dressed in her favourite wrap around patterned dress and sandals, Tony couldn’t help but have a flashback to the first time they met three years ago.

*

Tony was seated at a bar with a group of unfamiliar faces and the only reason he was there in the first place was that his roommate, Bradley had dragged him out of the confines of the small, dingy hostel room they shared. Unlike his roommate and the people he was surrounded with, Tony wasn’t a talker and didn’t enjoy divulging information about himself to others. He didn’t see the need to since he thought that their small minds wouldn’t be able to comprehend the things he said. He would occasionally nod his head in agreement, fake a smile and add a line or two to the conversation. 

After three hours of trying his level best to fit in, Tony let out a breath of relief when they finally decided to get back to their respective homes. Unlike the rest of them, Tony decided to stay back and enjoy the solitude he had been longing for from the moment he sat down to join them. If one had to choose a word from the dictionary to describe them, it would have been ‘Loud.’ The crowd in the bar dwindled and soon it was just him, the regulars and a college girl who had been eyeing him throughout the evening. She was dressed in a floral summer dress and gladiator sandals, with her thick curly hair pulled back in a bun. She smiled at him, got off the high stool she was seated on and made her way towards him.

“You’re an interesting character.” She stated standing next to him while Tony remained seated. 

“And why do you say that?” He asked looking up at her a small smile resting on his lips. 

“I mean, you could have come here alone and saved yourself a rather awkward evening.” She replied, taking the seat opposite him and placed her glass of whiskey sour down on the table.

“It was that obvious huh?”

“Well maybe not to others but to me, it sure was. I like reading people, it’s a fun thing to do when you’re stuck in an airport or stood up on a date.” She shrugged taking a sip from her drink.

“I’m sorry about that,” Tony said studying the girl with dark complexion, thick eyebrows and cupid bowed lips. His gaze lingered on her body without making things too obvious while his fingers drummed on the tabletop.

“It’s really no big deal. Maybe I managed to save myself from a disastrous date.”

“Rather optimistic aren’t you?”

She smiled and shrugged her shoulders before taking another sip from her glass. “So tell me why would you subject yourself to a rather awkward evening with people you clearly don’t get along.”

Tony ran his hand through his thick, black hair before answering her. “I suppose I was bored staying in my room and allowed myself to be dragged out.”

“I really hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you looked rather lonely.”

Tony smirked at her words as he took a sip of his rum. “I guess being in the company of wrong people really brings out the recluse in me.”

“Touché, I couldn’t agree more.” She raised her glass at him before emptying it. “I’m Fay by the way,” She held out her long slender arm out to him, her hazel eyes meeting his.

Tony hesitated for a moment pondering on whether he should introduce himself by his birth name but in a split second decided against it. 

“I’m Tony.” He smiled at her as he shook her hand. 

*

Tony watched Fay intently as she went on talking about her day. She had taken out her favourite blue umbrella and held it in her hand to shade them from the scorching rays of the sun. Tony enjoyed her company since she always had something interesting to offer. It might have been something she did, or met, or encountered and since her hobby was collecting antique things she would come across the most bizarre artifacts and the first person she would show them to was Tony.

“So any new artifact you stumble upon?” Tony asked as a gust of wind blew past, rippling the green waters off the lake.

“Why as a matter of fact yes.” She beamed pulling a leather-bound pocket diary out of her navy blue backpack.

“A tiny little diary, seriously?” Tony scoffed, his hand reaching about his empty back pocket. “Say do you have a cigarette on you?”

“Sorry, I ran out yesterday and thank you for reminding me that I have to buy a pack. Anyways I know this diary looks like nothing out of the ordinary but its contents are pretty interesting. I found it lying out on the street just outside our favourite bar.”

She passed the tiny diary on to Tony so that he could take a better look at it. The pocket diary fit perfectly in his large hands as Tony felt the thick leather that covered it and slowly began tracing his finger over the Ouroboros mark on the front cover while carefully studying it. He was hypnotised by the details it had, the scales on the snake, its beaded little eyes, and its sharp fangs were all remarkably carved into the leather.

“It’s the Diary of Beelzebub,” Fay stated breaking the hypnotism it had on Tony.

“And how do you know this?”

“Open it, idiot.” She let out a laugh as she took the diary from his hands and opened it to reveal the ancient like handwriting and written in bold on the very first page were the words Fay had uttered a few seconds ago.

“So, what’s so important about it?” Tony asked his gaze shifting to look at the glistening waters of the lake.

“I think it’s a detailed account of all his victims and his methods of …cooking them up.”

Tony turned to look at Fay with a raised eyebrow. “Do you realise how absurd that sounds? Don’t tell me you believe this.”

“Just hear me out, okay. To be honest I think this diary is more like a reminder of his past. Look, I’ll read out a passage.

“Like everything that has a beginning it also has an end and like them, so do you. But unlike our feed, we return every hundred years reincarnated.

 Of course, I won’t be able to record every single detail that I’ve encountered but definitely enough to jog your memory.

You might be a little confused and you might try to resist what you really are. It’s normal, being brought up among humans can do that to you.

But one can never really resist who they truly are and what they are destined to become. It is all just a matter of time.

 Never forget your first whiff of burning flesh, the aroma that filled your lungs that almost put you in a state of frenzy.

Or the first bite you took as you dug your teeth into the juiciest part of their body, a flavour no other animal could provide.

And especially your first kill, their scared little faces and their primal fear that sent an adrenaline rush coursing through your veins.

Trust the Ouroboros mark, it will never fail you.”

“So what do you think?” Fay asked looking up from the dairy and at Tony’s skeptical face.

“Honestly, I think it’s just research work for some fantasy book. Unless you’re actually a demon in disguise because if all this is true then, according to most fantasy novels you just don’t accidentally stumble upon a demon’s diary.” Tony added teasingly.

“I’m not a demon, Tony!” Fay stuck her tongue out at him and playfully struck him across his bare chest.

“Should I be afraid right now?” Tony asked slowly inching away from her.

Fay rolled her eyes at him flipping through the pages of the diary. “Look, all I’m saying is it’s creepy to notice every single feature of a person and write it all down in a pocket-sized diary. For instance, there’s a description of a rather tall woman, with hazel eyes and curly black hair, high cheekbones and prominent cupid lips. She was dressed in a sundress that accentuated her bosom but apparently didn’t have enough meat on her bones.”

“To be honest, I think he was describing you.” 

Fay gulped her eyes shifting from the diary to Tony and back again. “You don’t think I’m actually a victim right?”

Tony let out a hearty laugh before giving Fay’s shoulder a slight nudge. “As I said before, I’m pretty sure it belongs to some writer and really, if you were a victim you should have been dead by now. Look at the date.” Tony pointed to the top right-hand corner of the yellowed page.

Fay looked at it closely and let out a sigh of relieve. It was June 10th 2016, the year she met Tony. 

“Fay that was three years ago, trust me, nothing is going to happen to you and this is just some author trying to come up with a character. Besides we don’t know for sure if he really was talking about you. Are there any names written down next to the description?”

Fay shook her head in response as she flipped through the pages of the diary.

“Still it’s a little creepy to know that someone was making a profile of you without consent,” Fay admitted closing the leather-bound diary.

“The world is a crooked place; that shit can’t be helped,” Tony added putting on his white cotton shirt as the sun slowly began its descent over the horizon painting the sky a shade of red. 

“Never the less you should give it a read.”

“Why? You know this doesn’t interest me at all.”

“Please, if anything happens to me you’ll know who did it.” Fay pleaded as she sat there holding the diary out to him. Tony let out a sigh of defeat as he took the diary from her hands and placed it in his back pocket.

“I got to get back. I promised Bradley I’d help him out with his thesis,” Tony spoke as he helped Fay get up on her feet.

“I swear you medical folk have no social life what so ever.” She commented picking up her things and dumping them into her bag.

“Hey, I managed to make time for you today which counts,” Tony replied resting his strong arms on her shoulder.

“Fine, see you next weekend?” She asked hopefully, staring into his ocean blue eyes.

“I’ll text you when I’m free,” Tony answered sheepishly which only made Fay roll her eyes at him once again. He placed a platonic kiss on her forehead before hugging her goodbye and breaking into a jog heading towards the small two-bedroom house he had rented.  

Before entering the house, out of habit, Tony took off his running shoes at the threshold and eventually made his way to the dimly lit basement where Bradley stood, hands crossed over his muscular chest, studying the pudgy, middle-aged homeless man chained to one of the water pipes. His head hung low while a stream of blood trickled down the edge of his mouth. 

“I see you’ve found a new person already,” Tony commented as he walked over to his tall, broad-shouldered friend who turned to look at him.

“If I’m going to be the best surgeon ever, I need my practice.” Bradley shrugged wiping his hands on the faded brown apron that covered his clothes. His bronze coloured hair was dishevelled while his eyes shone with a maniacal glint in them.

“I don’t disagree with that. By the way, I need to talk to you about something.”

“Tell me.” 

“What the hell was this doing on the street outside our favourite bar?” Tony asked pulling the pocket-sized diary out and holding it up for Bradley to see. “Do you want to fucking get caught?”

“Wow, okay sorry, I must have dropped it while I was there. The entries are rather intriguing, I couldn’t help myself.”

“You weren’t supposed to take it in the first place. You’re lucky that Fay found it or else who knows what would have happened.”

“Why are you so riled up? It’s just a diary, besides you came up with the idea yourself remember. If it were to ever fall into the wrong hands it’ll just be shrugged off as another fantasy book.” 

“It’s my fucking diary, you had no right to take it!” Tony yelled giving Bradley a shove. “Everything written in there is all true and now you know too much.”

Bradley let out a rather maniacal laugh before calming himself down. “So, you’re telling me that all this time, while I was practising my surgical skills you were busy devouring whatever was left of them? Cause if that’s not crazy I don’t know what is.”

Tony paused for a moment and nodded his head letting his confirmation sink into Bradley’s thick skull. Bradley looked at him in disbelieve as Tony placed his diary on the table which held sterilised surgical instruments neatly arranged in order of their size.

“I hate to say this, but we can no longer be a team like I said before, you know too much,” Tony spoke cracking up his knuckles as his eyes reflected wickedly in the dim light. 

“But if… I’m not going to… be around then whose going to procure the food that you need?” Bradley stuttered as he took a step back from the figure that was slowly advancing towards him.

“Bradley, I don’t need you. I’ve been doing this for years without any assistance.” Tony’s arm shot out catching him by his throat before Bradley could make a run for the wooden stairs.

“Why?” Bradley choked, tears in his eyes trying to force open the strong hand that was tightening its grip around his windpipe. 

“Well, because I’m just constantly hungry but honestly it’s all about the taste.”  Tony grinned as his mouth abnormally stretched out into a gigantic maw and out rolled the tongue with a giant Ouroboros mark imprinted on it. 


To check out more of Baby Funbo’s work, go here.


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