It used to be harmless. It really was. When Karen and I first started dating, she would bite my lip, or nibble at my ear, or pretend to be a vampire and put her teeth on my neck. We were silly. We acted like a lot of couples do, but eventually it went too far. Sometimes she would bite a little too hard, and I would tell her to stop with a half chuckle, slightly annoyed. Then one time she drew blood, biting my chest when we were fooling around, and I yelled at her, “What the hell are you doing?!”
She didn’t take too kindly to that.
We stopped talking for almost a week. I apologized profusely, and eventually got through to her, but something still seemed…off. Karen started acting strange. Whenever we’d joke around, she would grab my arm and pretend to gnaw on it, biting the air and rotating it up and down like an ear of corn. She’d make odd comments whenever I would chop vegetables; “Don’t cut off your fingers! They might end up getting thrown in with the carrots!” She would howl with laughter.
Others times she would just look at me, longingly, but not at my face. I’d catch her staring at my bare feet, or the top of my head. Anytime I brought it up she would just brush it off. She would claim to have zoned out, or was just feeling funny. When I questioned the comments or gestures, she would get upset and tell me that I was attacking her sense of humor. There was no way around it, and eventually I just let it be.
I ended up marrying the girl. She was quirky, and found humor in things that I totally did not understand, but I loved her. And she accepted me.
I should mention now that I had been in a wheelchair my entire adult life. When I was sixteen, my father and I were working on a fencing project, carrying wood and materials up and down our basement staircase. On one trip, I lost my footing on the top stair and tumbled backwards, breaking my back and ending up paralyzed from the waist down.
Needless to say, my life changed forever. But Karen was always the one constant I had. We met in college, and I immediately knew she was different. Special. She treated me like a human being, and I was drawn to that.
Even when her personality seemed to change, when the jokes grew stranger and the behavior was questionable, I still knew that she was the love of my life. So we got married.
It only got worse from there.
Our marriage was a wreck. We fought often, mainly over bills and typical relationship issues, but several fights began from me pointing out her actions, her weird humor of pretending to eat me. She would ask me why I chose her, why I couldn’t accept her flaws. It was a vicious cycle. I grew severely depressed, and Karen ended up quitting her job. She told me that she needed time at home to focus on herself.
So, while I worked twelve, sometimes fourteen hours a day at a call center, she was at home in the kitchen, cooking excessively large meals. I would come home to pots and pots of beef stew, large slabs of steak and potatoes, cakes and pastries, pounds of pasta. She always watched me while we ate, studying me, making sure it was to my liking. I gained a lot of weight, and most days I was slumped in my wheelchair, no energy to go anywhere.
Now depressed, overweight, and lacking all motivation, I left my job as well. I drew unemployment, and spent my days in my chair, watching television or playing video games, all the while Karen was in the kitchen. Even when we had far less money coming in, Karen always seemed to splurge on groceries. We ate disgusting amounts of carbs and sugar. I weighed over three hundred and fifty pounds. This was our life. And Karen continued her charade. She would poke my stomach, talking about how much fat she could use to grease the pans. She would make nasty comments about my arms and how the skin on my biceps could be chopped off and thrown in the fryer. This went on for two years.
It’s late on a Saturday night. I’m in my chair, sitting in the living room. I can barely move my arms, move my fingers to type this out. I am utterly exhausted and bloated, and I can hear her singing. I want her to stop. I want her to just shut up for five seconds. There’s a large pot on the stove, I can hear the water boiling. She’s chopping up carrots and throwing them in. She keeps looking back at me, smiling. Smiling and singing. It sounds like Fall Out Boy. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark. But the lyrics are different. She has the right tone but it sounds like she’s singing, “Eat him up up up eat him up up up.”
Credit: A.E. Madden
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