Hunger: the most basic of human drives. Even more so than the urge to reproduce or defend yourself from threats. To fight this most basic fact is to fight the survival instincts that has been coded into our DNA over millions of years. Only a fool fights one's natural instincts. I guess I'm the biggest fool of all. The desire to eat consumes me, I resist it only to fail time and time again.
I have a very special Hunger, one that makes me sick to my stomach. I must eat my fellow man in order to make the cravings go away. The taste of human flesh is both ecstatic and sickening. I've prayed to God for forgiveness while my soon-to-be meals prayed to God for a miracle. The miracle never comes for them, will forgiveness come for me? I'll find out eventually, I know I can't get away with this forever. After I brought about the change in management to the Pitt, the flow of raiders coming into the Capital Wasteland almost completely disappeared. That's good for the people living here but with the raiders gone I lost my primary source of Food. After that realization, I resorted to eating Super Mutants. While they satisfied the Hunger, Super Mutants just tasted horrible no matter what I did. It didn't matter how I cooked them or what food I put on the meat to cover the taste. . .they were just bad. It took colossal effort to choke Super Mutant meat down. But then that food source disappeared when the Brotherhood made a concentrated effort to use the salvaged Enclave technology to push the monsters back to Vault 87 (the radiation prevented the Brotherhood from storming the Vault but they decided to build and maintain a defensive line to prevent the Mutants from coming back out). Damn them for that, makes me wish I hadn't helped them take out Adams Air Force Base. With no raiders or Super Mutants the Capital Wasteland was. . .stable. . .safe. There were still feral ghouls loose in the sewers around DC but for the most part there weren't many villains left for me to take out. If I wanted to eat someone it would have to be someone that would actually be missed. I've been lucky so far. I've managed to limit myself to the scroungers and hunters that travel alone in the Wasteland, people that disappear for weeks at a time so there is little to ever incriminate me, but when true Hunger strikes I can't stop myself. That is the situation I currently find myself in.
I was traveling from Rivet City over to Reilly's Ranger Compound, Talon Company had mostly packed up and left once the Brotherhood got rid of the Super Mutants but there were still holdouts here and there that I was on the lookout for, when I happened across a trader passed out by a his pack brahmin.
Judging from his clothes he was not a typical trader, he looked like a well-to-do businessman who had had too much to drink and couldn't make it to wherever he was going without stopping for a nap. He wasn't going to make it there. It's too easy an opportunity for me, my Hunger won't allow me to walk past him. We're far enough away from Rivet City that no one would see me quietly slit his throat and cut off a few limbs. He is rather short so I could probably fit them in my backpack without too much effort. Deep down a part of me enjoys this, I think. If I didn't, would I really carry around a doctor's saw designed for severing limbs? It is certainly harder to resist the Hunger when I have the tools available for harvesting Food hidden on my person, along with a waterproof backpack to contain blood seepage. While I hate myself for what I do, I have equipment chosen specifically to make the hunt go as quickly as possible. Do I use my tools to continue living or to continue Eating? Is it my fear of death or my fear of the Hunger that keeps me alive? I doubt I'll ever know the answer. What I do know is that in my moment of self-reflection, my Hunger has killed the trader. . .and with a body just laying at my feet, it would just be shameful to let it go to waste.
He was delicious, who needs sex when the satisfaction of a successful Harvest is so much better? If not the Hunting, the Eating is much better than a simple orgasm. Sex and Hunting do have similarities, of course. They both give me that warm afterglow feeling. They both require a lot of work to get to the finale and there is never any guarantee of success. In fact, if done incorrectly you can end up really screwing yourself in either activity. Hehehe, screwing yourself. Sarah would smack me if she knew I was thinking that, wonder how much of Three Dog's Lone Wanderer rhetoric she's bought into. She claims she knows the broadcasts are just there to give people hope and that I'm just as human as anyone else but that doesn't stop her from telling me that I'm "better than that" whenever I drink too much or when I make some crude joke with the new Brotherhood Initiates. I wonder what she would say if she knew about my Hunger? Would she still think I'm "better than that" and try to help me work through it or would that be where she drew the line and decided to have nothing more to do with me? Eh, that's too depressing to think about, don't want to kill the warm afterglow from my Meal. I know I'm going to be feel depressed and guilty once my endorphins dissipate so there's no sense hastening the feeling.
I cut and saved as much of the trader's meat as I could carry. I was pleased with how quickly I was able to slice him up, it's comforting to know that if I ever stop being the Lone Wanderer that I could get a job as a brahmin butcher. Then again, I would probably go nuts and kill somebody if I ever stopped being the Lone Wanderer. Traveling and killing. . .I'm too used to it. Staying in one location for weeks on end would just be too boring, regardless of how many animals I got to kill.
I was in a quandary. Should I continue onto Reilly's compound? I haven't seen them in a while and Brick is always entertaining to talk with. On the other hand, I had a backpack full of body parts. They probably wouldn't go looking through my stuff but did I really want to take that chance? Plus, there was only so much time before the meat would start to go bad. I needed to get home to Megaton and store all this in the fridge before it started to rot. Makes me wish I had Vance's taste for blood, I swear that man can drain a deathclaw dry. If I sucked all the blood out, the meat would last quite a while, like jerky. I could probably figure out how he holds all the liquid if I spent more time with him but he's just. . .such a self-assured arrogant prick. The stupid laws that his Family has to obey makes absolutely no damn sense. First Law is that they can't eat meat, only drink blood. The meat is the best part, it's where all the sustenance is! Only drinking the blood after killing someone is like only getting a handy when you want sex, sure it technically satisfies you but you aren't exactly happy about it. The Second Law says they can't have children. It's not like I actually want to have kids, walking through Little Lamplight was like walking through my own personal Hell, but still, no children? Why would they think this Hunger was inherited? My father was a great man, he worked hard to make life better for the people of the Capital Wasteland, he was NOT a cannibal. He also spent almost my entire childhood locked in a Vault with a limited number of people, I'm pretty sure I would have heard about strange disappearances. Vance's Third Law states the only reason for feeding is nourishment, not pleasure. That particular Law had caused me to question whether his Hunger is the same as mine. I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed by my Hunger, I hate myself for what I do, and I hate myself even more because I do enjoy it. However, my Hunger only shows up once a week but I still get hungry every day. I don't Eat because I'm hungry, I Eat because I want the Hunger to go away. The Fourth Law says the Family has to stay hidden during the day. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I spent many a night thinking about that and still don't understand the rationale behind it. The Fifth Law. . .well OK that one makes sense, don't kill each other. But the other four are stupid. Wait. . .why was I thinking about this? I got sidetracked somehow. Oh right, Vance's blood drinking ability. Don't know how he does it, but damn if that wouldn't be useful to have right now. So am I going to head home or should I check on Reilly's Rangers? Decisions, decisions.
Ultimately, my desire to prepare for my Hunger overruled my original plan of looking for Talon mercs. I managed to make it back to Megaton and store all the meat in my fridge without much of a hassle. In the hours it had taken me to hike to Megaton, the happy buzz I had gotten from eating had worn off and now I was sick to my stomach. It didn't matter that I now had plenty of food stored for when my Hunger decided to strike. It didn't matter that I now had a stockpile in place and therefore wouldn't have to hunt someone down when the Hunger inevitably came back. It didn't matter because I had, once again, killed and eaten a man. I was a fucking monster, a deathclaw in brahmin's clothing. The Lone Wanderer, the Messiah of the Wasteland, was a cannibal with poor impulse control. I was such a hypocrite, working so hard to turn DC into a better place for people to live yet engaging in actions that has caused me to shoot men dead when I caught them doing it.
To feel better about my hypocrisy I was getting comfortably drunk at Gob's Saloon. Actually, I was comfortably drunk six drinks ago, now I was halfway to shitfaced. I was swapping stories with Jericho. We were in the middle of a competition to see who could list the most ways we had killed men (or women) in exponentially creative ways. I generally try to make my kills as clean and kick as possible, raiders had no such qualms so Jericho, former raider that he was, was winning the competition. Rather than admit defeat, I decided to change the subject.
"Yo, Gob! You know what I like about drinking here? Why I get drunk here instead of in Rivet City or the Citadel?"
The ghoul stopped polishing the glass he had been cleaning. He had actually been wiping the glass for the past 10 minutes, I think he had been doing it to pass the time rather than get rid of any dirt. "Because Sarah would kick your ass if she caught you this drunk and she generally doesn't leave DC?"
"No! Well. . .yes. . .but that wasn't the reason I was thinking of!"
"Alight, why do you get drunk here and not in DC?" Gob asked.
"Because the alcohol from anywhere in DC is like having sex in a boat."
Gob furrowed his brow in confusion. "My drinks aren't like. . .having sex in a boat?"
"Yea, the stuff the Brotherhood drinks is fucking close to water."
Jericho guffawed from his seat at the bar while Gob grinned. "Well I don't want to be making any accusations against the Brotherhood but I want to state that, unlike Moriarty, I don't piss in the still. Draw your own conclusions from there."
"I'll drink to that," Jericho said as he downed the rest of his glass.
"Speaking of the Brotherhood," Gob said. "How is Sarah? I haven't seen her since you brought her up here to celebrate your victory over the Enclave at. . .what did you say it was? A walking building or something, right?"
"The Adams Air Force Base, yea. They had a Mobile Base Crawler there. I was surprised I was able to get Sarah to come up here, she doesn't like leaving DC. She says its because she needs to be close to Brotherhood in case they need her but I think she's scared of open spaces. She likes having big buildings up at her sides. I had the same problem when I first left the Vault, the world seemed too open. But I got over it, I had to if I wanted to survive. She's content to run and hide. . .stupid bitch."
"Whoa there. What's with the hostility? Thought she was your girl," Gob said, clearly surprised.
"A drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts," Jericho said with a laugh as he motioned for Gob to refill his glass.
"Don't get me wrong, I care for Sarah, really, I do. But she's trapped, stuck viewing the world through her Brotherhood prism. She wants to help the Capital Wasteland but believes the people can't help themselves. The whole Brotherhood thinks like that, they are all dripping with condescension. Only the mighty Brotherhood with their power armor and energy weapons can stabilize the region. Ppfffttt, I say to that, pfffftt."
"Well, I see your point. . .but they have stabilized the region," Gob pointed out.
"Only because I, a waster that was raised a vaulty, helped them. I gave them the kick in the ass that they needed to take on the Enclave. I blew up Raven Rock, I'm the reason the Purifier is operational and producing clean water, I blew up Adams Air Force Base! The only reason the Brotherhood has so much new technology is because I helped them take out the Enclave. ME! The fucking Lone Wanderer. I take the risks, eliminate the threats, and they come in afterwards and act the heroes."
Jericho leaned over in his chair to sneer at me. "You sound surprised kid. How have you not realized till now that everyone in the world will screw you, given the chance? The Brotherhood ain't no different. They send you to do their dirty work because you're willing to do it. You're their bitch."
"Fuck you, old man."
"I didn't hear a denial in that insult, kid."
My alcohol soaked brain managed to put enough thought into what Jericho had said to stop me from punching him across the jaw. He may have been a former-raider that I would not hesitate to kill and eat if I could get away with it, but he wasn't wrong in his observations. He was only confirming what I was thinking, there was no point getting mad at him.
Fuck, I'm agreeing with Jericho. I think that's my cue to stop drinking for today.
I stood up on wobbly legs. "Well fellas, it's been. . .it's been something. I am going to go pass out, hopefully in my house," I said as I walked out of the bar.