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Content Warning (CW): body horror

Ortolan Buntings

Elia Karra


I ate my twin. They tell me the correct term is absorbed, not ate, but I like the hungry, primal sound of it. Veni, voravi, vinci. My mother says I was ravenous ever since I was in the womb. She says I am the center of a black hole, always demanding more. More milk, more bedtime stories, more hands to hold me and lull me to sleep. 

My appetite grew as I grew, a constant, pulsing void in my stomach. I devoured what I could. Cream and bread, citrus and rabbit. Jam like blood. Teeth on flesh. Teeth on teeth. The fat went to my breasts, to my thighs, too soon. Men salivated at the sight. The last one that tasted me asked me if I had heard of ortolan buntings. He said he wanted to eat me whole.

I let him try, but by then, I had been at the top of the food chain for too long. He bit and I bit back. I was good at consuming. I was fast. His flesh was salt and smoke on my tongue, his desire tangy like rhubarb. I ate until my stomach was full, and then I ate some more.

The next morning, I was starving. I had finally eaten everything there was to eat, veal and raspberries and kind words and lovers, but the pit was still there. With nothing else to swallow, it gnawed at my insides and tore the tissue of my stomach in two. 

There was only one thing left to eat. My incisors were a sharp sting against my skin, the hair on my arm gritty in my mouth.

Elia Karra is an author and filmmaker from Athens, Greece. She is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing through Lindenwood University and working on her first novel. You can find her at and on Twitter at @eliakarra.

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