Chapter 1: Cannibal
The darkness roared like black thunder as the first ate the second. The eldest of the tar-like sludge beings began its slow, deliberate rampage. It slowly consumed the second born of the planet. Its inky, slimy body oozed down the gaping maw of the first predator, known henceforth as the Cannibal.
It took a full turn of the red moon for the Cannibal to finish consuming its brother. Its tar-like body glistened in the dim starlight. It had no eyes, ears, nose, or tongue to sense its surroundings. All it could do was undulate aimlessly about until it found more prey.
It began to ooze to the East, spreading its viscous body thin and low to search as much surface area as it could. It took a full turn of the blue moon to find another of its brethren. When it did, the Cannibal began consuming it without hesitation. Its prey, identical in shape and form, sensed that its body was being engulfed and began to flee. A slow fleeing it was though, as it did not possess arms or legs.
What took place was a gelatinous being gnawing and swallowing another gelatinous being. There was no biting, as the Cannibal did not have teeth. There was no chewing either, since all that was in its mouth was slimy inner walls and a throat as black as a starless night.
The prey of the Cannibal began to struggle less and less as more of its body disappeared into down its foe’s gullet. The Cannibal’s cavernous stomach digested its victim efficiently, as it did once before, but something else happened as well. As the predator’s body absorbed that of its prey, it began to grow. In size it grew as well as in intellect. Another full turn of the red moon passed before the consumption was complete. After it was done the Cannibal did not rest, but ventured forth to find new prey.
From creation all the Cannibal knew was darkness. It writhed aimlessly like all the rest of its kind. They all squirmed beneath the stars with no rhyme or reason. The purposeless beings of this unnamed planet were seemingly doomed to an absence of all things except the ground beneath them and the stars above.
The Cannibal shifted the paradigm by eating its second born brother. The first act of one of the black slime species besides undulation. A dark trend for a dark planet began.
Chapter 2: Rivals
The Cannibal gorged itself on its brethren one after another. The red and blue moons lapped the planet dozens of times while the macabre buffet was taking place.
One dark evening as the Cannibal was searching for its next meal it came across something new. The ground beneath it rumbled slightly, as if something gargantuan was moving. At this point the Cannibal was tremendous in girth. After consuming countless of its kin, it was now fifty times its original size.
The gargantuan thing descending from a nearby hill, rumbling the ground as it went, was a new encounter for the Cannibal. But it was familiar as well, an amorphous black blob that rivaled the Cannibal in size.
It seemed the Cannibal was not the only one who partook in the black flesh feast. The gargantuan one ambled downhill, shaking the ground as the Cannibal sat motionless.
It knew that the gargantuan was approaching, so it laid motionless in ambush. Against one that it could not overpower with its sheer size, striking first would be essential to victory.
The gargantuan slithered forward, unaware of the danger. Its slimy flesh brushed against the Cannibal and it froze. Before it could turn and investigate, the Cannibal struck. With as much speed as an amorphous blob could muster, it clamped its toothless maw around a chunk of the gargantuan one’s flesh. It began to gnaw and swallow with all its might, relishing the sensation of its prey sliding down into its stomach.
The gargantuan retaliated by trying to consume the Cannibal in return. What unfolded was the first fight. The very first time that creatures on the nameless planet met with conflict against one another as equals and enemies.
The battle raged for many turns of the moons. The Cannibal had a slight advantage as it began eating first, but both combatants were consuming and regenerating as the fight went on.
After the hundredth turn of the red moon, the Cannibal had an idea. Its foe could not consume it if it was lacking a mouth. The Cannibal clamped onto the gargantuan’s mouth from the side with a massive gulp and sucked in its opponent’s greatest weapon. The gargantuan unwillingly released the part of the Cannibal it had in its mouth as it descended down the gaping throat of its consumer.
After that, it was a simple yet slow task to devour the rest of the gargantuan one. It took fifty more turns of the red moon to engulf the mass of its greatest foe, but once it was done, the Cannibal felt different.
Agony shot through its mouth as jagged black spikes poked out. The Cannibal writhed its massive frame in pain as it teethed. It continued to writhe and seethe for five turns of the blue moon as each black tooth emerged. When the teething was complete, the Cannibal rested for the first time since its birth in relief, but it was soon on its way again in search of its next meal.
As the moons turned the Cannibal consumed more and more of its kind, but with each meal its foes became greater and stronger. Consuming them was difficult but with each foe felled and fed upon, the Cannibal gained new strengths.
After it fought and slew a serpentine slime, it gained a tongue to taste and help devour prey more efficiently.
After it killed and claimed a cyclopsian blob, it gained eyes to search for prey easier.
After it slaughtered and slurped a tusked fiend, it gained ears better to scan its surroundings.
The moons turned and turned and the Cannibal ate and ate. Until one dark day, it came to a valley that was different. Different from the rest of the planet. Different from nature. Looking down upon the valley, the Cannibal noticed its kin. Smaller and weaker, but they were many. These many small slimes slithered in and out of caverns dotted throughout the valley. They mingled and played and moved in peace, not even attempting to consume one another.
It was at this the Cannibal smiled an inky, jagged smile. There were many easy meals ahead of it and it did not wait to get started.
It descended into the valley with haste, shaking the ground as it pulsed across the land. The small slimes had no eyes or ears, so they could not identify the threat, but they knew something was coming as the world around them trembled.
They began to panic and scatter as the Cannibal engulfed them one at a time. Each small slime was hardly a mouthful. The predator gorged itself until none remained in the valley except itself. The massacre was over in less than a single turn of the blue moon.
The Cannibal began to make a noise. At first it was a coughing, hacking rasp, but as the fiend became used to the sensation, the noise became smoother and rhythmic. The Cannibal was laughing. It was laughing deeply and sinisterly at the mayhem and destruction it had just caused.
As pleased as the Cannibal was with its dark deeds, it was not satisfied. It would never be satisfied. Not as long as there were those it could consume.
Chapter 3: Sepurion
A thousand turns of the red moon had passed and the Cannibal had continued its primitive rampage. While it was hunting its brethren, the ones it did not eat began to change.
They began to realize that helping one another was easier than killing each other. They worked together to build shelters and acquire resources. The black sludge people did not need to eat or drink, nor did they age and reproduce, but over the course of time they became infatuated with a certain mineral.
Shining white gemstones, which the slime people thought were fallen stars. They called it farite, named after their word for starlight.
Due to their love of farite they began searching and mining for it with their four spindly limbs. Two to walk upon and two to use for digging. They came to an agreement that whoever dug up the most farite would keep the largest portion while the rest was distributed among their society.
How much farite one possessed became a status symbol. They used the farite to decorate their dwellings and their inky black bodies. They would place them into their oozy flesh about their tiny, round eyes, their simple holish ears, and their beaks which opened horizontally.
At first they were a nomadic people, moving from cave system to cave system, until they found an open and barren desert devoid of everything save a tremendous amount of tall rocks. In these rocks they burrowed and created networks to live in. The best caverns at the top of the rock spires became the residence of the best miners. There they could look out their simple windows and gaze at the spire city that became their home. They called the city Sepurion, named after their word for tall rocks.
Settling in one place was comfortable for the slime people, but staying there meant that all that travelled through would encounter them. Due to the Cannibal’s voracious appetite, these interlopers were far and few in number. Some would join the people of Sepurion, while others would try to devour them. These devourers were dealt with violently.
The amorphous invaders were set upon by a large number of volunteers willing to fight for their city. They bludgeoned their foes with rocks and stabbed them with their pointed hands, but the only true way to be rid of them was to consume their flesh. After wearing down an invader with attacks they would perform the primal deed of devouring. They did not relish the act of consuming the flesh of their kin, but they did so to protect their city.
The same individuals kept volunteering to defend Sepurion due to the glory and farite they received from their people in gratitude. They also grew stronger with each invader defeated and consumed. After a while they became known as the Aefor, named after their word for defence.
Many turns of the moons passed as Sepurion flourished. The Aefor grew stronger and the city grew brighter with massive amounts of farite. All was well in the city, but unknown to the people of the city, who now called themselves sepurians, their shining city attracted the attention of a fiend so powerful and sinister that they had little hope of survival.
The Cannibal, drawn towards the city lights, approached Sepurion. As its huge, gelatinous body shambled towards the rocky spires it was intercepted by the Aefor, who had spotted the fiend’s massive body from afar.
The Cannibal towered over the Aefor, but the defenders did not back down. Instead they called out to the Cannibal and gave it a choice. They told it that it could join them to live in peace and in glorious starlight or it could perish at their hands.
At this the Cannibal laughed. It laughed its mirthless laugh and gazed wickedly at all of the Aefor. Without warning, it struck. Using tendrils made of its viscous flesh, the Cannibal lashed and whipped the Aefor, crippling them before it devoured each member with remarkable speed.
As it cleaved through their ranks, some of the Aefor began to flee in terror, but instead of chasing them down, the Cannibal stopped suddenly as a new idea surfaced.
Whenever it came across a group of its kin, some would inevitably flee from its grasp, and chasing them down was tedious. With this new plan in mind, the Cannibal would ensure that its prey would come to it on their own.
As the few remaining of the Aefor fled, the Cannibal observed their bodies with its many eyes. It then began to transform. With sheer willpower and the strength gained from those it devoured, the Cannibal morphed its body so that it looked identical to that of one of the fleeing Aefor.
To shrink itself down to the size of its prey it had to compress its body significantly. When it walked on its new, spindly legs it still shook the ground, but it figured it could use that to its advantage.
It waited a full turn of the red moon before it made its move. After adopting the guise of one of the sepurians, it would infiltrate their rank and consume their city from within.
When it reached the city walls, it was approached again by the Aefor. They greeted the Cannibal, unaware that it was the very beast that had decimated most of their defence force.
They asked the Cannibal what business it had in Sepurion and it replied that it was looking for shelter. After a brief interrogation, the remaining Aefor allowed the Cannibal to pass into the city, but as it walked past, the ground began to rumble slightly.
The Aefor asked why the ground shook when the Cannibal walked, to which it replied that it was heavy from consuming foes.
The Aefor did not know what to make of that. Then one of them foolishly spoke up.
The fool stated that since it was heavy enough to shake the ground its foe must have been massive. It then recounted to the other Aefor the tale of the massive fiend that had consumed most of their defence force just one turn of the red moon past. After that, realization seemed to strike it, but in the wrong way. The fool asked the Cannibal if it was the one who had defeated and consumed the monster.
The Cannibal grinned and corroborated the fool’s story. The Aefor let out a cheer at their comrades being avenged and escorted the Cannibal into the city, spreading word of his so-called heroics among the populace. He was lauded and praised and given a great dwelling atop one of the highest rock spires. From there he began to scheme. And the plan that formed was dark and treacherous.
Chapter 4: New Ways to Feed
The Cannibal’s plan went just as intended. From its high dwelling, it all but ruled Sepurion. It made a deal with the Aefor that all those too powerful for them would be taken care of by The Cannibal, who now called itself Mancafar, named for being a consumer of light in the tongue of the Sepurians. This name was given by the people of Sepurion, as The Cannibal had been gifted so much farite that it had to begin consuming it so that it could move about its vast dwelling high atop the tallest spire. Mancafar was a consumer of light in the eyes of the sepurians, but they were also a consumer of the dark. The dark flesh of invaders.
One day, about one thousand turns of the blue moon after Mancafar was named, an invader came to the city that was too great for the Aefor. They sent a messenger to Mancafar pleading for his aid. At once, he answered and stomped heavily, yet swiftly, to the city border where the invader assaulted.
Mancafar had not consumed a sepurian other than those deemed unworthy by the populace. Some had taken to stealing farite from others, which was sternly and viciously condemned by all others. These thieves were given to Mancafar to rid their city of those who would dare disrupt their harmonious society, though these were rare occurrences,as the punishment for thievery was well known among the sepurians.
Having not fed upon flesh, but only upon farite for a long while, Mancafar’s craving grew as it approached the threat to Sepurion. When he met with the Aefor, he witnessed a being with powers he had never encountered before.
The Aefor were being slaughtered, not directly by this new foe, but by each other. Defenders of the city were striking and consuming one another in a frenzy born seemingly of madness. Mancafar looked to the lone, distinct figure not so far away and realized they were controlling the Aefor somehow. As he began to approach the new being, his weight shook the ground and drew the attention of the maddened Aefor.
They set upon Mancafar in a blind fury, but they were each and every one felled by his might. Mancafar consumed the mad defenders until there were none left and returned his focus to the new being.
The creature was similar in description to the sepurians, though they were much taller and had a bulbous head. As Mancafar approached the big head it introduced itself and queried as to the stranger’s business in Sepurion, to which the large headed one acknowledged with a telepathic response.
Mancafar was initially surprised by the big head’s telepathy, but this surprise was quickly overcome by a desire to take this power for his own benefit. Though, as Mancafar thought of this, the big head read the hungry one’s mind and learned of his ill intent.
Quickly, the large headed one began trying to seize control of Mancafar’s mind, but could not. It had never met a foe like Mancafar and could not overpower his will. Mancafar laughed ominously as he approached his foe with slow, deliberate footsteps. The ground shook more and more until the big head could no longer stand and fell to the ground. Mighty in mind they were, but not so in body.
As the telepath laid before Mancafar, it cowered. Mancafar spoke in a soft voice, soothing the telepath with a premonition. He told the cowering one that after he had consumed it he would use its power for a deed. A deed so great and ambitious that the telepath was enraptured.
He told the telepath that he planned to conquer not only Sepurion and other cities that may exist, but the whole planet. After he recounted his plan he swiftly fell upon the telepath, rending it to shreds before consuming it.
After feasting, he felt something new within himself for the first time in many turns of the moons. From afar, he felt others. He felt their being with his mind from impossible distances. With this, and his ability to control others, he plotted his conquest.
Chapter 5: Unity
With the Aefor completely destroyed by themselves and by Mancafar’s self defense, Sepurion now only had a single defender, though that was more than enough to dissuade invaders. The city grew to rely on Mancafar so much for defence that they soon looked to him not only as a protector and hero, but as a leader. Soon, all decisions made for the city were influenced by the hungry one’s will.
The fall of the Aefor was attributed to the foe which Mancafar vanquished. He told the people of Sepurion of the dreaded foe that he dispatched and of the great battle that decimated the Aefor, but did not tell them of the power he acquired in the process. He used this power to make wise and calculated decisions to further his goal of conquest, though to the eyes of the sepurians, his decision making was nothing short of miraculous and beneficial to all. Little did they know that each decision was the tightening of a noose around their collective necks.
With his ability to sense beings from afar, Mancafar was able to defend the city more efficiently than ever before, but it was far from the only thing he used his powers for. He was able to focus his mind to sense large collectives of beings in cities similar to Sepurion and was able to create a map depicting close to the entire eastern hemisphere of the planet. With this map, he planned what he dubbed his ‘unification protocol’.
This protocol was his plan to contact and absorb other cities into a network. He would then expand this network until he had every city on the planet under his control. He sent messengers to these various cities to convey his desire for unity. He showered the foreign cities with promises of protection and heaps of farite, and many happily accepted his proposal. These foreign lands became sister cities to Sepurion and benefitted from all Mancafar promised. Any threat to the network of cities was dealt with swiftly by Mancafar himself with great efficiency, for although he could not travel great distances quickly, he could sense beings over great distances and with incredible accuracy, which allowed him to plan accordingly.
After one thousand turns of the blue moon, Mancafar’s network spanned the entire globe. Every city was taken into his folds and soon there were no threats left to any of them. Mancafar had united the entire planet, and together they became a single nation that became known as Mancafaria, named after their mighty and unchallenged leader. But despite all of that progress, this was not the end of the unification protocol; there was still one more step. The final step, the one that Mancafar was looking forward to the most:The consumption of all life on the planet.
Chapter 6: Engulfed
Ten thousand turns of the cobalt moon passed in utopian fashion for Mancafaria, but it all came to an end with frightening speed. It happened not one at a time, not even by the dozens, or hundreds, or thousands, but completely in unison. Upon one fateful turn of the crimson moon, Mancafar began to consume all life on the planet. He had acquired such mass that he used it to permeate the planet. He had slowly, but surely, dug his many unseen tentacles into the ground, through the core of the world, and spread them to all corners of the globe.
Each tentacle lashed out to snare those nearest and once coiled about their victims, immobilizing them, they grew mouths. Like macabre flowers, the mouths bloomed from each tentacle and their teeth sprouted like inky black petals. They surrounded maws darker than black, in both appearance and intent. With vigour, they began to consume those they had ensnared, though the process was not quick. Slowly, and agonizingly, the mouthed tentacles of Mancafar ate their victims and swallowed them down until they reached the stomach of the world, the former core of the planet.
Mancafar, having planned this moment for many, many turns of the moon, knew that he would need a place to digest his prey in peace. For this reason, while burrowing his tentacles into the planet, he devoured the molten iron core of the planet to make a tremendous hollow for his gluttonous needs. It is within this grand hollow that the prey he had captured would dissolve into his being.
Slowly, over the course of many turns of the moons, he digested his prey. He relished each second of his sinister buffet, for the digestion was slow enough for him to enjoy not only the taste of his victims, but their fear and desperation as well.
The citizens of Mancafaria cried out in agony and woe, asking for their saviour to rescue them, but instead the time had come for him to finally reveal his true nature and intent to his people. He told them of all his plans and desires. He told them of their folly and foolish trust. But, above all, he told them how very delicious their flesh and agony was as their bodies and minds dissolved before and within him.
Soon none were left alive, save Mancafar himself. Alone, he dwelled on the now desolate world. He had accomplished all of his goals. He had consumed all living beings on the planet, as well as the core of the world in the process. His gluttony was endless, though, therefore he could not rest. He began to consume the very land until he had taken the entire globe within himself.
After this, nothing was left of the original planet save its first born. Mancafar had swallowed all of it and now lingered in space, becoming a new planet. Mancafar, once a being of sightless, idiotic hunger, had become a new world. One of darkness deeper than that of the void around it. Forever, the eater of light remained in that sector of space, though his hunger is eternal and he shall never rest. His dark arms, now on a planetary scale, reached out into the void towards other planets, moons, and stars. His endless greed darkening the skies above forevermore.
Reyadh is a new author, but internally is an old man who has done too many things in life. From being a camera operator at events with thousands of people to literally playing with alligators and anacondas while working at a zoo, he has decided to chill out and get back to his first passion: story telling.
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Bryanna Gary is the founder of The Angry Noodle and a current editorial assistant at Del Rey Books–science fiction, fantasy, and horror imprint of Penguin Random House.