10 min read


By nature, lovers offer themselves to each other, but in this sweet meet-cute body horror story by Cody, some lovers take this very literally. Consider skipping if graphic masochism, body horror, or cannibalism disturb you.
Photo by charlesdeluvio / Unsplash

The Romance of Horror

I was once asked why I write about such terrible things. The question did not arise at a writing conference or a reading, it came to me from the lips of an old friend who had just finished reading one of my favorite stories. She handed my freshly printed and newly crumpled story back to me as we sat in a lakeside cabin on a dreadfully hot summer night. Her face was tear-streaked. The story obviously moved her, but there was also a flicker of anger in her eyes.

“Why do you write this way? Everything was terrible in this story. I loved it. And I hate you,” she said with a tissue clutched in her hands.

I didn’t have an answer for her then. It would take years of mulling it over and many more stories about terrible things before I began to understand why I am so drawn to horror. My friend’s reaction demonstrates the very first layer of this attraction. Horror can be anything. It can be frightening, yes but it can also be deeply sad or wonderful. The monsters can be truly monstrous but also profoundly human. A good horror story can contain magic or science, history or fantasy, faith or fairies, it can wear the clothes of any genre and get away with it. A cowboy ghost story? No problem. A cyberpunk mystery. Yes, please. The freedom of horror allows for both tears and laughter, a genre to encompass all genres. But the deeper layer is surprisingly specific. A really good scary story is always about love.

What is more frightening then the thought of losing love? What is more dangerous than finding the wrong love? What is darker than the hollow left behind when it’s gone? A true horror story is always about the risk of losing love. Or the risk of finding it. After years of consideration of my friend’s question, it is not simply that I am writing about terrible things, it is that I am writing very specifically about love. Every story I bend my thoughts to is at its heart, about love. There is nothing more profound and this is why it also is perhaps the most frightening thing to explore on the page.

“Consuming” is a story about love. An ugly pretty kind of love. No less real for its strangeness, no less powerful for the risks involved. It is about the spaces that we inhabit, in the deepest parts of ourselves, where the truth of desire can’t be hidden and the very nature of our needs can be our undoing. I hope you enjoy the read!



By Cody T Luff

He did not love her until the night she helped him cut off his right foot. She’d found his ad in the classifieds and they had met for coffee three times before, but love had not yet been a word to describe her. It wasn’t until they had sawn completely through the ankle joint that he felt the first complete tremor of love in his belly.

Tasha. A lovely name, consonants and vowels glued together in soft, sexual ahs. Tasha Planer, shortened by years of friends and lovers, hardening into Tash. She insisted on explaining this to him on their second coffee date. A trait of her generation. Historical context, medical history, addictions, recoveries and romantic memoir all delivered in the first few hours of introduction. He did not remember speaking much those first two nights. She was more than capable of carrying the conversation alone, answering her own questions, inserting her own witticisms; he simply drank his coffee and watch her thin lips flutter. And her laugh, she laughed at her own jokes, deep laughter that was decidedly inelegant, a rhythmic Gah, ha, ha, HA that began in her belly and split her mouth wide, framing her uvula, teeth and tongue. The first time she burst into this laughter he flinched, the second he smiled and by the third coffee date, the date that changed everything, he was laughing with her.

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