Archive for: September, 2013

Create Your Own Glory by Edward Turner III

Sep 22 2013 Published by under The WiFiles

The sun beat down on his stiff wrinkled neck.  The wind howled through his thin white hair.  The jarring of the walker as it hit the concrete again and again hurt his joints.  How much longer could he really continue this?

He knew he was getting close though, every time he was close the world seemed to fill with the stench of death.  He could smell it, he could taste it, hell he could feel it.

He turned a corner and three men stood there waiting for him.  One of the men laughed and said, “Hey old man what the hell are you doing so far from home?”

The old man looked up at the young man and replied, “Do you happen to know where I live?  I am lost and I need a little help getting home.   I can pay you.”

One of the boys laughed and said, “You can pay us old man?  How much can you pay us, do you have it on you or do we have to take you home to get at it?”

The old man just smiled and showed some of his missing teeth.  He stood up a little straighter though and brought out a wad of bills.

One of the other boys kicked the walker out from under his aching hands.  He said, “No we ain’t going to take you no where old man but we will certainly take your money.”

The old man stood there, balancing himself.  His legs shook and the three thugs were sure he would fall any second.  They laughed as he shook and wobbled.  These kinds of guys always seemed to have a good time watching him struggle.  What was wrong with the world?

He wished they had left the walker alone.  It was always more fun with the walker.

The third man said, “All right old man give us that money and then we’ll drive you home.  We got a car in the back.  You can pay us a little more for our hospitality once we get there.”   The man smiled a bit through his dirty teeth.  “You know, you don’t get this kind of hospitality anywhere old man, you are lucky you ran into us and not someone worse.”

The old man feigned wonder, “So you guys are going to help me get home?”

The three guys laughed, finally the first one said, “Well hell yeah old man.  We won’t even kick your ass as long as you keep your mouth shut.”

The three guys laughed again.

The old man stood up to his full height.  Fun was fun, but you had to know when it was time to kick some ass, “Well I will tell you what.”  He rubbed at his chin and smiled at the boys, “You go ahead and get that car ready.”  He jabbed his bony finger into the first boy’s chest.  “I will stay here and kick the crap out of your friends.  I guess when I am done I will take the car home.  Oh, and I will take that money back.”

This left all three of the men in stitches.  Finally the third stepped forward and grabbed the old man by the arm, “Listen old man, you can do what we ask of you or we can kill you and go to your house on our own.  It is up to you old man.  We ain’t playing around with you any longer.”

The old man smiled right back and replied, “That is just what I was hoping to hear.”  He swung his arm forward and hit the man hard in the chest.  The blow was strong enough to send the man onto the ground in a coughing fit while holding his chest.  The other two men leapt forward, one of them pulling a gun from his coat.

He held the gun up to the old man’s chest and laughed as he pulled the trigger.  He said, “Should have done what we said old man.”  His smirk disgusted the old man the way that the decaying flesh of a dead animal might.

The gunshot rang out and the old man took a step back.  He started laughing and grabbed the gun from the man’s hand.  He threw it to the ground and leapt onto the man, knocking him to the ground.  He choked him until he stopped breathing and then stood again to find the other two men staring in horror as they watched the wound in his chest bleed, but also shrink.

The first man stuttered, “What the hell is going on old man?”  He stood there, the fear covering his face as though he were facing a monster.

Maybe he was.

The old man smiled, “I am invincible.”  You might remember me from the old days of super-heroes.  He lunged forward and tackled the man and choked him until he passed out.  The other man grabbed him from behind, but it was to no avail.  He hadn’t a chance against the old man who threw him to the ground and hit him over and over until there was no fight left in him.

The old man stood, he walked over and picked up his walker.  He felt the wound in his chest.  It was closing, but it would give him a lot of pain later, he knew that.  Life just wasn’t the same as it was all of those years ago.  His daughter would be so disappointed in him.  Did it matter though?  He hadn’t lost his will to fight, and he was going to make the world a better place as long as he could.  Destiny did the same in her own way, didn’t she?

He smiled to himself and started walking again.  It was still early, who knew what kind of fun he could find in this dirty town this cold night.  He was once called the Invincible Man, now he no longer had that glory in his life.  He learned a few years back that life isn’t worth living unless you create your own glory.

Bio: Edward’s work has appeared in the Horror Garage, Microhorror, and the Absent Willow Review.  He recently published a column in the Florence Recorder of Florence KY.

No responses yet

Spinning Jenny Smith Apple Sauce Pan Handle Bar by Brady Lund

Sep 15 2013 Published by under The WiFiles

Yesterday I found a handkerchief as I walked through the towering forests. What an obscure device from a foreign time! I stashed in my pocket and continued on my way. Late in the evening, when I finally settled for the night, I retrieved the worn piece of cloth. Upon my further inspection I spotted a faint mark. ‘Dinah, blow your…’ What does this mean? I have no idea, but it made me think of a really good idea: mucus-powered trains. It’s renewable.

I have now gotten to where this sad humor is my greatest hope at feeling human. Hope, in this case, may be improper, as typically it signifies will. In fact, I rather enjoy my present state. I feel as though I were Socrates among the common people, superior. Although, in this case, I’m rather an old man with a scraggly beard who has spent so long among the trees he has given them names. If you think that’s off-putting, Peter is starting to lose his bark. Now, I don’t mean to get all ‘radical doomsayer!’ up on you, but…

Unfortunately, the troubles of our world fail to stop at our expansive waist. It must continue to further force bile into our gallbladder until it bursts into a bloody soup. Corruption, at all levels of government, jumps to an unforeseen high. Crime, plots managed by wealthy masterminds, occurs in hundreds each day. Put one and two together and you get, well, me, and a story of how I, and thousands in my present situation, suffer a perpetual hell, as crooks take a literal bath in their fortunes.

I remember the time well, as though it flittered in my head only but a second past, yet it has been nearly two score (the uneducated man, which you very well might be in this society, should know two score to be a period of forty years, or approximately as long as the penalty for verbal slander of government functions).The School I called home, District Building 345-6, a disgusting box comprised of white plastic, held well over 22000 kids, as at this time it had at least that many in attendance at its various centers. I remember a kindergarten class. The government thought kindergarten unnecessary, they provided little funding for the poor teachers, who often lived in shoeboxes (my name for a 1 by 1.5 metre apartment). Only four classes were allotted for this purpose. My mother led me to class the first day and unleashed me into a 100 foot room with three times that number of students. How did we survive? Well, after the first day, less than one percent of the students returned for another teaching. So we lose a valuable education and take another step to illiteracy and feeblemindedness.

They built the school on a great lot where the majestic forests of Yellowstone once stood. I never got the opportunity to venture that land before it was ripped apart for construction, but I can imagine the beauty: the soft winds, the coo of the birds in high trees, the scent of flowers. How I yearned to taste that dew on the grass blades, to feel the rush of a wild winter’s blizzard, but was refined to the world of the real. During recess they released the little children on the fields where Old Faithful once stood. My, how spectacular a sight that must have been, to sit at a spout and wait for the moment when a rush of water would spring forth from the earth, beauty like the birth of a child, renewal of the old. We can’t and couldn’t afford nature anymore. It’s either us or a ‘dumb tree’ as they put it. Nowadays one square foot of land is more valuable than an ounce of gold in some areas. Back in Kansas and Nebraska even, an acre of land can cost upwards of 10 million. In this world, only those with a great abundance of money, the quote ‘Megatraneurs’, could afford some nature. They never bought in this area, so I’ve never seen it, but I hear that up in the north and along the water there are some beautiful properties, wild animals even, maybe a deer. I’ve never seen a deer, though I hear they’re graceful creatures. No, around here there is none of that, only barren white. But at least no one starves.

The school property takes up nearly three miles square and at the highest point stands 8 stories. It’s basically a city, with restaurants, shopping centers and even movie theatres. School became a lax term around the time of great expansion. Now School includes any government run entity, except the police, which are barely controlled by the government at all. In order to raise sufficient funds for construction the builders of the school included housing units, now a common feature, which could be rented or bought at extravagant prices. Even an entire hospital was built in the center square. Its hallways were as wide as streets. Nearly any cart could drive down the alley, though most couldn’t afford the luxury. The school was too large for the government to manage altogether. Over the first few years, many parts were sold off to private investors. Our lunch service, for instance, was managed by a national food chain that had its headquarters in Wyoming. Not always was the government certain of the quality of the food, but at least it was no cost to them, and they were made certain that each child received it. We were lucky if ten percent of our meal was made of real food, a majority consisted of artificially flavored starches.

President Clinton Memorial Schools was the affectionate name given to the construct (named after the second Clinton president). It split into ten sections off the central hub, each of these headed by a general principal. Each of those sections was dissected into two halves, led by assistant principals. I attended the third section, second half. The assistant principal that managed my section was Mrs. Jonez. She’s the daughter of a former head principal. Students knew Jonez as the lady with four husbands. It showed her incredible wealth, most people could afford only one spouse. That’s how it usually works here. There are so many people in this world that only the ones with connections have any shot at a good career. I hardly ever saw Mr. Jonez. She had to manage 2400 other children, and she hated kids, not as I do, because of their addition to our population, but because of her own selfish motivations. Most adults just didn’t mind the time to kids. They didn’t understand society. They were creative and could dream of things beyond the white. To her, I appeared one of the many. She had no time for me, my emotions or issues.

We worked, lived, on an 8 hour blocked schedule. Each day we had classes, all seven of the week, and the courses alternated. Math, Science and History were one day. English and liberal arts electives (though not too liberal, we expressed ourselves through harsh realism) were the next day.  After school most kids go out to the sand fields and do whatever they please. The Sand fields were a depressing place, as they still are, where the trees once flourished the government dropped mounds of sand, stunting growth. Occasionally I’d go home and read in the quiet, though it was greatly encouraged by all of society. I liked reading old fiction from back in a time when there was actually room to breathe. I can imagine the time of great science fiction, where they not only thought of expansion in this world, but of others. There was so much room back then, billions of miles to expand. We can’t expand, we’ve tried, and we’ve faced the harsh consequences of life on another planet. Our failures did further more to damage our dreams and hopes and put us in our current position. We lived in a confinement. Children had little to do but suffer through a miserable years. We could not even buy our freedom. In order to drop the unemployment rate, no one under 18 was allowed to hold a job.

I lived directly above my math class, on the second floor of the school. Often I would go down early in the morning and sit in the doorway of the school. From there I could watch the sun rise over what remained of the forest, an oval of trees around a small pond. And I longed to visit this place my whole life. My parents guaranteed a visit on my eighteenth birthday, but I knew it would never materialize. That particular day four other boys joined me at the door, one of which was my good friend Hayden. The other three were just faces that I had seen in passing, many were like that in a wide school. They had all brought along breakfast, I brought a book. The doorway was one of the few places in the school that the government paid to have constantly lit (the others were public bathrooms and the hallways of the principals’ apartment wing). Every other location in the building would only be lit upon payment, a rate which was high during the day and absolutely impossible to afford at night.

So I sat and enjoyed the free lighting and watched the sun rise in the east. The other boys finished their meal and decided to start a game of poker. Though it isn’t particularly important, I remember this moment more clear than any other, everyone loved games. In our world, games were a way to escape, cheap entertainment. It used a bit more creativity than society would have liked but, hey, we were rebels, or in the old world, hippies. They wanted to know if Hayden and I would join them. Hayden agreed, but I declined, I was at an exciting point in my book, the spaceship. Simply the word SPACE afflicted me with such great joy as to put me in a state of nirvana-like trance. In school they played an invented type of poker called Quicks. Perhaps it was more like a matching game. Each player was dealt a card. Then, one at a time, a card was laid down. Between each round there was a period of bidding. The object was to get the card that was closest to the rest of the set. For each number value a card was off points was added. An order was set for the suits: Spade, Club, Diamond, and Heart. They ran in a clockwise order and for each value off a point was added. For example, if your card was a 7 of Clubs and the first card in the set was a nine of hearts then the player would score 2 and 2 for a score of 4. This would go for all 5 cards then are added together. It was a fairly complex game, but that was part of the fun for students, their expression of complexity.

Hayden had won 35 pennies when they quit the game. Most of the people in the school were awake by that time, the sun was high and bustle was about the bedrooms. School started in 20 minutes. No one else had been near the school entrance the entire time they had been there. It wasn’t greatly frequented, except for the lone wanderer. A couple of the boys gathered their things in their bags and prepared to leave, as their classes were on the opposite side of the building. A small scratch at the door made them turn in unison, almost a funny occurrence, but I never found occasion to laugh. One of the boys asked, ‘What was that?’ Approximately 10 men stood in a group around the doors, knocking to get in. All the boys nudged at each other to decide who would answer the door, if any. They were unsure if they were at right to open the doors for strangers. But I was curious; I wasn’t going to play around with this game. I went right over and opened the door for them. I didn’t think anything of them at the time. They just seemed like normal guys. I wondered what their business might be with this school.

They came in from the cold and greeted us like normal human beings. One of them, a guy with a long beard, asked me where the cafeteria was. I told him that he had come in through the wrong side of the building for that. It was all the way across the school. But I did point him in the right direction. His look showed me that I had just made a Herculean mistake, it was of pure malice. He thanked me and then made a little motion towards his friends. From their bags they revealed guns, ones more powerful than I had seen in my entire life. They fired at my fellow students, easily handling them. Hayden was unfortunate enough to get shot in the throat. He laid on the hard surface of the floor croaking to his death for what seemed hours.

Then they cleaned off one of their guns, while I stood paralyzed in fear, and threw it over to me. I jumped back from it. What cruel intent did they plan for this device? In order to make sure everyone understood what happened, he fired a bullet into one of the walls. It went through a cheap layer of drywall and into the head of one of the math teachers, an incredibly lucky shot. And I ran, just quick enough to narrowly avoid the grasp of a rather corpulent professor. the troubles of our world fail to find a stop at our expansive waist. It must continue to further force bile into our gallbladder until it bursts into a bloody soup. Corruption, at all levels of government, jumps to an unforeseen high. Crime, plots managed by wealthy masterminds, occurs in hundreds each day. Put one and two together and you get, well, me, and a story of how I, and thousands in my present situation, suffer a perpetual hell, as crooks take a literal bath in their fortunes.

I remember the time well, as though it flittered in my head only but a second past, yet it has been nearly two score (the uneducated man, which you very well might be in this society, should know two score to be a period of forty years, or approximately as long as the penalty for verbal slander of government functions).The School I called home, District Building 345-6, a disgusting box comprised of white plastic, held well over 22000 kids, as at this time it had at least that many in attendance at its various centers. I remember a kindergarten class. The government thought kindergarten unnecessary, they provided little funding for the poor teachers, who often lived in shoeboxes (my name for a 1 by 1.5 metre apartment). Only four classes were allotted for this purpose. My mother led me to class the first day and unleashed me into a 100 foot room with three times that number of students. How did we survive? Well, after the first day, less than one percent of the students returned for another teaching. So we lose a valuable education and take another step to illiteracy and feeblemindedness.

They built the school on a great lot where the majestic forests of Yellowstone once stood. I never got the opportunity to venture that land before it was ripped apart for construction, but I can imagine the beauty: the soft winds, the coo of the birds in high trees, the scent of flowers. How I yearned to taste that dew on the grass blades, to feel the rush of a wild winter’s blizzard, but was refined to the world of the real. During recess they released the little children on the fields where Old Faithful once stood. My, how spectacular a sight that must have been, to sit at a spout and wait for the moment when a rush of water would spring forth from the earth, beauty like the birth of a child, renewal of the old. We can’t and couldn’t afford nature anymore. It’s either us or a ‘dumb tree’ as they put it. Nowadays one square foot of land is more valuable than an ounce of gold in some areas. Back in Kansas and Nebraska even, an acre of land can cost upwards of ten million. In this world, only those with a great abundance of money, the quote ‘Megatraneurs’, could afford some nature. They never bought in this area, so I’ve never seen it, but I hear that up in the north and along the water there are some beautiful properties, wild animals even, maybe a deer. I’ve never seen a deer, though I hear they’re graceful creatures. No, around here there is none of that, only barren white. But at least no one starves.

The school property tookup nearly three miles square and at the highest point stands 8 stories. It’s basically a city, with restaurants, shopping centers and even movie theatres. School became a lax term around the time of great expansion. Now School includes any government run entity, except the police, which are barely controlled by the government at all. In order to raise sufficient funds for construction the builders of the school included housing units, now a common feature, which could be rented or bought at extravagant prices. Even an entire hospital was built in the center square. Its hallways were as wide as streets. Nearly any cart could drive down the alley, though most couldn’t afford the luxury. The school was too large for the government to manage altogether. Over the first few years, many parts were sold off to private investors. Our lunch service, for instance, was managed by a national food chain that had its headquarters in Wyoming. Not always was the government certain of the quality of the food, but at least it was no cost to them, and they were made certain that each child received it. We were lucky if ten percent of our meal was made of real food, a majority consisted of artificially flavored starches.

President Clinton Memorial Schools was the affectionate name given to the construct (named after the second Clinton president). It split into ten sections off the central hub, each of these headed by a general principal. Each of those sections was dissected into two halves, led by assistant principals. I attended the third section, second half. The assistant principal that managed my section was Mrs. Jonez. She’s the daughter of a former head principal. Students knew Jonez as the lady with four husbands. It showed her incredible wealth, most people could afford only one spouse. That’s how it usually works here. There are so many people in this world that only the ones with connections have any shot at a good career. I hardly ever saw Mr. Jonez. She had to manage 2400 other children, and she hated kids, not as I do, because of their addition to our population, but because of her own selfish motivations. Most adults just didn’t mind the time to kids. They didn’t understand society. They were creative and could dream of things beyond the white. To her, I appeared one of the many. She had no time for me, my emotions or issues.

We worked, lived, on an eight hour blocked schedule. Each day we had classes, all seven of the week, and the courses alternated. Math, Science and History were one day. English and liberal arts electives (though not too liberal, we expressed ourselves through harsh realism) were the next day.  After school most kids go out to the sand fields and do whatever they please. The Sand fields were a depressing place, as they still are, where the trees once flourished the government dropped mounds of sand, stunting growth. Occasionally I’d go home and read in the quiet, though it was greatly encouraged by all of society. I liked reading old fiction from back in a time when there was actually room to breathe. I can imagine the time of great science fiction, where they not only thought of expansion in this world, but of others. There was so much room back then, billions of miles to expand. We can’t expand, we’ve tried, and we’ve faced the harsh consequences of life on another planet. Our failures did further more to damage our dreams and hopes and put us in our current position. We lived in a confinement. Children had little to do but suffer through a miserable years. We could not even buy our freedom. In order to drop the unemployment rate, no one under 18 was allowed to hold a job.

I lived directly above my math class, on the second floor of the school. Often I would go down early in the morning and sit in the doorway of the school. From there I could watch the sun rise over what remained of the forest, an oval of trees around a small pond. And I longed to visit this place my whole life. My parents guaranteed a visit on my eighteenth birthday, but I knew it would never materialize. That particular day four other boys joined me at the door, one of which was my good friend Hayden. The other three were just faces that I had seen in passing, many were like that in a wide school. They had all brought along breakfast, I brought a book. The doorway was one of the few places in the school that the government paid to have constantly lit (the others were public bathrooms and the hallways of the principals’ apartment wing). Every other location in the building would only be lit upon payment, a rate which was high during the day and absolutely impossible to afford at night.

So I sat and enjoyed the free lighting and watched the sun rise in the east. The other boys finished their meal and decided to start a game of poker. Though it isn’t particularly important, I remember this moment more clear than any other, everyone loved games. In our world, games were a way to escape, cheap entertainment. It used a bit more creativity than society would have liked but, hey, we were rebels, or in the old world, hippies. They wanted to know if Hayden and I would join them. Hayden agreed, but I declined, I was at an exciting point in my book, the spaceship. Simply the word SPACE afflicted me with such great joy as to put me in a state of nirvana-like trance. In school they played an invented type of poker called Quicks. Perhaps it was more like a matching game. Each player was dealt a card. Then, one at a time, a card was laid down. Between each round there was a period of bidding. The object was to get the card that was closest to the rest of the set. For each number value a card was off points was added. An order was set for the suits: Spade, Club, Diamond, and Heart. They ran in a clockwise order and for each value off a point was added. For example, if your card was a 7 of Clubs and the first card in the set was a nine of hearts then the player would score 2 and 2 for a score of 4. This would go for all 5 cards then are added together. It was a fairly complex game, but that was part of the fun for students, their expression of complexity.

Hayden had won 35 pennies when they quit the game – not that this fact has any relevance. Most of the people in the school were awake by that time, the sun was high and bustle was about the bedrooms. School started in 20 minutes. No one else had been near the school entrance the entire time they had been there. It wasn’t greatly frequented, except for the lone wanderer. A couple of the boys gathered their things in their bags and prepared to leave, as their classes were on the opposite side of the building. A small scratch at the door made them turn in unison, almost a funny occurrence, but I never found occasion to laugh. One of the boys asked, “What was that?”

“A cat chasing a bat with a hat.”

“Oh, okay. He sat back against the wall, deep in a dreamy trance.

Approximately 10 men stood in a group around the doors. All the boys nudged at each other to decide who would answer the door, if any. They were unsure if they were at right to open the doors for strangers. But I was curious. I was not  going to play around with this game. I went right over and opened the door for them. I didn’t think anything of them at the time. They just seemed like normal guys. I wondered what their business might be with this school.

They came in from the cold and greeted us as normal human beings. One of them, a guy with a long beard, asked me where the cafeteria was. I told him that he had come in through the wrong side of the building for that. It was all the way across the school. But I did point him in the right direction. His look showed me that I had just made a Herculean mistake, it was of pure malice. He thanked me and then made a little motion towards his friends. From their bags they revealed guns, ones more powerful than I had seen in my entire life. They fired at my fellow students, easily handling them. Hayden was unfortunate enough to get shot in the throat. He laid on the hard surface of the floor croaking to his death for what seemed hours. It was actually quite entertaining; grotesque, but entertaining. I have a lighter state of mind now when it comes to things like my friend bleeding out in front of me. It’s all transcendent.

One clever goat (and by goat I mean that he his facial hair was literally shaved into the shape of a goat) tossed a blank gun in my lap. I jumped away, as any wise boy would do in such a case. Only such a naïve fool as, well, pretty much anyone who lived in that damn vile place would fail to comprehend their intent.  In order to make sure everyone understood exactly what happened, he fired a bullet into one of the walls. It burst through a cheap layer of drywall and into the head of one of the math teachers, an incredibly lucky shot. The halls filled in a quick moment – they are still animals, who know what a loud noise signifies. And I ran, just quick enough to narrowly avoid the grasp of a rather corpulent professor.

Local Enforcement searched for two days before their sirens ceased in a rather unanimous sigh. For several weeks I lived on a diet of roots and leaves, which were not all too nutritious. The metaphysical no longer felt complicated any longer. I lived like an eternal sufferer of hell, but I thrived with an optimistic disposition of the awe-struck wonderer of heaven. I touched the dew on the morning leaves. I’m free, I’m finally free of the world, I have my own place in the woods where I can live and be happy. Yet, at the same while, people only feet away, on the other side of the trees, suffered in their miserable monotony as they worked towards a certain doom. The world expanded, conditions grew worse and fate looked bleak. Finally, after about two months of my forest life, I got the courage to venture down to the city. I moved at night, when no one was out to spot me.  All I wanted was a paper. I wanted to read through the news. The headline reflected my suspicions, Terrorists Attack Small Wyoming School, 420 Killed In Massacre.

It would be overly spiteful to say they deserved such a terrible injury, but I cannot say I felt greatly empathetic. Society is a living organism. Its infrastructure, its citizens, they support the organism. The perseverance of faulty philosophies pumps the cancerous muck through its veins. To the body I am nothing but a virus, an unwanted pathogen. And, to put an end to this twisted analogy, the body decides to annihilate me from being.

The first, and only, place I went was to the residence of a good old friend. His shed was open so I allowed myself in. I took a hacksaw because, you know, hacksaw can always come into SOME use.  Then I took the food rations he kept under his work table, mainly gardening seeds, peanut butter and some canned goods. Delicious, I know. But that would be plenty sufficient for my lifestyle. I live off little. Forget the school, forget this uncontrollably expanding world. The true death of humanity will not come through our advancements but merely our stupidities. Our problem is when those two are unable to differentiate. I left for the forest, what remained of it, and have lived here to this day. I may come back to the city someday, but I intend never to see another human. And so I end my writing with a preposition, with the hope of one day correcting it up…

oh damn, it never happened.

Author bio: As the sun sets on the sleepy settlement, salty salamanders smack snakes softly as the sad snail sings. In other words, I like the color black, potato straws, football and blues.

No responses yet

My Name is Dave and I am Dead By Matt Demers

Sep 08 2013 Published by under The WiFiles

My name is Dave and I am dead. The doctors said it was a brain aneurysm no one could’ve predicted. I was only 38. Despite the circumstances, I convinced my boss Andrew to let me keep my job; minus health coverage.
“You’re dead.” Andrew told me while checking off pages on his metallic clipboard. The clipboard made it seem he was writing something important, but it was only inventory.
“Dead people don’t need benefits.” Andrew continued. “They don’t use prescriptions, and they don’t need check-ups.” He flipped a page and thumbed through a box of Payday chocolate bars, marking with his pen as he counted.
We heard an engine idle, and looked up from the sales wall to see a red F-150 coasting in from the 401 and stopping at Pump 5. The gas cap faced the wrong direction.
“Moron.” Andrew said under his breath, and went back to counting confectionery.
“I could really use massage therapy once in a while, you know, for the rigor mortis.” I begged.
“You think I was born yesterday? I knew a dead guy once. He said rigor mortis cures itself after two weeks. How long has it been for you? Three months?” He scribbled something down and turned to the bubble-gum rack, “Pump 5 is waiting.”
I didn’t recognize the vehicle until I pulled the hose over the truck bed to reach the tank. A long line of key scratches ran across the side door all the way to the back wheel well. Some of them were from me.
“Mr. Anderson?” I asked, positive it was his truck but not sure if it was him or his kid driving it. Cataracts are one of many afflictions of being dead.
“Dave?”
It was him. I could tell by his smoker’s rasp. He taught me wood shop in grade 9/10 split, and was probably the school’s most hated teacher. That was all water under the bridge though.
“Dave, I thought you died.”
“Yeah, I did.”
He rubbed his steering wheel pretending to smudge out imaginary grit. People get awkward once you confirm that yes, you are in fact dead.
“So, you’re still walking around eh? Isn’t that somethin’?” He asked.
It was something. But people asked the same old questions, and it was starting to get annoying. Now I know how muscle guys feel – How much do you bench?
He continued, “I must say, you look pretty good for a dead guy. What’s your secret?”
I gave him the same pre-fab answer I always used, “Well, I moisturise daily with Aloe Vera, and I’ve got something worked out with Marty, you know, the mortician on 2nd ave? He pumps me full of embalming fluid twice a month. I figure, if it works for Vladimir Lenin…”
“Who?”
No one ever got that joke, but everyone knew who Marty the mortician was. He dressed nice, and always had a metallic, chemical smell to him. He sponsored a little league team that wore bright yellow uniforms with his slogan: “Marty’s Morticianary Services: “We think outside the box so you don’t worry about whose in it.” Was “morticianary” even a word?
The hose wouldn’t reach despite a good yank, so Anderson flipped around to pump 2, where his cap would face the right direction. He warned me about humidity in the forecast and left with a reluctant handshake. I decided that even in death I didn’t like him.
We had a busy day at the gas station. Two people leaked rad fluid, and one couldn’t get their Volvo started after a fill-up. Another person’s credit card wouldn’t go through, and we both pretended that “insufficient funds” was a glitch in the system. “I’ve plenty of money,” the frumpy redhead said. Sure you do, honey. You’ve got cash like I’ve got blood pressure.
Being dead was kind of a pain in the ass. It confused the hell out of dogs, and during social events people always sat me at the kiddie table probably because I made things awkward for anyone. Even Marty the mortician couldn’t resist passing me off to the little rug rats who would no doubt question me on my palate for brains. He asked while inserting the catheter into my stomach:
“Dave, I’ve got a wedding coming up. Got anything going on next fall?”
“That depends. Will I be sitting with grown-ups?”
He shrugged the question off with a sniff, like it was absurd I was even asking, but he didn’t answer back, which confirmed my status as a social outcast. Luckily, “Who let the dogs out” rang from my pocket, and I fumbled for my Blackberry, thankful that the silence was broken.
“Oh, hi honey. Mr. Berkowitz called me again today. You remember him don’t you – Marty’s boss?”
I knew what this was about, and so did Marty. My mom was loud enough that he could hear her gabbing on. He shrugged his shoulders in a way that said: Friend, I was going to fill you in, but; you know how these things go.
“He’s such a nice man isn’t he?” My mom screeched. “You know his daughter is single and looking? And she’s a veterinarian. Oh, I know how you hate when I try setting you up, but I only do what’s best.”
She seemed distracted by something else, like she was cooking or ironing or god knows what else. I heard what sounded like pots being scrubbed in the background.
“Anyway, I was calling because Mr. Berkowitz and I have decided go through with the funeral regardless. I mean, we’ve paid for the flowers and the reception already, so we might as well get the family together. Plus, Aunt Rita’s air flight is non-refundable, and she really wants to see Les Misérables at the Fox.”
I could hear her flipping through tracks on the living room stereo – Prologue, Lovely Ladies, Master of the House, then back to Lovely Ladies. I knew the soundtrack off by heart. Mom saturated my childhood with Jean Valjean and his gang of French whiners. I hated that shit. I hated funerals too.
And it’s no different even when it’s your own. Actually, it’s probably worse. I couldn’t convince my mother to keep it closed casket, and the inner lining was uncomfortable. My nephew kept getting in line to poke me with a broken car antenna he kept hidden in his cashmere sweater, and it was hard to keep still and pretend I wasn’t aware of the whole ordeal.
“Can you guys not take pictures of me while I’m lying here,” I said to my mother’s friends when the flashing began to itch the irritated raisins that used to be my eyes. Who takes photos of a corpse at a funeral anyway? Some people.
The rest of the procession was a write-off, with me being in a grumpy mood. Even the eulogy was disappointing, my brother reminding everyone that I’d wet myself in grade 5 and how I said it was apple juice even though everyone knew apple juice doesn’t smell like piss. But, he said good things too; how I stayed up late one night to catch his pet hamster who’d broken out of his run-about ball. That was nice.
Regardless, I was sick of these people. Even while alive I wanted to be left alone. Now that I had my own casket, no matter how uncomfortable, I figured now was my chance. When mom signalled it was time to go after the last of my relatives left, I just laid with my arms crossed looking vacantly out the stained glass windows.
“We have to go before it starts to drizzle. You smell like fermented cabbage when you get wet.” She warned.
“I’m not going, mum. I’m staying in here.”
She fiddled with the purse straps, “You can’t stay. Andrew needs you pumping gas tomorrow morning.”
I stood my ground, “Dead people don’t work. Plus, you bought a plot in the cemetery. We might as well use it.”
My mum sat in the front pew, crossing her arms and holding her purse looking like an impatient mother waiting out her child’s temper tantrum. I wanted to be in the ground like dad. Just leave me a pair of headphones, some audio books, and a pack of Duracells. I’d be fine.
After a lot of plodding and pleading I convinced mom and Mr. Berkowitz to let me rest. I’ll probably be more bored than most dead people, but at least I won’t have to deal with the idiotic questions. It took death for me to realize that I never really enjoyed being alive in the first place. Before I closed the lid on myself at the graveyard, I handed Berkowitz a bribery cheque with most of my savings written on it. I wanted my epitaph changed right after my mum left. I told him that once they lowered me down and backhoed the dirt, to pay a scriber to chisel my gravestone so it read:
“Here lies David Mannford, beloved son and brother. Leave me the fuck alone.”
The End (no pun intended).

 

Bio: Matt Demers hails from Parts Unknown. His finishing movie is the Atomic Leg Drop. He current writes for MMArecruiter.com, FlashesInTheDark.com, and Demand Solutions. He has self-published three books and has been featured  in many e-zines and anthologies.
Bibliography: Windsor’s Scariest Ghost Stories The Talking Dead Behind our Walls The Savant

Check out Matt Demers’ uncensored horror anthologies entitled “Gore Magazine”.  Warning: not for the faint of heart!

No responses yet

Omen by K.J. Medico

Sep 01 2013 Published by under The WiFiles

Of course I had never liked Halloween. In fact, I found the whole concept quite hideous. It didn’t make sense to me why a whole population of creatures would choose to celebrate death and horror. The world was already terrifying enough without cackling witches, flickering jack-o-lanterns and ghouls floating about. To me, Halloween was absolutely the worst time of year. But my reasoning for feeling this way extended beyond the sadistic merrymaking of my human neighbors.

Yes, this holiday of darkness was quite sickening to me, but the month of October was also when nature became cruel. The temperatures began to drop and soon the cold was unbearable. The sun was almost completely invisible during the day, and in the night, the icy cobblestone streets positively chilled me to the bone. The world became dark, damp. But I couldn’t escape it. Those hard, cold streets of London were where I was born and they were where I knew I’d meet my end.

I sometimes wondered whether that day was lurking right around the corner— the day the world finally resolved to destroy me. After all, it had become very clear that it didn’t want me alive. Everywhere I went, it seemed there was someone wishing death on me, or at the very least, running away at the sight of me. The rodents fled before me for obvious reasons, but even the horses that trotted down the streets were agitated by my presence. On one occasion, I sent a whole carriage of people toppling to the ground after spooking a pair of seemingly well-trained Quarter-horses. At the time, I was quite pleased. You can probably guess by now that I didn’t fancy humans much.

A variety of creatures had always despised and avoided me, including many of my own kind, but the humans had always been the worst. The people in the streets usually scurried away, some screaming or cursing, although there had actually been a few humans who had attempted to kill me. One night while I was searching for food in an alleyway behind an old tavern, a woman noticed me, then began charging in my direction. She was brandishing a butcher knife in a rather murderous fashion while shrieking, “Omen! Omen!” For some reason, this word has followed me around since the day I was born, hence my name.

It had always been difficult to accept the identity my genetics had given me. Why should the world dictate my worth based on a trait I could not control, the darkness of my fur? It was this same universe that decided to create me the way that I am. Had it changed its mind? Or rather, was I simply an accident of nature, something that really had no purpose? More than anyone else, I felt I could relate to the cockroaches and the rats, who were wiped from the earth as quickly as they came into it, killed for being alive. In this way, I sometimes regretted my rodent meals, for it was these outcasts of nature alone who could have ever understood the daily grief and desperation of my soul to feel worthy of life, to be loved by even just one other soul…

However, there had been one source of comfort in this cruel world who I could confidently say did genuinely love me: my brother, George. When George was around, life didn’t seem so bleak. He had carried on as though London was a safe and beautiful place, and I think he honestly believed that it was. I never agreed with him on that, but living day to day was still much easier with my brother’s uplifting spirit by my side. The nights were cozier with his warm fur pressed against mine. The scarce meals we did share were much more enjoyable in his amiable company. I had someone to groom me after a rain. But soon, I was utterly, deeply alone.

George disappeared during the harsh winter of last year. It was foolish of me to have ever let him leave, but upon his urgent insistence to search for food, I eventually agreed to guard our old garbage bin while he hunted. We were both bone-thin, having gone two weeks without a meal. George swore that he wouldn’t let me die, even if it meant his own demise. So he set out in search of food, braving the rainy winter streets. I was tormented knowing that I allowed it. All of a sudden, my brother was gone from my life.

With every breath in me, I knew George was the most loyal, loving, good-hearted brother I could have ever asked for. But he did lack one important quality: vigilance. George never knew how to exercise caution, he didn’t fear the world the way I did, and part of me knew this played a role in his death. It was my own stupidity of letting him leave, yes, but if it had been me out there hunting, I knew I would have been able to return safely.

From that day on, I became even more fearful of the world around me. I had no way of knowing what specifically happened to George, but in this mad town, I knew it could have been anything. Strange, horrifying things happened in London, and not just during Halloween time. Immediately following George’s disappearance, I spent day and night searching the frigid streets, yowling his name. Although George never appeared, other things did.

During my searches, I ventured through the East End of London, a part of town I would have never elected to explore for any reason other than to locate my brother. It was not a pleasant experience. Homeless humans stumbled by while mumbling obscenities. Drunken prostitutes sang loudly in the streets, waking up the townspeople who yelled angrily and threw blunt objects out their windows. Whitechapel was filthier than any other part of London that I’d seen, and instinctively I knew it was also much more dangerous. This inkling gripped me even before having been stalked by a strange creature.

Not a week after George’s disappearance, I was running through a narrow alley in Whitechapel, crying out for my brother in vain, when I found myself face-to-face with a monstrous thing. I had only just passed the dusty old window when I realized there was something watching me from inside it: a dark, misshapen figure with huge eyes of flame. It was a sight I’ll never forget, one that gave me perhaps the worst shock of my life. I felt the blood in my veins turn to ice, felt my heart sear in my chest. Whatever the thing was seemed desperate and hungry, like it wanted nothing more than to eat me for supper. Needless to say, I didn’t give myself time to guess what I had just witnessed. Without another thought, I abruptly turned around and scampered back the way I had come.

I tried for months to forget that night, to wipe the horrifying image from my memory. But every time I thought of George, I remembered the dark figure, and a chill was sent up my spine as I wondered if that horrid creature could have been the thing that finished him off. I realized this was a morbid speculation, but several terrible events occurred in London soon after, which further fueled the notion.

That August, I witnessed an act of human-on-human violence. But not just any act. It was late in the night when I was searching Buck’s Row, a particularly nasty area of Whitechapel, when I noticed two figures moving in the shadows nearby. Well, one of them was moving. The woman lying on the ground was clearly dead. Her eyes were pasted open in a wide, glazed stare and she was bleeding profusely from the neck. I was frozen in shock as her counterpart used a knife to open her torso from breast to pelvis, then proceeded to disembowel her. I remained unnoticed by the killer through the entire act, but it wasn’t long before the sight overwhelmed me and I fled with the horrid images still eating at my brain like acid.
Over the following weeks, I learned through eavesdropping and local newspapers of “Jack the Ripper,” a highly wanted serial killer who had stricken three times since his first attack, the murder I had witnessed, the murder of Mary Ann Nichols. Gruesome photographs of the four prostitutes’ bodies accompanied news stories regarding who Jack could possibly be, but I had a feeling I knew exactly who: the figure I saw in the window less than a week after George disappeared.

I would have said that my deep disgust and hatred of the human species had become completely irreversible by that time, but that would not have been the whole truth. There was a reason why I continued searching Whitechapel for clues surrounding my brother’s disappearance since January, even up to October. That reason was Doctor Bones, the Whitechapel mortician. Doctor Bones was the only human to have ever reacted positively to my presence, and he was the reason why I suddenly had the ability to eat more than once a week. I had found him—or rather, he found me—shortly after my encounter with the figure in the window, and I began been living behind the morgue in Whitechapel from that point on.

Also, because Whitechapel was where I saw the figure in the window, (and I always instinctively knew that’s what killed my brother) it had dawned on me that I should relocate to that area, where I could eat regularly by the hands of Doctor Bones while continuing to investigate George’s disappearance in the location where I was most likely to find evidence. Make no mistake, I still loathed Whitechapel just as much as I always did, but there were only two things of vital importance to me at that time: my own survival, and finding out what happened to my brother. It was my belief that both of these could be best fulfilled if I stayed in Whitechapel.

But back to what I was saying about Doctor Bones. Yes, in a way, Bones had somewhat lifted my terrible opinion of humans, but not much. Even though Bones fed me as often as I would allow it, I still questioned his motives from time to time. I never let the man touch me, even though he seemed very eager to do so. He was almost too eager, and I worried about this. No, let’s face it. I worried about the man’s level of sanity in general. It took someone who was more than a little bit dotty to dice up their own species for a living. And based on the maniacal fashion in which Bones conducted his examinations, I would have said he was completely off his rocker.

Yes, I saw what went on inside the morgue. In fact, it was required that I enter the place in order to receive meals, which was why I still didn’t eat as often as I’d liked to. I couldn’t stand the stench of death, the sight of naked humans hanging limply from hooks in the ceiling, the others that were lined up on concrete metal slabs, waiting to be peeled open and probed with metal instruments. However, I had no choice but to see it at least once or twice a week. Bones had tried to leave food outside for me many times, but others of my own kind easily overpowered me. The world was a cruel place, and survival of the fittest dictated that Omen did not deserve to live. Once the local colonies had scarfed down every crumb of food, they deliberately tipped over the water bowl, ensuring that I remained not only hungry, but also parched.

I suppose it was fortunate that Bones chose to let me inside the morgue while keeping the others out. The place was revolting, but I had to go in to survive. Besides, I usually darted for the door as soon as I was done eating. However, Bones didn’t always let me out immediately.

“Stay inside for a little while,” said the mortician. “It’s not warm in here but it’s warmer than outside!” and then I got to observe one of his bloody shows.

Bones had been the sole medical examiner in charge of the Ripper murders, but I had a difficult time admiring his search for justice. In fact, I found it paradoxical and even a bit hypocritical that Bones sliced humans in order to track down a human-slicer. But the morbidity of it all did not end there.

Eventually, the morgue was decorated for Halloween. I really thought this must have been a sick joke. Celebrating the holiday of death in such a place was positively twisted, demented even. Soon, the corpses that hung from the ceiling turned slowly in the dim lamplight while colorful cutouts of ghosts and pumpkins did the same. Hear me well: I hated humans. However, I was not unbothered by rotting flesh or the concept of death. Looking at those poor devils, I would never have chosen to mock their grim circumstances. The least one could do was show respect so their souls wouldn’t return to haunt or seek revenge. I desperately wished Bones would remove the decorations, but I doubted that he would, seeing as he wouldn’t even stop singing Halloween songs for five seconds.

Bones was undeniably a nutty bloke, and likely sick in the brain to some degree, but there had been days when I looked at him differently, like a harmless old man. I usually corrected myself straight away. Deciding whether or not to completely distrust him had been an ongoing battle for me. Bones had been different from the start: he never screamed or cursed at me, he never ran away in terror, he never tried to butcher me as he did with members of his own species. Logically, it would have been silly to suppose he would ever attempt to harm me—Bones had kept me alive for months with proper nourishment and hydration. But then I wondered… for what purpose? Out of some unconditional generosity that contained absolutely no underlying motive? Did that level of kindness even exist in such a cold world? I couldn’t bring myself to blindly accept such a wild contention, which is why I couldn’t bring myself to trust Bones completely. However, I frequently feared that I had begun trusting him on accident. On a few occasions, I found myself becoming too comfortable in his presence, and as a result, nearly allowing physical contact. But each time, the shock of the closeness instantaneously flooded my chest, and I always pulled away just before. Bones merely chuckled, “You’ll come around.” I wasn’t so sure about this.

Besides, I couldn’t be bothered with such silliness at that moment. I was trying to focus my attention on staying alive past October 31st. Many people in the streets had been muttering speculations that Jack the Ripper’s next attack may have been planned for Halloween. This idea seemed rather odd to me, but whether or not Jack was so inclined to conduct his murders in this ceremonious manner, I had chosen to protect my neck more diligently than usual. Although I knew he killed my brother nine months before, his very recent resurgence of violent activity suggested to me that he was on a roll and was looking for his next victim, which could very likely have been me. My thinking was that, so far, Jack had killed one lone cat—my brother—and four Whitechapel prostitutes; he very clearly did not appreciate late-night street prowlers…

The days passed slowly, the nights got colder, and Jack the Ripper hadn’t struck since September 30th. Everyone was on their toes, including me, but none had seen Jack or located any new victims since the previous month. And as I waited, I stayed in the morgue as much as possible, taking cover from the murderous London streets in spite of the grotesque sights and smells that accompanied me inside. Eagerly, I watched Bones tick days off of his calendar, and was filled with joy when October 31st was finally crossed out with a big ‘X.’ At last, the page was turned to November. I couldn’t believe I had managed to live past Halloween, but one thing did strike me as slightly curious: Jack the Ripper hadn’t made a move since late September. Could this possibly have meant he had had his fill of killing?

It wasn’t long before I realized this was foolish, wishful thinking. On the morning of November 9th, a fifth prostitute was found dead in her bedroom. The nature of the crime irrefutably identified Jack as the perpetrator. I noted I would be seeing this new addition later in the morgue. Until my next visit, however, I had decided to do a bit of searching, since once again, Jack the Ripper was on the move. I had been hiding for long enough; I couldn’t be a coward forever if I was to learn my brother’s fate…

It was sunset when I began to stroll the streets cautiously, knowing that Jack could be lurking around any corner. I passed Mary Jane Kelly’s home, the location of the fifth Ripper crime scene. I was disturbed to see that the bed, whose sheets were thick with dried blood, was visible from the window. I observed that the investigators were still inside, searching the room for evidence, and I was quickly reminded of my own burden. I kept walking…

But just as I resumed my search, something much more alarming caught my eye, and I felt my heart nearly bound out of my chest. A few windows past the crime scene, I saw through another window a most electrifying sight: a small, tawny cat! Immediately I suspected George, but almost a second later, the balloon of my thrill popped with a painful bang. The cat in the window was not my brother, for this cat had dark markings on its face and tail, whereas George was solid brown, and even a bit more gray in color.

After so many George-less months, one might think that the edge of my pain should have subsided by then, but that was not the case. Even such a transient event teased my heart into a state of deep sorrow and resentment. That I would have believed for one shining moment that my brother was safe! What a cruel trick, I thought to myself. After my heart moved from ecstasy to sadness to bitterness, I inched closer to the window to get a better look inside, not so much out of a true curiosity, but rather out of boredom. The scene, although not as great as an image of my brother would have been, still managed to recapture my interest fairly quickly. George’s look-a-like was in the middle of a small sitting room, lounged comfortably between two humans that sat together on a small sofa. As the cat rolled lazily onto its back, the couple stroked the furry belly—and to my deep confusion, the cat allowed it. I might have even said, in my further astonishment, based on the closed eyes and the curled paws, this stroking was a feeling most enjoyable. How such trust? How such pleasure under the grimy hands of humans, I thought, humans of Whitechapel no less? I had never been familiar with the concept of “pets,” but it had been vaguely described to me through rumors in my brief encounters with other lone strays. For many reasons, it had always been difficult to fathom such a concept, a concept that to me seemed most disagreeable and even dangerous. But looking in on this scene… I wasn’t so sure. Humans could be disgusting creatures, there was no doubt about that, but in all honestly, those of my own kind had been exceptionally cruel at times too. In that moment, I realized it was possible that I had been disproportionately fearful of humans, and had even held on to this fear a bit too ardently. And although I wouldn’t have denied that Bones was bloody mad, perhaps he harbored a similar feeling for me… a feeling of warmth or even love?

At this point, I must make a confession, and in doing so, clumsily change topics. I had always suspected the dark figure in the window to be both Jack the Ripper and my brother’s killer, and this had kept me fearful of that window, even though I was sure it was the window of the Ripper’s home. It had been weighing on my mind since that January that I may have had the address of Jack’s residence—the key to learning my brother’s fate—encased within my very skull. But in my own cowardice and desperate clinging to self-preservation, I had led myself into a sort of denial. To have thought that Jack’s own home would contain no helpful evidence! What foolishness. I was overcome with regret and yet, somehow through it all, also an accompanying surge of intense bravery. My own fear had kept me from solving George’s mystery, and now I believed it was finally time to remedy my mistake. I realized I had nothing to lose. If I died in the home of Jack the Ripper, I was merely saving myself from a life without my brother…

As I pondered all this, the sky had become much darker, and the only ones left in the cold outdoors were the prostitutes, homeless and strays. I was chilled by the familiar spookiness of Whitechapel at night, but I moved forward, down frozen cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways, towards the very spot in which I experienced the most acute shock of my entire life…

I came to the building within ten minutes, and I could already see the window from where I stood. Only a screen of blackness was visible from this distance, but I knew I must move closer, I must see into Jack’s home. Still riding a wave of confidence, I traveled at a quick canter, ignoring my icy lungs and my thundering heart. Closer and closer I came to the window, and even though my body felt to be flying at immeasurable speeds, time seemed to crawl; the window crept towards me painfully slowly, inches to the minute. Bracing myself, I came upon the building and I held my breath as I finally reached the window, the window through which I first saw Jack the Ripper. For the second time in one evening, I felt my heart nearly burst in my chest—the shock of the dark, misshapen figure glaring at me with huge, flaming eyes hit me just as profoundly as if I had been kicked in the face. But this time, I didn’t run. I faced Jack, I faced him with my own flaring eyes, my claws, my teeth, my—

I paused, heart still pounding wildly within me, and slowly backed away from the window. To my utter bewilderment, the figure did the same. Instantly, I realized… I had made a mistake. Looking a bit closer at the dusty window, I saw that it was not Jack staring back at me with huge, yellow eyes, but my own reflection. At first, I was confused as to why my body seemed to be so horribly misshapen, but I quickly understood that the glass of the window had been broken, and my image appeared distorted because of this…

This… How could this be? I was nearly speechless. This figure was merely a figment of my imagination? It had haunted me for months, for nearly a year, and now I was to believe it never existed? But it did exist! It was always real! However, it was never Jack the Ripper. Alas, it was me! It was Omen! My own self! How mad and yet, how bloody hilarious! Omen, you silly fool, I thought. You’ve endlessly tormented yourself through an image of your own body, completely blind to the dumb brain inside it. As my heart slowed, I remembered my brother, and the countless times he had tried in vain to teach me bravery…
“You should relax a little,” he used to say, “and be more trusting of others. If you choose to see the world as a beautiful and safe place, that will become your reality!”
In those moments, I would write George off as a loon. But suddenly, I understood…

Although this revelation had brought me no closer to finding George, I realized, finally, that it was okay. A strange sensation came over me… I felt free. I felt happier and more alive than I had ever felt in my life! I was not even exactly sure why, but I was sure of this: I may have never gotten to see George again, or even find out what happened to him. But if my brother was gone, truly gone forever, I was ready to accept that. My life was made immensely more joyful because of George’s presence in it, and I knew I would never take those precious moments for granted again. I had been a foolish, foolish feline and a fiend to my own mental health. I love you, George, I said to him, but if this is truly good-bye, well, then… good-bye.

At that point, I chose to give up my search, but this was not the only decision I made that night. Without even seeing my surroundings or feeling the wet air on my fur, I realized that I had arrived back at the morgue. I meowed for entry and Bones immediately arrived at the door, welcoming me inside. As Bones filled my food and water bowls, I found that he had already lifted Ms. Kelly onto the examination hook. I also observed that Jack the Ripper had saved Bones the trouble of making the ventral incision. How kind.

“This is the worst one yet!” Bones exclaimed, setting down my bowls and moving back towards the hanging corpse. “May not have been able to identify her if she hadn’t been found in her own home!”

For the first time, Bones’ excitement did not upset me, and I was able to eat my meal without feeling nauseous. The visual was far from pleasant, but I was not bothered by it. I acknowledge the sadness of the crime and of such a painful death, but I knew that Ms. Kelly had moved on and was no longer in pain. I was sure that, much like my brother’s, her soul was happy and free. Somehow, I felt as though I was joining them in this joyful liberation.

As I cleaned the last morsel of food from my bowl, I realized that Bones had arrived beside me. I merely looked up at him as he knelt down to my level, and for perhaps the hundredth time, he attempted to touch my head. However, for the first, I allowed the contact. As I was stroked and scratched, I experienced instant pleasure. What a feeling that I had been denying myself for months!

“You’re ready,” Bones said suddenly, smiling calmly down at me.
After taking a few minutes to restore order to the morgue, Bones packed up his things and moved to the far side of the examination room where a host of colorful corpses lay in a row on the concrete slabs. He leaned down behind one of them, and retrieved a small crate with a handle and a door. Bones opened it as he moved back towards me, then set the crate down on the stone floor.

“Trust me,” he said.
Without taking even a moment to contemplate my decision, I entered the crate and lay down inside, watching through the small holes as I was carried out of the morgue and down the street.

We passed gas street lamps and a variety of buildings, many streetwalkers looking on as Bones walked by, crate in hand.

Before long, I entered warmth again and my crate was laid on the ground for a second time. As I was let out and into Bones’ vast, lovely home, the first thing that caught my eye was my brother, George! I was in shock, I was in awe! I could not believe the sight! My heart surged with joy as I’ve never experienced in my life. Words escaped me as I stared at my brother, after almost a year of having believed he was dead, after a painful journey in search of him that I had thought would never end.

“You finally came around,” he said.

No responses yet