Abe opened his eyes. He felt her breath on his back and smiled in the comfort that she was still there. He woke several times in the night to reach back and feel her form, her heat, resting against his skin. He was sure madness would follow if she was gone, as it had happened before. Abe closed his eyes. He didn’t want to think about those times, he just wanted to concentrate on her steady breathing. It gave him goose bumps. He sat up on the edge of the bed and looked down at her mascara-filthy eyes, smearing dark stains on his clean pillow cases. Irritated by this, he grabbed the bonds that held her hands and snatched her up. Abe didn’t want this one messing his sheets too. They always did. Bitches.
It always amazed Abe how quickly a woman followed directions. A threatening look and a forceful tug on her bonds and she was a lamb. She stood before him with wide red eyes, a ghost of the playful flirtatious eyes that stared at him at the bar last night. She learned fast, but not without testing her limits; a fresh set of bruises around her arms could attest to this fact. Not the face; never the face. He untied her hands and led her to the bathroom. He liked this one a lot, she was quiet. The last one, a fiery redhead, screamed like mad. Abe finally super-glued her lips together to stop her persistent howling. She had screamed horribly when she finally ripped her lips apart … well, almost apart. The top lip had stayed attached to the lower, just torn above. It was almost comical watching her scream out from above her two closed lips, but he threw her down and stepped on her neck to shut her up. She hadn’t lasted long.
He sat outside the door while the current woman showered, always mindful of the time limit he set to clean herself. He never watched them shower; he didn’t want to be considered a pervert. Abe was a gentleman, a damn fine catch, according to his Aunt Diane. She should know. After his parents died in a car crash, his relatives took him in. He was sixteen then and it was a seemingly loving household. Abe had been content to finish school and live with his easily controlled aunt and uncle. A couple of years passed and living there was better than fending for himself. Free room and board, then came the perks. Very often after hearing his uncle begin his nightly snoring did his aunt visit his bed. At first Abe felt wrong about it but surmised that she wasn’t blood-related and being eighteen he had urges, needs she was willing to fulfill. Abe had grown quite accustomed to this arrangement, yet he felt so empty as he watched his aunt leave his bed with his semen running down her thighs.
One morning Abe woke to his Uncle James standing over him, spurting a stream of obscenities. His face was a mask of ugly red with slotted eyes, and he spit a steady spray as he yelled. Abe stared, not hearing the nasty words but the smacking sounds his wet lips made as they slapped together, and couldn’t help but pity this waste of life. Looking up at the man, noting his uncle was clad in a pair of red satin pajamas, his stomach turned.
“You need to be a man,” Abe sneered as he sprang from bed and hit him under the jaw with his fist. Uncle James reeled back, his mouth emitting a spray of blood and spit while he hit the wall. Looking down into his uncle’s fearful eyes, Abe pulled his penis out of his boxers and urinated on the man. As Abe left their house, Aunt Diane grabbed his arm and spun him. She was nursing a large black eye and a split lip. Abe took her into his arms and kissed her deeply, licking the blood off her lips. He pulled back and gazed into her eyes. “Fucking whore,” he hissed with his mouth drawn back in disgust, and pushed her sprawling across the room then walked out, never looking back. A fond farewell.
Abe had laughed when he read about their murder-suicide. Guess Uncle James had some balls after all, he mused. His parents’ home sat vacant, rightfully his, as was the world.
The water shut off. Abe waited patiently outside the bathroom door, but there was not a sound. Not a single bump, cough, or even scream. He knocked, the polite thing to do, then entered. The air hung heavy with hot steam. The floral-patterned curtain was still drawn across the shower. He looked down with disgust at her panties lying in the middle of the floor, then kicked them aside with his foot.
They began to dissolve into a muddy smear in the humid air. What the hell? he thought, stepping over the puddle of black from the slowly melting panties. It started to fill the cracks between the tiles. He drew back the curtain … nothing. The shower stall was totally empty except for a strange odor. A smell that reminded Abe of the trash after it sat in the sun for a couple of days. He turned quickly, eyes darting to every corner of the small room. Where is this bitch? Then he saw the mirror. One word was written in the foggy mirror in a brown-edged smear.
Abe stared at the word, trying to comprehend. His mind was working scenarios out in his head, but they all were running short of an answer. He looked up at the ceiling, searching for a forgotten passage. He discounted this immediately, for there was no passage. Since her towel was still here, he couldn’t imagine her being wet and nude in the two feet of blown fiberglass insulation above. She might be quiet but nobody could endure that in silence. He grabbed the towel and wiped the dripping letters on the mirror: they were more than written, the glass was etched deeply with grooves. Abe looked down at the basin edge and saw where the glass had dripped into small fragile buttons. A large bangle bracelet lay there encircling more of the brown stain dripping into the drain.
“What the hell did she slip me?” He spoke under his breath. “Yeah, that’s it; fuckin’ bitch musta given me something last night.” He looked closely at the edge of the drain and touched the substance with the tip of his finger.
A slight sting quickly grew into an agonizing burning. Abe began to rub his finger on his shirttail and found it wasn’t the best course of action. The skin from his fingertip flaked off. He yelled out. The pain was excruciating. What is this shit? he wondered, holding up his finger to examine. The movement dislodged his fingernail and it dropped to the tile floor. His eyes followed it, and then he noticed how the toe of his boot was slowly falling away exposing the steel toe where it had touched the long-gone panties. The nail melted away beside it. Abe quickly kicked the boot off. His finger was gone to the first joint, and showing no sign of slowing. Wide-eyed, holding his finger, he ran to the kitchen.
Abe had to push the cleaver the rest of the way through the bone of his finger. The cracking sound was louder than his cursing. The brownish liquid stopped as it reached the blade, before his finger slid away. A slight spray of blood stopped as Abe wrapped his hand tightly in a dish towel. He watched the stump of his missing finger as it spread out on the cutting board into a brownish goo. Amazed, he watched the small puddle begin to eat down into the wood cutting board. His lips moved as he tried to sort things out in his head. He looked at the towel in his hand blooming with blood and knew it needed attention first. Turning on the burner of the stove, he laid a knife in the flame. As the blade turned red, he unwrapped his hand, laying the heated blade against it. The pain and the stench made him vomit in the sink before he passed out.
He woke in ecstasy, lying on his back, loving when his aunt woke him this way. Abe stroked her head until his fingers entered the grey matter in the hole on the back of her skull. His eyes flew open as he pushed away … nothing. A faint smell of her cheap perfume lingered in the air as his member, still wet with spit, became flaccid. Pushing himself up, he remembered the raw nerves on his hand and yelled out in pain as he fell back down. Cradling his hand to his chest, he used his free hand to pull himself up with a chair. A few strands of blonde hair were still in his grip, attached to a grey piece of scalp. Abe watched as they faded away. He laughed, calling out, “Okay, what did you give me?” No answer.
Oh, this bitch is gonna pay.
A low groan grew louder as Abe followed it back to the master bedroom. Entering, he stood slack-jawed at the figure sitting in the corner of the room. The groaning ceased as it noticed Abe. It was wearing red satin pajamas. With skin a sickening black, Uncle James lifted his gaze to Abe. His eyes, a milky grey color, seemed to be ready to escape their sockets and slide down his cheeks. A lone maggot crept out of his left eye and traveled down his face, looking like an obscene tear. Opening his mouth, the bottom lip drooped to the left and released a slow dark yellowish ooze that dropped noisily on his lap as he sat cross-legged.
“Bastard,” he slurred, “I gave you everything.” Then a loud belch escaped his mouth, making the yellow ooze drop off and filling the room with the stench of the grave.
“What the hell?” Abe’s mind raced for sanity.
Uncle James chuckled, “You don’t know what Hell is … yet.”
The maggot had found its way down and joined the flowing mucus, riding it to the growing puddle.
“You’re dead!” Abe yelled as he reached for the bedside lamp to use as a club if necessary. Uncle James started to wheeze a laugh as he continued to spew foul fluids out onto his crossed legs.
“I always thought you were a smart one!” he groaned, trying to stand up. Uncle James was still cackling as his legs fell out from underneath him and his skin split and exploded into a soup of pus and maggots when he hit the floor.
Abe stepped back quickly as the wave of gore spread across the polished wood, filling the cracks and seeping down into the crawlspace.
The floor came alive as the boards were pounded from below. Sharp cracks and bumps vibrated on his bare feet. Abe retreated to the bed until the cord from the lamp in his hand pulled tight. The room went silent a second before the crawlspace door slammed open behind the closet door.
Abe stared as the ornate glass doorknob turned slowly and the door’s hinges squealed lightly.
Her long beautiful red hair had not been marred by death. Though her head lay in an odd angle upon her shoulder, her green eyes were just as lovely as ever. Beneath the woman’s nose, the skin hung loosely down around her exposed chin bone. The sight was almost comical with her lips lying in folds like a turtleneck sweater of skin. Abe could see where the plastic and duct tape she was so well encased in had been torn through, left dragging behind her as she stumbled out of the closet. Another cocoon of plastic was wiggling its way up from under the floor in the closet, behind the graying skin of her shoulder. He swung the lamp, only to be slowed mid-swing as the cord was unexpectedly pulled from the wall. It connected with her jaw, knocking her off balance.
Abe saw the progression of other plastic-sheeted phantoms working their way out of the closet. The sounds of the crackling plastic filled the room. Abe felt the bed sheet pull tight as her green eyes looked over the edge of the mattress, followed by her dislodged jaw hanging askew.
Abe screamed, closing his eyes, and waited. He opened them to an empty room with the closet door shut. No plastic. No red hair. No floor full of cocoons of death.
“No shit!” Abe laughed, slipping his foot to the floor and stopping abruptly as he felt plastic. He snatched his foot up and looked down until a hand stroked his back from the bed behind. He spun to see the girls, in different states of decomposition, leaning on their elbows. Those that had teeth and a face left smiled at him. The red-haired lady lay on the bed with her graying fingers and deep red nail polish pulling Abe down then straddling him. The others encircled the bed and held him as she leaned over his face, and from her broken mouth came a single drop of brown fluid.
He felt the sting immediately on his forehead. The tight skin melted off and exposed Abe’s skull as the fluid burrowed deeper. Screaming when it melted away his eyelids, his last sight was her green eyes while his legs kicked out in spasms.
Abe opened his eyes. He could feel her breath on his back and he smiled in the comfort that she was still there. He woke several times in the night to reach back and feel her form, her heat, resting against his skin. He was sure madness would follow if she was gone …
As it had happened before.
© 2011 Jerry W. McKinney