It’s almost funny. You could almost say I’d been preparing for this my whole life. I had seen every movie. Read every book, every comic. I had video games. I even recorded mini-series. My costume was a staple at every Halloween party and Comic-Con event. People expected to see me in my best gaping wounds and shuffle step, they talked about it afterwards. Who could blame them? I really committed when I was in character. So when I came home to find one in my kitchen, I suppose I wasn’t entirely surprised, not really. I suppose I’d been waiting for it for a long time.
What did shock me was to see my wife sprawled on the floor, hands pushing feebly against its back, mouth gaping noiselessly, as it ate at her. Her eyes met mine for a moment and there I saw the fear, the panic. The floor was wet, sticky, slick. The smell was grotesque. I found her eyes again. Silent, pleading, tears streaming.
I never questioned my next move. Most days I still don’t.
I reached for a knife from the counter and lurched unsteadily towards the grotesque pair. I could not take my eyes from her. She made a sound then, I think she was trying to scream, maybe call out to me. But fear caught the noise in her throat and it trailed off helplessly. It never even noticed me. It just kept eating at her, its teeth and jaws working away as she struggled to push it from her. My arm seemed to move on its own accord, plunging again and again into the base of its skull. For the first time it turned its attention on me, arms flailing as I hacked indiscriminately. My wife screamed then, harsh and hard in my ear as I brought myself close to finish it.
Once it lay still on the ground beside us, I took her hand in mine. I wiped tears, snot and blood from my face, tried to make myself a little more presentable. I even tried to smooth my hair down. I pulled her in close to me, to calm her harried breathing. Many of my haphazard strokes had cut her as well. Across her face, arms, hands, neck. But the damage had been done long before I arrived.
She blinked at me. She tried to speak but only managed to spill blood from her lips and her ruined throat. Her hair was plastered to her skin, red and wet, clinging to her face. It hurt me more than it hurt her, I am sure of it. I think I whispered something to her, there at the end, but all I could concentrate on was what had to be done.
I retched when it was over. Doubling into the sink and emptying myself. I sat on the floor then and held what was left of her, sobbing until my throat hurt and I was dizzy. That was when they came for me. Or maybe it was later, it became hard to keep things straight. I may have gone outside to breath. They must have been attracted by the blood. Or maybe I didn’t, I honestly don’t know.
They came for me all the same. So I ran. I ran until my lungs burned and my head was swimming. I can’t even remember how I ended up here. But here I am and I have sat in this room, alone, for weeks now. Or maybe it’s been months. I can’t keep track anymore.
And they are outside. Still, after all this time. I can hear them. Maybe they can smell me. I tried to wash the blood away, but somehow they can still smell it, they still know I am here. They are always there. They never leave. There are more of them every day. They know I am here.
When I first found this place, before I had the sense to barricade the door, one of them almost made it inside. I had been sitting, staring blankly at the wall for what felt like days when it came.
Its arm, shoulder and head were through before I could throw my weight against the door. I slammed myself into the metal, heard the crunch of what must have been bone. I pushed as hard as I could, only letting up to slam down again. I struggled to keep my feet, slipping on the suddenly slick floor. The air smelled strongly of iron and it made me think of my wife.
I reared back, for one final crushing blow, when just as suddenly as it appeared it retreated. Howling and writhing, pieces left behind. This time I made sure the door was locked. I pushed the bed against it too, just in case. And that was the last one I saw. But I hear them all the time. Just outside the door. The low murmur of their moaning. Sometimes pieces of them make it through the break in the door as they try to get to me. Rotting flesh that lies piled and untouched on the mattress. It taunts me.
I haven’t eaten in so long. Some days that growing heap of putrid parts looks almost appetizing. Once or twice I have reached my hand out to take a bite, just one bite, but I know what I would become. So I sit in this corner, as far from the door as I can, and I wait for them. I know they are coming. Just like I always imagined they might. It’s only a matter of time. It’s almost funny…
April 18, 2010
Patient was admitted upon mental break following the murder of his wife and her lover.
Patient is considered extremely dangerous and attacked an orderly soon after admittance. Since that time, no staff has been able to enter the room. Attempts have been made to introduce sedatives through food but patient is currently refusing all food.
Patient has developed a disturbing new habit. He has not ceased laughing for three (3) straight days.
At this time, due to the extreme violent nature of the situation, it is the recommendation of this doctor to wait and allow the patient to drop himself into a sedative state – a natural result of mental exhaustion, dehydration, and starvation. Then we will be able to safely transport the patient to a more secure environment where his needs will be better met.
I will revisit this issue if it does not resolve itself soon.
Daniel Watkins M.D., M.M.M
[scrawled in pencil at the bottom: “If I knew what the hell was so funny, maybe I could help him.”]