Hi I'm a Social Disease: Horror Stories (10 page)

BOOK: Hi I'm a Social Disease: Horror Stories
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Elijah went back to Hunter and dragged him toward the branch. Hunter screamed and twisted, trying to get away from Elijah, his fingers clawing at the asphalt until the ends of them were turned into bloody rags.

Elijah hoisted him up from the bungee cord bundle around his knees and raised him above his head. He was glad Hunter was not a fat man. Hunter swung his one good arm fiercely, raising it up and ramming Elijah in the groin. Elijah winced and briefly let go of the cords, sending Hunter to the asphalt on the top of his head. Hunter tried to slither away in some kind of hideously modified Army crawl. Elijah took a deep breath and kicked at Hunter’s good elbow until his torso was flush against the asphalt.

Snatching the heavy pliers from his back pocket, Elijah brought them down continuously on Hunter’s arm until he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to move it anymore.

Elijah dragged Hunter back over to the tree, again hoisting him up, happy and disappointed at the same time that some of the fight seemed to have left Hunter. Elijah pulled Hunter up until his head was even with Elijah’s knees and stuck the open s-hook through one of the links in the chain, fastening the hook shut with the pliers.

By that point, Hunter had stopped struggling. Suspended there, his eyes rolled back in his head, drool came out of his mouth, running over his cheeks and pooling in his eye sockets before melding with his sweat-matted hair. Elijah retreated to the car, shutting the trunk and the other doors before sliding into the driver’s seat.

The car started without a problem. Elijah gunned the ignition until the tires found traction and allowed him to strainingly back out of the ditch. He continued to back the car up the road, to allow for acceleration. He checked the rearview mirror to make sure another car wasn’t coming along to ruin everything.

Suddenly, his breathing got caught up in his throat. His stiff, adrenaline-filled body was reduced to a shivering mass.

His face.

His face was the color of a bruise, dark blue swirling into black.

He gunned the accelerator, ripping his eyes from the mirror and watching the speedometer as it climbed.

The car hit the swinging Hunter and continued off the other side of the road, into the woods, crashing into a number of the trees.

Elijah sat in the car, all too quiet after the deafening crash, listening to the hissing of the engine, the quiet tinkling of glass dripping from the windshield and onto the dash. He felt blood running down his face. There were many other parts of his body he couldn’t feel at all.

Slowly, he slid out of the door, dragging a bloody arm across his face to stop the blood running into his eyes. Walking toward the road, he kept his eyes on Hunter. Or what was left of Hunter. The car had ripped him in half and what hung from the branch looked like a pair of pants spilling some type of intestinal gore. Below Hunter, the road was covered in a pool of dark blood.

Elijah stood there, not knowing what to do.

Something hit him in the head and knocked him to the ground.

He stared up at the darkening sky.

Then he saw Maya, standing over top of him.

She was crying. She held a large rock with two hands.


My God, look at you,” she said. “What’s wrong with your face?”


He found me, Maya.”


Who found you, Elijah?”


He
did.”


I never knew you were so fucking miserable.”


Sometimes it happens, Maya. It happens.”

Elijah closed his eyes.

Maya sat down on his torso and looked at him, her tears dripping down onto his face like a bruise. She raised the rock up above her head and brought it down on that face until it went away, becoming something else.

The Photographer

 

Verner stood on the balcony of his 23
rd
floor penthouse suite. The city, with all of her glittering lights, still seemed cold to him. Despite the warm breeze coming in off the Pacific, the city was still cold. Was the feeling one of physical cold or was it one of isolation? That wasn’t a question Verner asked a lot. Truthfully, he didn’t really give a damn. It didn’t really matter the city held all the grandeur and mystery of a corpse laid out on an autopsy table. What mattered to Verner was the power he held over the city. Like the woman in the other room, the city was something he would demolish.

Only, the woman in the other room wasn’t really a woman at all, was she? No, Verner admitted to himself, she was probably just a girl. He doubted if she was more than fifteen or sixteen. Didn’t matter now, did it? His business with her was done. How many others like her had there been? Countless, like the cold cities he moved through. Countless. Worthless.

Verner pulled his silk robe around his freshly bathed body and lit a Dunhill. He sighed, blowing out a stream of smoke. Tomorrow, he had to go into the Santo Corporation and tell the company president which people to terminate. It would be roughly half the corporation. Santo was the largest employer in the city. The move would be devastating. Tomorrow, as he had been so many days in the past, Verner would be God. As mysterious as God, too. The people who would find themselves without a job would never see him, would never know his name.

Verner went back into the expansive penthouse, figuring he’d have a scotch before retiring for the evening. He reminded himself to call a cab for the mess in the bedroom before completely retiring. Bringing the cigarette up to his mouth, he noticed a speck of dried blood under his thumbnail. Must have missed it in the shower, he thought. He sat down on the couch and took the top off a large, ornate wooden box sitting slightly crooked on the glass coffee table. That’s where he kept all the random things like fingernail clippers, lighters, batteries—all the stuff there wasn’t much of another place to put. Instead of the miscellany he usually saw, there rested a letter-sized envelope.

That’s odd, he thought. He couldn’t quite remember tossing it in there. Before eagerly tearing into the envelope, he noticed it hadn’t come through the postal network. No return address. No postmark. Maybe it was something he’d carried home from one of the corporations.

He took out the few small pictures and it all came back to him.

 

It must have been a little more than thirty years ago now. The air raid had flushed them out. Well, the air raid had dropped the bombs that flushed them out. Verner’s decimated troop was so terrified they were simply mowing down anything in their way.

Verner wasn’t terrified, though. Each night, he slept soundly, awaking in the morning with a feeling of exhilaration rushing through his veins. War was quite simply a game where the strongest, the most cunning, survived. Verner had no doubt he was the strongest, both mentally and physically. There was slow-witted Tibbs from Tennessee. Wallace from someplace like North Dakota who always thought a snake was going to slither up and bite him while he shat. Bergman from New Hampshire acted like he’d rather be in Canada or Mexico, anywhere but here. There were others. Verner hated them as much as he did the people on the other side. More, probably, since he had to listen to all of their idiotic little conversations that usually involved the girl back home. Verner wanted to tell them that girl was undoubtedly getting her brains fucked out by some guy who was just waiting for them to leave—in short, someone like Verner.

Yeah, the bombs flushed them out.

And Verner and the rest surrounded the ramshackle village, waiting for them to run through the smoke jabbering their idiotic mutant chatter. That’s when they opened fire, aiming for the nameless figures. Sometimes, it amazed him to see how many came running.

Off to his right, he noticed one of them running away.


Three o’clock!” Verner shouted to Tibbs.


Fuck! Let it go!” Tibbs shouted back. If it hadn’t been for the bullets in Tibbs’ gun, bullets that may eventually find their way into the enemy, Verner would have killed Tibbs, simply because of the weak look in his eyes.

Verner took off toward the figure. Of all the ones he hated, he hated the ones who almost got away the most. This one was fast, running in a jagged pattern. Verner didn’t fall for it. He kept straight on, waiting for the smallest mistake. He got close enough to the figure to be able to tell that it was a woman. This spurned him on even more. The figure darted off to her left, a little wider, and Verner continued straight.

After a couple of seconds, he cut quickly to his left, holding his gun diagonally across his torso, thrusting himself into a collision. She was the one who went down, of course.

Sprawled on the ground, panic danced in her eyes.

To make sure she wouldn’t be going anywhere, Verner brought the butt of the gun down on her ankle. He circled her, the sound of gunshots rolling in the distance, the pealing screams of someone cracking up or melting down. He could already feel himself stiffening.

 

That had been only one incident. There were a number of others. He’d probably been mythologized as some kind of monster in their language. He never killed them. No, that was too easy and, in the end, did death really make much of a point or was it just something that had to happen? No, what Verner did was much worse than death—and much more memorable.

The girl in the other room moaned. Probably just cleaning out a wound, Verner thought.

After looking at the first photograph, Verner had moved back out onto the balcony. There were several more. All of them in vivid color. The dominant color was red. Verner dragged on his cigarette. What was it he felt? Pride? Maybe, a little bit. Confusion? Probably. How the hell had the pictures got there and, more importantly, who had taken them? It was a question that couldn’t be answered, of course. It was like a paradox. Who takes the pictures when there’s no one around? It certainly wasn’t him. That would have been too messy.

But there was another feeling Verner felt. A new feeling. It was the feeling of inconsolable dread.

Verner turned and let the pictures float down over the city, vulgar confetti.

The heavy door to his bedroom creaked loud enough for Verner to hear it out on the balcony.

The figure that came out wasn’t the young girl he’d taken in there just hours before. The only thing similar was the smooth skin hanging from the seeping organic shape inside. A row of faces descended down the front of its torso. All of them similar, none of them the same. All were recognizable.


Someone had to die!” Verner barked at the monstrosity. Claws like razors came out from what Verner guessed were the hands. They clicked against the coffee table.

It spoke in the soft voice of the girl he’d picked up that night. The one who called herself only “Li.”


Yes,” it said. “Someone had to die.”

Even though the hybrid was far away from Verner, everything slammed into him at once. He was helpless and he knew it. It moved toward him, standing at the balcony’s threshold.

Verner thought about what he’d done to his victims. He couldn’t let that happen to himself. He remembered their screams, remembered the way the skin sounded as he tore it apart, remembered the feeling of power as he stood over top of them. He remembered the look in their eyes—the complete absence of sanity. The hybrid reached out those razor fingers, grunting as Verner had when he thrust into those countless girls, all on separate occasions, all together now.

Verner lashed out at the hybrid, gouging at the eyes rapidly emerging from the filmy skin. Anger numbed him to the slashing razors. He braced himself against the railing, kicking out with his bare feet. The hybrid got hold of his feet and swung them around, sending Verner to dangle over the city, his hands clutching the top of the railing. The hybrid stood there for a moment, making sure each of its myriad eyes took in Verner’s situation. Then, as slowly as it had come out to the balcony, it reached out a hand and gracefully sliced through Verner’s fingers.

With a final shout, he fell away from the balcony, plummeting down into the cold bowels of the hot city.

The hybrid watched as its personal demon,
their
personal demon, bombed his way down into the darkness. Turning away from the city, the hybrid split apart, beautifying itself, becoming countless, becoming whole.

The Funeralgoer

 

Thrip had a lot of problems.

He found it impossible to explain most of his actions.

He did not have a job. He did not have any friends. Other than obtaining the bare essentials of life—food, coffee, and cigarettes—he rarely ventured outdoors. Besides those bare essentials, a funeral was the only other thing that could draw him from his cramped, cavelike apartment. Over the past sixteen years, ever since turning sixteen, he had been to two-hundred and eighteen funerals. He had seen
Harold and Maude
and knew what he was doing was not wholly original but, like most other things, he could not explain it.

BOOK: Hi I'm a Social Disease: Horror Stories
2.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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