On the other side of the kitchen there was a skeleton of a man, his skin tight on his bones near transparent. He was naked, covered in dirt and he stood there on the other side of the center counter. He was fighting with Sarah. He was pulling at her clothes and when he saw exposed skin, he bit down. Already her arms were red with blood from where he had taken chunks of her flesh.
Lizzie stood in the doorway frozen. She had no clue what should she do. This wasn’t possible. They were there to check out the house she just inherited. There was nothing in the lawyers description of the place that said there would be a crazy, naked man attacking them when they went there. The house was hidden back in the woods. It was supposed to be the home of a reclusive hermit of a man who had once been her uncle. Nowhere in the description was there mention of a crazy man who would eat them.
Her mind felt like it was going into overdrive as she saw her friend’s clothes being ripped. Tears streamed down her face, and she just stood there. She watched, fighting with her own desire to flee.
Neither of them saw her there as both were turned away. Lizzie could just run right back out the door and leave this craziness behind her. It would be easy. She could run to her car, call the police, and drive away. The realtor and the crazy man can have this place, she would leave and never come back.
Something told her that if she did leave, there would be no escape. She would return. Deep inside, she new she would have to come back there.
Why, and why did it matter now?
It didn’t. She had to do something. This man was tearing apart her friend. She had to do something about it.
She started to look around the kitchen for anything she could use.
The man ripped Sarah’s shirt, reaching for the exposed shoulder beneath. It was then that he turned to Lizzie. She could tell from the focus that he had known she was there. He grinned at her, his teeth covered in blood as he gave her a wide tooth smile that seemed to large for his mouth. He had too many teeth and all of them looked sharper than they should have been. Red drops dripped to the counter top and he bent over licking them. The blood smeared, more now streaked the counter as he continued to drip.
Sarah must have felt the change in attention as she made a burst to get away. She took three steps before the man’s thin arms wrapped around her and pulled her back. He turned her so that she was facing Lizzie and now Lizzie could see her blood covered, tear streaked face. Strands of hair were stuck to it, and there were patches from her forehead where he had pulled some away.
To prove it, he reached up and grabbed another handful of hair, pulling it back hard until it ripped away from the scalp. He licked it as it came free before stuffing it in his mouth.
“Just let her go.” Lizzie said.
Sarah cried harder, “Please, just please,” she sobbed.
The naked man didn’t speak. He never spoke. He just kept his gaze on Lizzie, flashing her that large, blood smeared, toothy grin. He stood there, watching her. Sarah struggled to get away but she couldn’t break from his grip. He was stronger than he looked.
“I don’t know what to do.” Lizzie said, shaming her head as she looked to Sarah, pleading with her eyes, asking for forgiveness for not saving her.
“Please, let her go.”
Sarah shook in his arm, trying to kick her foot back into the man’s exposed testes. He held her too tight, and pulled her in closer to him, forcing her off balance. Her knee hit the corner of the counter and before she could register the pain, the naked man pulled Sarah back by her hair. She let out an earth shattering scream as more hair was pulled free and she was stumbling as she lost her balance.
Lizzie watched as her friend started to fall, held by one arm around her chest and another on her long hair. The man grabbed more hair, sensing that she was getting away and both her arms where grabbing at his to push it away.
“Please let her go,” her plea nearly drenched in her tears as she shook, trembling with the fear that something worse was about to happen. The man kept smiling at her, cackling as he would pull harder on Sarah’s hair, then relax his grip as she would pull away. She wouldn’t make it very far as his grip would tighten and Sarah would again get yanked back to him.
Those eyes. That laugh. Lizzie knew she would hear that sickly cackle for the rest of her life as the nightmares would never let her forget it. That was if either one of them survived this. This mad man had Lizzie’s best friend. There was no guarantee either one of them would survive.
The man didn’t take his eyes off her, and Lizzie found herself pulled into them. Time slowed. His laugh grew louder and rang through her head like a bell, a church bell chime that with every dong in time with her heartbeat. One naked man became two as her vision doubled. Yet somehow she still watched him, the true him, and those dark, hollow recesses of eyes.
She couldn’t pull away. Time passed but it was lost on them. He had her as well, but it wasn’t in some death grip. He was in her soul, and she could feel that darkness spreading. A chill ran through her as her insides grew cold. It was in her bones, her blood, and it was spreading getting closer to her heart. It would freeze her completely if she let it.
A scream rang out. She wasn’t sure if it was from her or Sarah, but her vision pulled back and she saw both of them again. The naked man was nodding at her, that smile never disappearing, but he turned from her and looked at the prey in his arms. He licked the blood from his lips and momentarily closed his eyes in relish, his head lifting for a moment as he showed to be in pure bliss.
Then in a flash his eyes were open and alert and he was studying Sarah.
Lizzie knew she had to do something. What!? What could she do? She could rush him, she had to rush him. That naked disgusting form had his friend. If she hit him and they toppled over, then her and her friend could beat him up, or just run away. They could get out of her.
On some level, that rational brain of hers was trying to convince her that she needed to do it. She needed to attack this man or she was never going to get friend back. If she didn’t her friend would be gone, probably dead or worse.
What was worse?
She knew what worse was. There was living after life was taken from you. That half life of existing after some thing like this defiled you. She knew that. She was studying psychology after all. She knew what this did to the living corpse left behind.
Why hadn’t Susan and Lizzie taken those rape prevention courses at the ‘Y’? They had both talked about it, knowing that it was always a possibility, especially being young girls on a college campus. They lived where every woman needed to be on constant guard of rape as every year multiple attacks would happen and not go reported. It was believed that colleges were a breeding ground for sexual predators and they were prime bait.
Why hadn’t they gone?
Because, there was always another study group, or another drink with a friend to go to. There was always something that they were doing, and who had time to start dedicating to some class at the ‘Y’. They could always do it some other time. It wasn’t like it was ever going to happen to them.
But now here it was. It was going to happen to them, and it was going to happen in Lizzie’s own house. The house she had just inherited. This place she didn’t even want, and after today, wasn’t sure she would ever be able to step into ever again.
You have to live through today first before you can decide if you were ever going to come back here. Live through today first, to make it to tomorrow.
The man continued to study Sarah. He had pulled her close and was smelling the hair in his hand, then biting down on it. He noticed that Lizzie was still studying him and spit it out to nuzzle up to Sarah’s neck and lick the tears that were spilling down.
Sarah was whimpering in his grip. Her eyes closed. She would occasionally twitch, trying to pull away from him, but it was obvious the fight was out of her.
The laugh got louder. Lizzie wasn’t convinced it even came from the man as it felt like it was echoing through her head. It was misplaced as he was over there and she heard how clearly that voice cackled in her thoughts.
“Please.” She whimpered as much to hear her voice against the sound of his as to plead for her friends life.
The laughing intensified and she felt her forehead throbbing with its rhythm. Stars formed at the edge of her vision, and the pain pushed in as she tried to pull her focus on the naked man and look at her friend.
Sarah was covered in sweat and blood. It had melded together and was running from her scalp where there were now visible patches due to hair being pulled free. Somehow her shirt had been torn, and the naked man had exposed one of her breasts. He was grabbing at it violently and there were already forming bruises. There were cuts from his nails from where he had squeezed too hard and more blood now smeared her exposed flesh.
They weren’t going to get out of this alive.
Lizzie felt her legs give out. She lowered herself to the floor and kneeled there, raptured by sobs at what was happening to Sarah. She couldn’t watch anymore. She buried her face in her hands.
Sarah screamed. Lizzie heard her fall. She landed hard and Lizzie had heard the ‘plop’ as flesh hit the tile floor without trying to catch herself. The bastard had probably thrown her down. Lizzie couldn’t look to see. She knew Sarah would be on the other side of the kitchen island and there wouldn’t be any way for her to see if she was okay.
What did it matter? They were both dead. Why did it any of it matter anymore?
If she could turn into a puddle of tears and sink right there into the floor she would. Enough tears came, she thought she would soon be in a puddle. They just kept flowing, and she felt her shirt getting damp.
She didn’t get a chance to lie down there and die when she noticed that a shadow was looming over her. It must be her turn. He was there for her.
She looked up and he was there. His member was dangling between his legs, its thick shaft was purple and she could see where there were cuts along it. Flesh had been torn away in some places, and the meat underneath was exposed. She was surprised that it was brown and ash gray underneath. It was a foot away from her face, and as disgusting as the torn piece of meat was, she couldn’t get past the intense smell of decay that emanated from it.
She didn’t want to look at it, but found it harder to turn away and study the rest of the man. She had been so terrified by his blood soaked mouth before, but now she was looking at him differently, having to look up at him, and with how close he now stood, she saw more of his deathly state.
He had scrapes all over his body, some of them still bled. The dark splotches that were all over his body she had mistaken for dirt were under his skin. It was like some kind of infections or bruises, and they made what was his ash white skin take on these unearthly patches. Maybe it was dirt, but somehow under his skin? It looked like scales with thin white lines that crisscrossed his skin. That didn’t make sense either, but it was something and he looked like he would be dirty even after an hour in water.
When people say ‘what kind of rock have you been living under,’ they were referring to him. He looked like he had crawled out from under that rock but while he had been under there, had died and they forgot to tell him he was dead. Whoever they was because he had no friends.
He cackled and reached for her, grabbing her by the back of her head and was pulling her closer to him. She knew what he would want her to do and fought against him, pulling her head back. Again she was surprised by his strength, this time feeling it for herself as she wasn’t apple to stop herself from being pulled in. The stench grew worse. Rotten meat. The wreak of it twisted her stomach and she could feel the vomit touching the back of her throat.
This really couldn’t be happening. How was it? Why did this have to happen to them?
The tip of his penis twitched. Oh God, don’t let him get hard. Then she watched as a small white object protruded from the head. It emerged and wiggled back and forth almost like a finger beckoning her closer. She was already close enough that she could see lines, circular lines around the body, like it had segments to it. The part that had first emerged was larger and she thought she could see a large opening. Is that a mouth. Oh my Lord is that…
Is that a maggot?
She’d never been this close to one, but was sure it was. It withered its way free, and fell onto her chin.
She felt the scream push through her until it exploded from her lungs into a rush. It slammed into the man, and the pure intensity made him step back, releasing her as he stumbled.
Inside her something was different. She snapped, and she felt that if none of this mattered, then it didn’t matter what she did to him. He was going to kill them, and he was going to do it painfully. It didn’t matter if she fought back, it was still a nightmare, so why not hurt this bastard as much as possible before he hurt her.
Lizzie wasn’t thinking about what she was doing, she just did it. She attacked. She pushed herself up and in one motion pushed out with her hands. It connected in his chest and she felt his sudden shift as he lost his breath and then his balance. He fell back and she persisted. He hit the counter, keeping him upright but he was dazed, stunned by her blow. She followed we’d up with a knee to his groin and he made an audible gasp as he bent over.
She didn’t stop. She brought her hands together and brought them down on his back. He fell to his knees and the collapsed to the floor. Lizzie stood there, watching him. She was panting, not realizing how much exhaustion went into beating someone up, but she had done it. She had stopped him.
She wasn’t sure how long she stood there feeling proud of herself. It was longer than she should have, she knew that much.
Sarah! She needed to check on her!
Lizzie hurried around the counter hope my to find her friend okay. She saw the blood before she came upon the body. The blood had become a river flowing in the cracks toward the open back door. Then she found that lake of red around her friends head.
Lizzie was sure she would never forget how her hair was all wet and matted in the pool. She couldn’t help but think how upset Sarah would be when she saw herself in the mirror because it was matted and Sarah couldn’t go a second with having her hair not perfect. There were lumps of it that were drenched and had turned her sunlit rays of blond into a dark red mush.
She needed to do Sarah’s hair before she woke up. That’s what she needed to do.
Lizzie lowered herself down, keeping her legs together and staying poised like a lady when she looked at Sarah’s eyes. They were open, looking out into the distance.
They didn’t blink. Not even when a fly landed on them.
Then she noticed that some of the blood was coming out from the side of Sarah’s eye. Half her skull was caved in there making her face not even. That shouldn’t be like that. And her mouth… her jaw was ripped away and there were teeth missing…her smile, she was going to be pissed. Sarah was relentless about using teeth whitener so she had that super sweet, innocent as cherry pie smile that often lured in guys.
She had to get Sarah out of there. She wasn’t going to be happy, but maybe the doctors could do something.
Lizzie reached forward and pushed on Sarah’s shoulder.
“Hey, we gotta get out of here. I need you to get up.”
Sarah didn’t move. Lizzie thought about trying to nudge her friend again, but she didn’t have time for this. Sarah needed help, but Lizzie didn’t think she could carry her. Would she be able to drag her?
So much blood. It was going to get all over her shirt and jeans, but she had to do it.
She reached forward, trying to grab Sarah’s shirt top, adjusting her balance while also trying not to step into the pool of blood. It was tricky, and she didn’t realize until she tasted her own blood that she was biting her lip.
Sarah’s shirt was wet, but Lizzie got a good grip on it and pulled. Sarah slid on the floor, streaking through the blood and allowing more of it to soak into Sarah’s blouse. As she moved across the tile, there was a scraping sound and Lizzie tensed at how loud it sounded in the stillness that had descended on the house since she had knocked the naked man down.
She stopped. She had to as she was losing her balance pulling her friend and feared she would fall on her but and then her own jeans would be covered in red.
Damn why hadn’t Dennis come out there with them? Sure, Sarah and Lizzie were friends with Jessica and Dennis was just the boyfriend, but he was useful. When Sarah had needed someone to carry her new mattress up four flights of stairs because the elevator was out in her apartment complex, Dennis had done it. He had complained for the last two flights of stairs, and gotten irritated with their giggles and jibes, but he had done it.
Who else would she get to move a dead body when she needed it?
No! Sarah wasn’t dead. She couldn’t think that way. She just needed to get her out of there and go for help. They needed to find the police and get them out there before the man woke back up. He could regain consciousness at any time, any noise could do it.
She listened to her breathing. It sounded loud and raspy to her, and deafening. She tried to control it and breathe easier, but her heart was racing. Her body was betraying her. She wanted to keep quiet, still as the house around her, but every part of her seemed to cry out in betrayal. Her ankle popped as she reached forward to grab Sarah again and pull and she winced.
The man would be waking soon. She pulled on Sarah again and that scraping on tile screamed through the kitchen. Lizzie looked at the man, worried he would be waking up.
He was staring at her. That smile had returned and he was lying there on the ground staring at her. There wasn’t even any sign that he had been passed out. Had he been watching her this whole time?
“Come on Sarah!” Lizzie reached forward and pawed for clothing. “I need you to help me here. Get Up!”
Her hands couldn’t make purchase throwing her balance off. She didn’t fall back though and had been able to push off, standing as she stumbled back until she hit the wall to regain her balance.
The man laughed at her, his cackle echoing off the linoleum. She didn’t turn to look, to see that blood red smile, but it didn’t help as her eyes stayed locked on Sarah.
The cold dead eyes that confined to stare at Lizzie. Lizzie had never seen a dead persons eyes before. She hadn’t thought there would be a change, that the eyes would look the same if someone was alive or dead, but that wasn’t true. No matter how still someone is, there was always some movement to the eye, a twitch or a throb as blood circulated through the corneas.
Only the dead remained still. Sarah wasn’t moving.
She heard something sliding on the floor. She didn’t turn to look. She didn’t have to go know the man was pulling himself towards her. The image of his blood filled mouth, the maggot that slithered from the tip of his penis, all of it was already burned into her memory. Another look in his direction would only be another nightmare she would need to avoid.
Instead she turned from the man, turned from her friend and ran out the kitchen door.
Jason R. Davis