Tag Archives: corpse

Washed Up

It happened exactly four years ago and I still have panic attacks every time that I get too close to a beach.

There were three of us: Luke, Kiel and me. Actually it should have just been Luke and me, but his girlfriend and her best friend ditched us on the last minute and so we invited Luke’s brother, Kiel, instead. Kiel was massive in all dimensions, but as shy and good-hearted as a little girl.

The sky had only just cleared up, so the sand was still moist and the beach empty except for a few swimmers at the far end. Our stuff fell in the sand, we grabbed a tennis ball and a few moments later we were challenging each other to swim deeper and deeper out into the waves to retrieve the ball. Continue reading

Bugs

The first thing that people used to ask about were the bugs.

“I’m really sorry for that. I was born without a sense of smell.”

“Oh,” they always said. “But don’t you notice the bugs?”

The bugs. Everywhere. Of course I saw them, the way they followed me. Flies, mostly, but many others too.

It’s not that I didn’t want to shower. My mother too made me shower every day, she just never explained why. Nobody told me why. They all assumed I knew and rather than tell me that I smelled bad and how to fix it, they concluded that I was handicapped and thus just stupid or dirty or crazy.

In 22 years nobody told me that. For 22 years everybody assumed I was scary and creepy and stayed away from me. Continue reading

Tickling Skin

It started with the tickling. I was always careful to wrap my arms and legs in the blanket. It’s something that I’ve been doing more or less unconsciously since I was a child. I can’t sleep if my body is not wrapped like an egyptian mummy, with only the face free for breathing.

I noticed the tickling a while ago. There was nothing I could see or hear, there was no reason to assume it was anything more than a problem in my brain. My feet and lower legs were wrapped in the blanket and still they tickled, like a soft air blowing against the skin.

I mean, of course I roll around at night. I never wake up as perfectly wrapped as I fall asleep. But for some reason my feet always used to stay under the blanket. My arms or even back was sometimes exposed, but my feet always needed the warmth and comfort and maybe safety of the blanket.

And I didn’t use to wake up in the middle of the night, at least not for that; not for a twitching in my toes. It felt as if needles had poked me while I was asleep. Continue reading

I Just Want to Live Alone

I want to say this right away: I’m in my office now. I think I’m safe.

I shouldn’t have waited. That was my mistake; that’s the one thing that really is my fault. I shouldn’t have waited; I should have run while I still could; while things were still normal and sane.

I used to like my roommate. He was the artsy type, cheerful, always up for a beer. I don’t know what changed along the way, or when exactly he changed.

I first noticed it when his girlfriend moved in. The first days he was cheerful, then, after their first big fight, Martin began to act servile, submissive even.

She called herself Amaya but I was never sure whether that was her real name. On the letters that arrived for her there were at least three, maybe four different variations of the spelling and some altogether different names. She was somewhere from Asia, that was really everything I knew, and that she liked chocolate.

Either way, around the time Amaya moved in everything changed. It could also have been the job and visa trouble Martin had, or maybe just the winter weather; he became a different person.

Since then I lived in solitude. I paid my share of the apartment, but being in the living room or kitchen or even just to stay for long in the bathroom made me feel uncomfortable, as if I wasn’t quite welcome. They weren’t even in the living room that much – they too just stayed in their room – it was more that the apartment itself, the rooms with the wooden floors, bare white walls and mélange of furniture began to feel threatening.

Around that time my social life died. I can’t really blame my roommates for that, but the constant sense of discomfort, the shallow sleep and the feeling that somehow I was sinking into a black hole; the social part of my self was slowly slipping away. Work and the internet filled the place where once friends had been.

Apart from gray and stiff colleagues the only people that stayed in my life were Martin and Amaya. I thought I could sit it out; wait for the last six months of our contract to finish and then quickly find a new place and become a new and healthy person again. I shouldn’t have waited.

It seemed cute at first – they fought at night and in the morning Martin brought Amaya breakfast to say sorry. That day I left with a smile when I went to work.

When I came home Amaya was again – or still – in their room. Martin cooked and brought her food. At night I heard them shouting.

A week went by before I saw Amaya again. She looked sick and exhausted. Our conversation consisted just of “You okay?” and “Yeah.”

The next days she seemed happier, although the color didn’t really return to her face. I saw both of them occasionally in the living room where they were watching movies on their laptops. That seemed to be their only entertainment, the only thing I saw them doing at all. There was no artsy soul left in Martin; for Amaya I wasn’t even sure if there had ever been one.

My main connection with them was their noise; the way they were seemingly unable to keep any movie or piece of music at a sane volume; not to speak of their constant shouting. Whenever I asked them to be more considerate Martin said “sorry,” turned it down and – after I turned around but before I had even left the room – turned it up again.

They fought a lot. And after every long and loud nightly fight Martin brought Amaya breakfast and dinner for a few days. I hated the sheepish expression he had while carrying the food to their bedroom.

I lost track of my roommates. I forgot when I last saw them; I forgot even when I heard them last or what they were fighting about – although, for the hearing part, the guess “last night” and “something about love” would probably have been the right guesses for most days.

At some point our trash rotation system broke down. I stopped cooking and soon stopped feeling responsible for trash that I was sure wasn’t mine – and they just didn’t care. The kitchen began to smell of old fish, then of rotting fish, then of rotting fish and meat; the smell broke through the closed door, made the living room unbearable and finally invaded our bedrooms. The bathroom with its strong vent and moist air was the only refuge.

They had many fights, Martin loudly and Amaya with a weak voice that at some point always broke into crying. Often he cried too. I didn’t dare to interrupt their fights; twice I brought the trash bags with their nearly liquid contents out myself; then I took the passive-aggressive way of “please bring the trash out” text messages instead.

At some point the fights got shorter, then stopped. When Martin proudly told me that they were engaged I offered a celebration beer – but he refused and went out alone. I sent my congratulations to Amaya by text. She replied late at night with a simple “thx.”

From then on I didn’t see Amaya at all. It might seem strange in retrospect, but at the time I didn’t notice it. I barely ever saw her anyway and our encounters were usually so brief and so meaningless that my mind didn’t bother to remember them.

They only watched movies from then on. Occasionally I thought I heard them speaking between the movie dialogue – but I’m not really sure of that. I gave up and stopped complaining about the noise; I was just happy that the fights had stopped. I slept badly with the movie soundtracks blasting through the wall, but at least, without the fights, I slept.

I really can’t tell whether it’s been two or three months since I last talked to either of them. It’s not that I didn’t try – I definitely did on the few occasions that I saw Martin coming out of the kitchen with two large plates of food in his hands, but he just ignored me, squeezed past me and disappeared in their room.

He began to do weird stuff, as if he was trying to make me get angry or even more uncomfortable. He move furniture to strange places, turned the washing machine or microwave off while I was using it; used my kitchen utensils and even my toothbrush and left thick crusts of smelly brown or red stuff on the brush. No matter how many times I asked him to stop – first politely, then angry, then loudly – he never even responded. Instead he just continued whatever he was doing – usually to cook pieces of fish or large slobs of meat; to burn them a dark black in what used to be my nonstick pan.

The smell began to grow worse. I stopped eating even bread at home; I stopped actually being at home for anything but sleeping. When I signed up for a gym I told my colleagues I wanted to get fit for the summer; the truth is that I just wanted a clean shower.

Every day the same routine: Sleep; buy a croissant on the way to work; shower in the gym; work; eat lunch – sometimes alone, sometimes with colleagues; work; work overtime; eat a sandwich for dinner; sit in the office to video chat with family or waste time online; finally go home and try not to gag while falling asleep.

I was happy when the notice period came. I sent Martin an email and he replied that he would send the email off – his first words to me in months. Three days later I asked how it went; he replied that out message was too late and that we had to pay another month but then “it will end.”

That night I heard Martin leave the house. There were no tears rolling down my cheeks, but inside I cried at the prospect of being in that apartment for another three months. I had a drink to help me fall asleep, then a second and a third and I’m not sure how many after that. I never felt so lonely in my life. Lonely and drunk enough to fantasize about the pretty girl Amaya I met for the first time months ago. Lonely enough to think it a good idea to say “hello” to her.

After all, it’s not like we had any fights or anything. Amaya was quiet, but somewhat nice, most of the time. We just had lost track of each other, right?

The smell should have been a warning. People who live in such smell can’t be good people. My drunk mind told itself that it was okay, that it was probably just Martin’s messiness, dirty plates and they forgot too often to bring the trash out. I laughed at myself when I realized that I too was living in that smell; that I too couldn’t be a good person.

The loud movie dialogue told me Amaya was home. I knocked on the door to their room. No response.

I knocked louder and, when still no response came, finally banged on the door. There was a sound; I took it to mean that I could come in.

The door handle was sticky; the door hard to move.

When I pushed the door open a suffocating smell hit my face; like the burnt and moldy slobs of meat in the kitchen combined with the week-old rotting fish and topped off with old diarrhea.

It was nauseating; sickening; I had to take a step back to keep my dinner in my body. Still I felt the urge to say hello, to at least have some social interaction for the day.

I finally got myself to push the door further open and step inside the room. The thick curtains were drawn; illuminated by just the light of her laptop screen I saw Amaya’s shape on the bed. She was at least three or four times bigger than I remembered her.

“Hey.” I said and stepped inside; my foot hit some sticky mass. I suppressed the urge to run just like the one to vomit. Some fusion of alcohol and loneliness drove me forward; drove me to say “hello” again.

The floor was covered in dirty plates; trash bags; piles of rotting food; and so was the bed on Martin’s side. On Amaya’s side the trash was piled on her body, right on the ripped blanket.

Only at the foot of the bed I realized that the ripped cloth on her stomach wasn’t cloth. Her skin had ballooned and ripped open all through the middle. The rotting food wasn’t on her; it was spilling out of her; through a thick layer of a crusted, brown and red mass.

I left the door open for the police.

While running to the office the image of her bloated body refused to leave my mind. She must have been dead for months. I had seen pictures of bloated corpses, but none like hers.

Then, just when I arrived at the office, my memories clicked into place.

Dead for months. Still he always carried two plates.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

Sinner’s Cave

The moment we entered the cave all light was gone. It didn’t just get weaker, it completely disappeared the second we walked through the opening.

“Let’s go back.” I said.

“What, no way!” Will said. “Don’t chicken out on me.”

“We could get lost in here.” I said.

“Stop whining,” Will said.

He pulled the mobile phone from his pocket and unlocked the screen. A dim light flooded the area in front of us. There were deep footsteps in the dry ground.

I curse that day just like I blame myself for staying friends with Will.

I keep telling myself that I just stayed friends with him because it was the right thing to do; because he was investigated but never charged – and good friends believe each other. But in reality I just stayed with him because he was my only friend.

Brice and Will had been an odd couple anyway. She was shy and two years younger than him, barely legal – and he was the large, overconfident, rude dropout.

I remember the text message Will sent to tell me that their relationship was over.

“We’re over. Lol. Fuck that bitch.”

A week after that she went to the police; half a day later he was arrested.

I heard that Brice cried a lot after the breakup. Maybe that’s why she too lost so many of her friends. But Will lost all of them, even after the police let him go, after the investigations ended.

“No evidence; it’s her word against his.” Was the official statement.

“She just wanted to take revenge.” Said Will.

I believed him.

Either way, they were both alone. Each had their family, Brice had a few of her friends – or at least so I heard – and Will had me.

That’s why we went hiking together; the two of us and no one else. It was his idea. He chose the location. He told me what to pack.

Three days – one day to get to the camp grounds, one day stay and one day to get back. Our backpacks were heavy with booze and sleeping bags and not too much else.

We never needed any of that, because we never made it to the camp ground, because we took a shortcut. And then we found the cave.

Will stepped off the path to empty his bladder; I waited for him. The forest was beautiful with all its shades of green and the soft ground under my feet; the loneliness scared me a bit – the distance from everybody else – but the sound of leaves in the wind and bird songs calmed me.

“Check this out!”

“What?” I called back. “I don’t want to see your dick.”

“Just come!” Will’s voice shouted.

I dropped my backpack next to his and stepped off the path and past the bushes. I saw Will’s red t-shirt in the distance and walked in his direction.

It might have been just the wind, but in that moment I began to feel cold. The summer was warm, even when we walked in the shades of the large trees the back of my t-shirt was drenched in sweat. Still, in that moment, when I walked towards Will and his excitement, my skin was slowly forming goose bumps.

“This looks huge.” He said.

“What?”

“Don’t you see?” He said. “There’s a cave.”

I stepped next to him and felt the cold draft moving over my arms. It came from the hole just a few steps below us.

“And?” I asked.

“We have to go in!” Will said. “Maybe we find drugs or something.”

“There’s no one else around for miles.” I said. “What if we fall in a hole or something?”

“Come on,” Will said. “This is cool.”

It was cool. Freezing cold to be precise.

After we stepped inside not just the light was gone; the warmth was gone too.

With his mobile phone as a light source Will took a few steps forward. I looked around to remember the place where we had come in, but the light was barely visible from the inside.

“Let’s not go too far.” I said. “It’s freezing in here and I don’t see a thing.”

“Oh, come on.” He said. “The mobile is enough to see.”

Will held the bright phone towards me.

“Hey!” I said.

He lowered the phone.

“Besides, it’s not cold at all.” Will said. “Stop being scared.”

His words echoed off the walls.

Stop being scared.

Stop being scared.

Stop being scared.

Will walked further.

“Dude, this is really creepy.” I said.

Still I ran to quickly catch up with him.

I pulled my own mobile from my pocket; the light seemed weaker than his.

Will kept walking forward, I followed him and shone my light to the sides of the path. It definitely was a path below our feet, well-trodden earth with some deep footsteps that looked as if the floor had once been mud. The frequent holes made it difficult to walk.

“There must have been dozens of people here.” I said.

“Uh-huh.”

“I think this really must be some drug place.” I said. “Let’s get out of here.”

Will laughed.

“No way.” He said. “This is like paradise.”

More like the opposite. I thought to myself.

On the sides of the path it looked as if there were thick pillars that seemed to hold up the high ceiling.

“This place is high.” I said and shone the light upwards.

“Yeah,” Will said. “We must be deep.”

“But we didn’t go down much,” I said.

“Whatever,” Will said. “Maybe it’s some sort of hill.”

“It might be unstable.” I said. “Let’s go back.”

“Dude!”

Will turned around.

“Look at all the footsteps; they look centuries old. This shit is not unstable. Fucking stop whining!” Will said.

Stop whining.” Said the echo.

Stop whining.

Stop whining.

“This is creepy.” I said.

The dim light showed me that Will too had goose bumps. Either he was lying about the cold, or –

“A bit.” He said. “That’s what makes it awesome!”

He shouted the awesome.

“There’s no echo.” I said.

“Yeah.” Will said.

He slowly shone the light around us. There was nothing except the bare pillars of dark stone and darkness in between them.

“Okay,” Will finally said. “Let’s go back.”

Go back.” Sounded the echo.

Go back.

No back.

“Dude.” I said.

“Holy fuck.” He said.

We walked quickly, on the same footpath that we had come. This time I was in the front; Will behind me was quickening the pace further, as if he didn’t want to walk behind.

I shone my light on the floor to avoid the holes. The way back seemed longer.

“Are we on the right path?” Will asked.

“There is only one path.” I said.

“Are you sure?” He said. “It feels really warm here.”

“What?” I asked. “It’s freezing here! I feel like I’m walking through ice.”

Ice.

Ice.

Brice.

“Did you hear that too?” I asked.

“Fuck man,” Will said.

He ran past me.

His footsteps echoed from behind me.

From behind me.

“Let’s get out!” I screamed.

We ran, Will in front of me and me right behind. Our footsteps kept echoing through the wall like a legion of men behind me.

We ran, stumbled over the holes. Will fell and I pulled him back up; then I fell and he pulled me forward and again ran in front of me. The echoing footsteps followed us.

We ran for what felt like ten or fifteen minutes.

“Stop.” I shouted between my breaths. “We didn’t go that far!”

“Fuck.” Will said.

He slowed down.

The footsteps faded away.

“We must have missed it.” I said.

“You missed it.” He said. “You were running in the front.”

“Fuck you.” I said.

“It’s your fault.” He said.

“We have to go back.” I said.

I turned around and shone my light on the path.

It was empty.

“We have to search for the exit.” I said.

I shone my light to the side.

I have never screamed that loud in my life.

The corpse was hanging in a hollow pillar. His thin arms were slightly stretched out to the sides, like a moth stuck on a pin in a collector’s set; the man’s feet were hanging straight down and the head was bent forward.

“Oh god.” Said Will.

The skin was not just a whitish gray; it was hanging in folds off the body, as if it was wrapped around the mere skeleton.

We ran past the pillar, careful to stay on our path.

“The exit must be to our right.” I screamed.

Just then Will screamed a second time.

His light was on the left side; on another pillar.

Another body was hanging in the hollowed out center.

“Fuck.” He screamed and we sped up.

My light was on the path again.

Will pulled his light from one pillar to the next.

“They are everywhere.” He screamed.

And they were everywhere.

We ran until we were out of breath; then we walked as fast as we could.

There was no light from the right side; only pillar upon pillar upon pillar.

My lungs were burning; my skin felt as if it would freeze to death. I stopped walking and Will stopped next to me.

Will shone his light on the pillar to our right. The corpse’s face looked Arabic and there was a dagger in his hand. Most of them were men, but there were women too.

The man was naked except for his dagger and a necklace. His head was bald; the body hair was a tone between gray and brown.

I didn’t see any obvious wounds; just the thin, folded skin that on his face seemed to trace the skull.

I shone my light around us.

“There must be hundreds.” I said.

“Who would do such a thing?” Will asked.

Such a thing.

The man’s lips moved.

Such a thing.

His head rose.

Such a sin.

We ran.

The army of footsteps returned; we hadn’t noticed that it was gone just before, just when we ran.

My light was still on the ground so that we wouldn’t fall; Will was shining his light around us.

“It’s their feet.” He screamed. “Their feet are all moving!”

While we ran past the hanging bodies I saw it too; saw the bare, thin feet stamping against the stone of the pillar.

We ran faster; they stamped louder.

We screamed; their heads followed us.

Whenever we stumbled they smiled.

I felt my heart exploding and my lungs and mouth on fire.

“It’s so hot.” Will screamed. “I can’t anymore.”

I was freezing.

“Me neither.” I whispered.

Will was falling behind me.

“Don’t slow down!” I screamed.

Then, just in that moment, I saw the light. Soft, yellow light from a place to our right.

“The exit!” I screamed.

I didn’t hear Will’s footsteps anymore. I looked over my shoulder and saw him hunched on the ground in the light of his mobile phone.

“Come on!” I screamed.

“I can’t.” He said.

Will bent forward and leaned on his hands. He crawled in my direction.

I stopped running.

They didn’t stop stamping their feet.

“Quick.” I screamed. “Let’s get out of this insane cave!”

Insane cave.” They repeated.

Next to Will two of them jumped out of the pillars.

“I can’t!” Will said.

Insane cave.

The first two stepped towards Will. Several more jumped out of their pillars; now closer to me.

I turned towards the light and ran.

The light from outside was bright; I saw the corpses’ lips moving.

Sinner’s cave.” They said.

When I looked back I saw them pulling Will away from his phone; into the darkness.

I stumbled through the hole; crawled up the edge we had climbed down while I still heard and felt them behind me.

Sinner’s cave.” They said.

I stumbled back between the trees and fell on the ground.

The warmth woke me up.

The hole in the ground; the whole cave was gone.

I screamed his name and ran in circles; I begged a group of cyclists to call the police; there was a search mission.

Will was never found.

But sometimes I wake up, freezing but with sweat on my chest. When I hear their chant, that’s when I know where he is:

Sinner’s cave.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.