A Life Unlived: part 1

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote this… I believe I was trying to make it funny, but it came out sort of just, weird. Well. I hope you enjoy it anyway 🙂

Tim was born in 1971 and had died several minutes ago during what he deemed to be an ‘above average’ bout of heart-burn. He powered through it with a grimace, his squinted eyes still focused on the TV.

After it passed, he felt a strange, cool relief.

Presently he leaned back in his large squishy leather couch with his feet propped up on a cluttered coffee table and his hands resting on his protruding belly. A scraggly cat sat on his shoulder and a laptop sat in the seat next to him. He leaned over to type at it every few moments, commenting to the only friend he cared to have about what was happening on the television.

His laptop pinged cheerily at him. A new message from Sandra. Tim spent much time trying not to think of the way he felt about her.

‘So when am I gunna come visit? ;)’

‘How bout tonight?’ he replied. Usually a message from Sandra hit him with a surge of adrenaline, at the moment he only felt an uncomfortable gas bubble. Several minutes later, her reply finally appeared.

‘Haha 😛 Well, I’d teleport over there if I could ;)’

He smiled and typed back ‘I know’ 

Sandra claimed that she’d injured her hand, and that was why she had been taking so long to reply for the past few weeks, but Tim thought it was likely she just had more important things distracting her. Probably the same things that caused her to ‘lose’ her phone around the same time.

Tim tried to remember the sound of her voice, and wondered if he succeeded.

His laptop pinged in unison with his stomach.

‘I really do want to come visit, you know that right?’

He read the message quickly, then heaved himself off the couch, sending Mr. Poof the cat scrabbling through the kitchen. He felt something move inside him. The laptop pinged again as he hurried toward the toilet.

As soon as he sat down he knew something was wrong. His body was emptying itself without any effort or direction from him. And there was lots of it. A glance down at his pants and a suspicion was confirmed. He cringed and kicked them off and away from him.

Finally he was empty and flushed the toilet. Standing up, a wave of weirdness came over him. His skin was cold, his limbs were stiff. He decided to take a shower.

The water was not soothing. The heat of the spray and the pattering of the drops on his skin were like an echo. Though he had never worn one, Tim decided that he felt like he was wearing a wetsuit; there was an unnerving restrictiveness when he moved his arms and legs. With much reluctance, Tim concluded that there was something wrong with his skin.

He wrapped a towel around himself and hobbled out to his laptop with a mind to search the Internet for what might be wrong with him. He saw what Sandra had been typing.

‘Don’t you?’

‘Timtim, are you there?’

Lately she couldn’t go a day without bringing it up. Tim spent much time mulling over scenarios that would explain both her refusal to talk to him and her demands to see him.

He resumed his position on the couch and surveyed the room, imagining what she would say if she could see it. Bags of trash needed to be taken out, stacks of unopened mail and empty cans sat on every available surface, and bits of cardboard and paper littered the floor, no doubt the remains of an epic battle with Mr. Poof.

‘Sorry I’m not feeling very well. ‘

‘Aww, what’s wrong?’ came the eventual reply.

Tim got sick often, but this didn’t feel like a cold. Perhaps something in this mess was giving him an allergic reaction. He made a mental note to take out some of the trash later.

‘Just feeling weird. Let’s watch a movie.’

‘OK! :D’

The weirdness did not pass during the movie. Tim decided to wait until the morning to see if he felt better.

~

Tim awoke to see Mr. Poof chewing happily on his thumb. He grunted and pushed the scrawny grey cat off the bed. It landed on the floor with a thump and a yowl.

He pulled himself out of the covers and noticed that he had made a mess on the sheets. He tried to curse but his tongue did not cooperate; it felt swollen and clumsy. He tore the sheets off and flung them into a corner, then hopped in the shower.

Something was definitely wrong. There were great patches of a deep purple color all along the back of his legs and arms. His stomach felt very swollen, his feet felt squishy and he still had that strange sense of being wrapped in something.

He stepped out of the shower and reached for the towel. The sight of his thumb stopped him short. Most of the tip was ragged torn flesh and exposed bone. Barely a drop of blood leaked from the wound, and he felt no pain.

Not many things made Tim panic, but it was becoming exponentially more difficult to escape the conclusion that there was something horribly and irreversibly wrong with him.

He turned to face the bathroom mirror, not something he did often, and began to let out a low muffled scream.

His face was a pale grey. His eyes were glassy and he didn’t seem to be able to blink. His mouth was hanging open and his tongue was swollen.

He was still screaming, he noticed; a low monotone howl slowly leaking out of his mouth. He felt no need to take a breath, in fact, he did not think his lungs or throat were doing anything at all. A cold, swollen hand against his cold chest confirmed that his heart was silent, and probably cold.

He turned and walked numbly into his living room, dripping water behind him. He stopped next to his couch and stood there, continuing to let out his unending breathless wail. He stood there a long time.

His laptop pinged and brought him back to reality. Something was happening to his foot. He looked down to see Mr. Poof chewing at his toe. He kicked the cat off and moved to the computer. Another message from Sandra.

‘I really do want to come see you, soon’

‘I know you do’ Tim lied. He had always figured that actually meeting each other would be something they would talk about but never do. It was safer that way.

‘There is something i want to tell you that i’d rather say in person’

Tim felt like his head was swelling up. He knocked away hopes that tried to overtake his mind. He flexed his hands and looked at the strange way the flesh bent.

‘I don’t know if this is the best time’ he said. There was a tugging on his foot and he looked down to see Mr. Poof licking from a stream of blood pouring out onto the carpet. A flap of torn flesh hung, pushed to the side by the cat’s paw, and blood leaked out steadily.

He somehow said ‘oh no’, though he didn’t detect his mouth or tongue moving, and hurried into the bathroom to stand in the tub. He watched the blood flow down the drain. This must be a dream, he thought, and swatted at a fly buzzing in his face.

The blood still dribbled out minutes later, a little red river running over the white acrylic. Instead of the weakness and dizziness he thought he’d feel at this much blood loss, he felt better, thinner. He bent down and poked at the wound. He worked his finger inside and pulled at it. The flesh tore and the blood came out faster; he felt a surge of relief. He dug and pulled more, until his finger hit bone and he pulled away in shock. He could feel with his bone. The bone in his foot could feel his hand touching it more clearly than his hand could feel the bone.

The blood finally stopped and Tim’s right leg now felt much lighter than his left. He exited the tub and headed for the kitchen, stopping on the way to look at his laptop.

‘Why, what’s wrong?’

‘You want to see me don’t you?’

Tim paused for a moment. He did want to see her. He thought of her face, and wondered if he remembered it right. She had deleted her Facebook account a month or so ago, and he had never thought to save any of the pictures from it. Now he felt weird asking for them. He wondered if she had cut or dyed her hair, or gained or lost weight. A lot could change in a month. He looked down at his mangled foot and disgust gripped him.

‘I keep telling you i do’ He typed quickly, shaking a fly off his hand. ‘I’m just, kind of a mess right now’ 

He hobbled his way into the kitchen and grabbed a large knife out of the sink, then took it back to the tub.

Read the conclusion here.

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