And now the thrilling conclusion! Read part one here. Enjoy! 🙂
He stood in the tub staring at his bloated purple foot until a wave of revulsion overtook him and he stabbed down at it with the knife. It popped like a balloon and blood splashed out. He felt the knife scraping against his bones with unnerving clarity.
In a flash of rage and denial he began slashing at his hand. Blood sprayed, draining out of his arm. Bits of flesh plopped into the tub below as he hacked away, exposing the bones of his fingers.
He flexed his hand and little founts of blood squirted out. He knew for certain that he must have severed some tendons, but his hand moved even better than before. He felt like he was now wearing fingerless gloves instead of thick winter ones.
He switched the knife into the bloody hand. His exposed fingers felt good wrapped around the hilt, his grip was solid. He began to slice at the fingers on his right hand now, slowly, carefully, like a butcher carving meat.
In a flash of lucidity he realized what he was doing, and the knife fell into the tub with a clatter. He stepped backwards out of the room, leaving bloody footprints on the tile floor, his eyes frozen on his skeleton hands.
He found himself at the laptop again. His bony fingers clicked on the keys, leaving red drops in their indentations.
‘I may be going insane. I’m seeing things that cant be real. i think i might be dead.’
‘Dead? What do you mean dead? Tim, tell me what is happening’ The message appeared quickly this time. Tim wondered if she hurt her hand typing so fast.
‘its alright,, maybe i’m having a panic attack, dont worry about me.’’ He stared at his mangled hands, trying to get a hold of himself. After a moment, he noticed that he felt perfectly stable. Had he been acting panicked because he thought he should be?
‘Tim, If anything weird is happening, you can tell me, I will believe you, no matter what it is, really, trust me on this.’
Sandra did seem to know a lot about death and occult type things. It was her favorite subject recently. Tim tried to imagine how he would react if she told him she just carved the flesh off of her own hands.
‘I’m fine, really. i’ll see a doctor tomorrow if im not feeling better’
A doctor. What could a doctor say or do at this point other than confirm that he was insane? Was he insane? It would be crazy to think otherwise. Tim sat and waited for it to pass, or change. Flies landed on his arms and legs and face and crawled around. Mr. Poof resumed chewing on his foot. He turned on the TV. It seemed more dimly lit than it should be. He typed inconsequential things at Sandra and tried not to think.
Some time later a knock at the door reminded him that he didn’t order pizzas today. He didn’t feel hungry. He wondered if lunacy had such side effects. He rose from the couch; flies scattered briefly, then settled back down on him. He pulled open the door.
“Hello, we are from the Church of Jesus – oh my GOD!” Two men in white shirts and black slacks stood outside his door. People! He held his hands up to them.
“Can you see me? Is it real?” His vision dimmed rapidly, blurring, like some warped lens covered his eyes. He stepped toward them.
“James, call the police! Oh God, sir, what happened to you?”
“You can see me? I can’t, I…” His eyes felt sticky and his face itched terribly; he raked his fingers across it, searching for what blocked his vision. He scrapped and pulled at something soft, it peeled away easily.
“Oh Jesus help us!”
Tim heard the sound of vomiting, then pounding footfalls receding. Still he could barely see. Finally he found purchase on some blob in front of his eye, and dug at it until it popped out in his hand. Instantly he could see clearly again. Between his thumb and forefinger he held an eyeball. Scraps of skin hung from his sharp fingertips. He dropped the eye onto the pavement and took a step backwards, then turned and hurried into the house.
In the bathroom he looked at his face in the mirror. A black hole gaped at him where his right eye used to be. Strips of skin fluttered like ribbons dangling from his forehead, exposing white bone beneath. It looked clean and bright next to the grey flesh.
There were flies in his mouth.
He stepped into the tub and picked up the knife.
‘I’m just very worried that you wont like me once you meet me in person’ Tim hit the enter key then picked up the blow torch again. He ran the flame over his skeletal arm; the little bits of tendon and muscle that had refused to let go began to blacken and curl. He could feel the heat clearly, but it did not hurt.
‘Believe me, i’m more scared about what you will think of me. I wish you would just take a chance.’she replied. Tim was done with his left arm and had begun scrapping at the charred bits with his knife by the time she was done typing. The idea of her hunting for each key made him feel like he was smiling. Phantom face syndrome, perhaps.
‘You already know what I think of you.’ He was sure he told her some drunken night, he wouldn’t be surprised though, if she decided to pretend it never happened.
‘well, my appearance has changed some…’
How much could she have changed? Tim peeled a bit of something off of his hip bone.
‘Well, it’s what’s on the inside that counts anyway.’ He typed.
‘I agree :)’
But how much does it count for, Tim wondered.
Mr. Poof sat in Tim’s ribcage and licked at his spine. Tim reached to pet him but then stopped, figuring his hard fingers would scare the little fur-ball. The poor guy would probably be better off if he did run away and never return. Cats were solitary creatures anyway.
‘alright lets do it.’ He typed.
‘Yeah. remember i warned you though, when you don’t want to talk to me anymore.’
‘I am aware of the risks. You gotta take risks if you want anything good in life.’
Tim scratched at Mr. Poofs ear.
Tim pulled the hoodie lower over his head and looked in the mirror again. Most of his head was hidden, and long sleeves and gloves covered his arms and hands. A large shirt was pulled down to cover his waist, where his pants were held up by a belt around his spine. But there was no hiding how thin he was. Hopefully it was enough to convince her for a short time, enough for him to hear her voice again before she fled in terror.
Tim looked again at his laptop, reading over their conversation.
‘Ok 🙂 I’ll be seeing you in about 8 hours then!’
That had been eight and a half hours ago.
Tim sat on the couch. Then he noticed that there was a clear view of him from the window, so he went and stood in the bathroom. Then he thought me might not hear a knock on the door from there, so he stood in the kitchen. Mr. Poof sat on his shoulder and licked the back of his skull.
The doorbell rang and Tim felt something like a rush of adrenaline. He thought of his brain rotting in the bathtub, scooped out through his eye socket, and wondered again how he felt anything. He hurried to the door and peered through the peep hole.
There she was, just as beautiful as in her pictures. She wore a blue summer dress that hugged at her gentle curves. She looked around nervously, touching her long black hair.
“Sandra,” he said at the door. She looked up and smiled.
“Timmy! Umm, well, I’m here.” Her voice was airy and light, not like she sounded on the phone.
“I know. I just…” Tim wondered how his voice sounded.
“Well, I can’t stay like this for long… “ Her voice got quieter. “Can’t I see you?”
Tim was silent, his fingers clacked on the knob. He wished he could type something to her.
“Tim, I’m going to do something, because I don’t have much time. Don’t freak out.”
“What do you mean you don’t have-” Tim saw something moving on the door and stepped back quickly, sending Mr. Poof running. A hand poked through the solid wood of the door. It was followed by an arm, and a shoulder, and a smiling face.
“What,” said Tim.
“I know, I just, well… It happened a while ago, and I just wanted to meet you once, before.. well, before whatever happens next, I guess.”
“Well, uh, I died.”
“Oh,” Tim said. “Me too.” He pulled the hood back from his skull.
“Tim? How…” Sandra’s eyes widened, and she reached out to him. As her hand got near, she shimmered, then faded into a foggy human shape.
“I’m sorry,” she said. Her voice was a thin whisper, barely audible. “I’m just too tired.”
“Not your fault. I just kinda started rotting. And now I’m bones.”
“You can hear me!” The blurry shape spun around him.
“And see me?” She hovered in front of him.
“That’s so great!” She spun some more. “Tim? We can still be friends right?”
Tim felt excitement, then sadness, then excitement again. “Yes,” he said.
“Ok!” she said. Tim thought he could hear her smiling. “Well, what shall we do?”
“I don’t know,” Tim shrugged, he hadn’t thought about doing anything but sitting around waiting to die. “Want to watch a movie?”
Tim sat on the couch and Mr. Poof climbed on his ribs. Sandra hovered over the remote and activated the buttons somehow.
Flies buzzed around the bags of garbage and bits of cat shit, and maggots were born in the tub of rotting flesh in the bathroom.