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The first thing I noticed was the smell. The air was thick with a strong putrid scent that made it almost impossible to breathe.
I've never smelled anything dead and heard that rigor mortis is the worst smell to ever be created. That must've been what I was smelling because this was strong enough to set the hair in my nose on fire. But if that's what I was smelling, were in the hell was I in order to be smelling dead things?
As I started to focus on that, I heard voices close to me. I couldn't make out what they were saying and strained as hard as I could to try and hear better, searching for any kind of familiarity in the voices.
Thinking about who the voices might belong to reminded
me of the park and what had happened.
"Michael!" I thought to myself, remembering what had gone down before I'd passed out. Immediately I opened my eyes.
For a minute I thought I was blind. I could still hear the voices and smell that smell, but everything was pitch black. I blinked my eyes a few times slowly, just to see if I could at least make my eyelids out. It was too dark to even tell.
Well seeing looked like it was an option up in the air at the moment, but feeling certainly wasn't. I was cold, and it didn't feel a thing like the kind of cold I might feel on a cold day outside. This cold was like something that had started from inside of me and had worked its way out to the surface. I could feel it everywhere. In my bones. In my skin. And especially around my heart.
I knew it wasn't normal for me to be feeling like this. As far as I knew the human body wasn't supposed to feel cold like this, or hypothermia would set in. That was if it hadn't already done so. Maybe that was why I couldn't see. Maybe the cold had messed up my eyes. Okay. Okay. Time to get up and get out of here (wherever here was) right now.
It felt like I was laying down, so I tried to life up...and regretted it half a second later. Beneath the icy cold that had taken over my body was pure pain hiding underneath. It hit me so hard that I fell back down and cried out. I didn't hear my voice though. The pain shot up through my esophagus, into my voice box, and intercepted the sound before it even had the chance to leave into my mouth.
What I fell back down against was solid and cold.
Instantly, my mind flashed back, remembering how I'd flown through the
air and collided with my back against the tree in the park. Was that where
I still was? Were those voices I'd heard the voices of Eric and his little
punk friends? Was Michael with me? Was he okay? Questions that could
all more than likely be answered if seeing wasn't a problem for me.
One of the voices I'd heard before spoke again, and it sounded closer than before.
"Did this thing just move?" a man's voice asked that didn't sound like any other I'd heard before. So it wasn't Eric or his friends. But it wasn't Michael either. "I could've sworn I just saw it move."
"Johnson, have we been drinking the embalming fluid again?" came another voice, a female.
"How long are you gonna hold that against me? I just wanted to see what it tasted like."
"And that got you a free trip to the hospital across the way and almost a pink slip from the program. You better be lucky I said something, or they probably would've let you go."
"You know I am, Carol. Every day I am."
There was a couple of seconds of silence before footsteps
broke it. They sounded like they were coming toward my direction.
"Johnson, what're you doing?" Carol inquired.
"I told you I saw it move..."
"All right, Johnson. I would really appreciate it if you didn't kid around like that. This is not the place." Carol snapped suddenly.
There was a moment of silence between them
"Meeeeow! Didn't mean to hit a sour note there." Johnson backed off.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap like that. It's just that...oh, forget it."
"Forget what? Tell me."
"It was a mean joke some stupid people played on me when I was in college."
"A joke like..."
"I know you're not gonna leave it alone until I tell you, so I'll save myself the trouble. I was working the late shift one night in the coroners department. It was Halloween night and I wasn't comfortable with being there by myself already, but hey, I was a big girl and it wasn't a time to be childish. A few of the girls that didn't care too much for me had their boyfriends and a couple of their boyfriend's friends sneak in before my shift. I didn't know that, though, so a little while after I'd started my shift I started hearing noises, like groaning and moaning. Six of the bodies that I thought were dead people started moving, got up, and started walking toward me."
"Yeah. I'd seen that movie Night of the Living Dead before and I started thinking that the people were zombies. So I screamed and tried to get away from them. They didn't stop and show me who they were until I'd picked up a scalpel and cut one of them with it."
"That's not the good part, though. Some of the reporters at the school paper found out about it and decided to make it into a story for the next issue. Everyone started teasing me and calling me "the girl who cried zombie" and " the bitch of death" and any other dumb name they could think up."
Johnson was quiet. I could still hear footsteps,
which I assumed were his, coming even closer to me. They stopped. They
were right at me. I waited for something to happen.
"Carol, I'm, uh...sorry. If I would've known..."
"Forget it. It was stupid and I'm over it now."
"I'm still checking though, or I'll never be able to finish working without thinking about it."
"Whatever. Who is that anyway?"
"Our Little John Doe."
"Yeah! Loretta was telling me about that. The body's been here for like a week now. Have they figured out who he is yet?"
"Nope, nothing. He's got no police record, no medical record, no nothing. It's like he never existed."
"How weird is that?"
"Well I'm also telling you that its weird for you to think that a dead body just moved on its own."
I heard the rattling of something above my
head. It sounded like a zipper. Light appeared against my eyelids
a few moments later and that smell got even stronger. I fought back
the urge to gag as the nasty smell invaded my nose.
"Ow! Damn it!" Johnson hissed.
"What happened?" Carol asked, sounding concerned.
"Fuckin' zipper pinched my finger!"
"Well, hold on. Let me go get something to disinfect that."
Something landed unannounced on my lips and slid slowly into my mouth. Another drop landed shortly after the first, making enough to slide into my mouth, across my tongue and down into my throat. The taste was something that didn't take my brain a split second to tell me what it was. Blood. Johnson must've pinched his finger so badly that he was bleeding.
An odd feeling in my stomach got my attention. At first it felt normal, then it felt like it was warping and twisting itself. The more it did it the more it began to feel like my stomach was...expanding. It felt like it had suddenly doubled in size. A feeling of severe hollowness spread through it.
Before I got more than a couple of seconds to focus on that, another strange feeling moved through me. The cold that had made its home inside my body melted away just a little and the pain vanished all together.
Somewhere something deep in my brain unlocked. I could literally feel it as it sent out a million brand new commands to the rest of my brain, and it immediately put them into action. I felt my body tensing up. My tongue slid back, bringing what of Johnson's blood that remained into my mouth and my throat swallowed. My eyes started to tingle with a sort of itching sensation. Something broke through the tough gum line of my mouth, sending sharp shooting pains throughout my mouth. The break felt like it was over the area where my two canines were, and it felt like whatever had broken through was sliding down over them.
I didn't know what in the hell was making my mind do this. I didn't even know what it was doing. What I do know is that one second I was in control of everything as far as myself goes, and the next second I felt "it" rising up. It was the same feeling that had kicked my ass before and wouldn't let me stop drinking Michael's blood. But this time it was not about to play around. It came fast and hard, unlike last time, and had me under its foot begging for mercy before I even knew what hit me.
My eyes shot open, catching sight of the man who
had to be Johnson. He was a young looking man, white, brown short hair
and blue eyes. He looked too old to be a teenager, but his face still looked
like it was under attack by acne. It wasn't super-bad, but it wasn't clean
and pristine either. Acne was the least of his problems, though.
I was. Because his eyes opened wide, and the finger he had in his
mouth and was sucking on (probably the one bitten by the zipper) fell from
Those were the only words I heard before I felt my body react, leaping straight up at him. He didn't realize what had happened and that I was on him until a few moments later and he was tumbling backward toward the ground. That was more time than I needed. My body knew what it wanted. It wanted more of what it'd tasted. It knew what it had to do to get it. That was why while we were on our way toward the ground, my legs wrapped around his and held them secure. When we hit the ground, I pushed his head roughly over to the side and bit down into the lower part of his neck close to the shoulder.
I felt my whole body shudder in sheer ecstasy as his blood sprayed into my mouth. It tasted soooo good. A thousand times better than when I drank Michael's. It was bitter, salty and sweet all at the same time. It was warm and smooth as it slid down my throat.
Johnson was screaming. I didn't hear anything from Carol, so I assumed she'd completely left the room before I'd gone after her friend to get whatever she was looking for to disinfect his cut. She'd probably be back. Yeah. She'd be back. Especially now with the screaming.
Johnson was trying to pry me off of him, but with his legs tied up in mine, and the fact that he had fallen awkwardly so that both his arms hands were sort of pinned under him, he couldn't really put up much of a fight. All he could do was lay there and take what was happening to him. But I wanted him to fight. The more he did, the warmer his blood got and the better and more different it started to taste.
The more of his blood that flowed into me, the more ravenous I became for it, just like with Michael. Unlike with Michael, I could feel Johnson's heartbeat in my body, beating in time with mine. His was pounding harder that mine. It was fighting to keep his dwindling blood flow in continuous perfect motion. The pounding filled my head and I began to get dizzy. My vision got hazy. My whole body continued to tingle in sheer bliss as stolen life flowed into it. It was the best feeling I ever felt in the world.
His heartbeat started fading, unable to keep up with the demand. With each weakened beat, Johnson's struggle against me also weakened. Then, I felt a feeling of pure peace settle over me and his life began to flash before my eyes.
There was a flash and I saw a kid who looked like he was 12 at the youngest 14 at the oldest being pushed around the blacktop basketball courts at a school. I watched for a couple of seconds before the information about what I was seeing just "appeared" in my mind. It was Johnson. That was his first name. His last name was Matthews. He was 26 years old, but at the moment he was only 13.
Just like now, Johnson's face wasn't all that appealing. He was a tall, lanky kid, that was every description of a nerd, with the exception that his glasses didn't look like coke bottles. A few months before, he and his family had moved to town from the east coast, following his father's job. Right after they moved, he got hit with a case of severe acne.
I watched as the kids pushed him around, made him trip and stumble, and called him names. I could feel his anger toward those kids. Anger that made him want to lash out and fuck up each and every one of them. But he knew he couldn't take them all on. He'd get his ass handed to him long before he did any real damage.
Along with his anger I could feel sadness. Sadness because this type of treatment wasn't something he was used to. Before the acne attack, he'd been a decent looking boy. He'd had friends, and the only reason he got picked on every now and then was because he was smart. Now, he felt like a monster. An outcast who didn't belong anywhere anymore around people who were too afraid to walk outside the lines and lend a friendly hand to him.
Another flash happened and I saw Johnson sitting at a table in a nice looking kitchen. A nice looking man and woman sat at the other end. The man was dressed up in a business suit (without the coat) and had to have been older than the woman because he had gray showing already. The woman was also dressed up in a woman's business suit, minus the coat. These were Johnson's parents, and neither of them looked happy. They yelled at him because a particular group of boys who always teased him took it a step forward and tried to beat him up. Johnson always thought he might find himself in that kind of situation, so he'd taken the pepper spray his mother normally took with her when she went for her evening walks with him to school. When the boys tried to mess with him and throw punches, they got eyefuls of pepper spray. Having an item of that sort on campus had gotten him in trouble, almost expelled, as his parents thought it was his fault and that it was his way of rebelling for them having to move away from their home on the east coast and friends to the town both of us were in now and to a new school. They couldn't have been further from the truth.
Another scene began to bleed in over that one and I saw Johnson at age19 and going through medical school after graduating high school two years early. He was interested in different types of medical fields, but the one that stood out for him at that time was being a coroner. It was in one of his classes that Carol came to speak at in telling them that the office she worked in did internships. It was then that Carol and Johnson became friends when a few girls in the class made a smart remark about Johnson's acne and if his face was dead or not. Carol told the girls that the face tells a lot about a person and that Johnson just had a skin condition where his face produced too much oil. Then she went on to prove to the girls by pointing out issues with them. On both the girls, Carol was able to point out that they were binging and purging because their eyes were beginning to sink in which was a sign of lack of food. That observation definitely put those girls on the spot. And from the looks they gave Carol, they were not happy to be there.
Carol was one of the few girls that Johnson was actually cool with. She was one of the few people who could see past the face and beyond to the person he was. Johnson would never admit it to her, but somewhere during their friendship, he'd fallen in love with her.
Johnson's heartbeat slowed and came to a halt. His struggling became less and less, until there was barely any movement at all, and then nothing. The visions faded away.
Whatever had taken over my body and my mind released
me and gave me back control. I lifted my head up from Johnson's neck
and saw just how badly I'd ravaged this poor man. I don't know how long
I stood there staring in complete shock.
"Oh my god." a weak groan came out of my mouth, sounding more hoarse and groggy than usual.
I had to get out of here. I had to get out of here before Carol came back. I fought for a moment to untangle my legs from around Johnson's and got to my feet and backed away from his body, running into something behind me. I turned to look and really wished I hadn't. A dead man was lying there with the skin of his chest pulled open, exposing all that was underneath. That pushed me straight over the edge and I threw up all over him and the floor.
It took me a minute to get my bearings back. As soon
as I did, I heard footsteps coming. I already knew who it was. And if I
didn't want to spend the rest of my life in prison, it was time to get
to fuckin' steppin'.
I was about to start searching for a way out when I started to feel extremely lightheaded. I staggered forward and fell over Johnson's body, landing hard on the blood-smeared floor. My vision blurred in and out and my ears rang loudly. The room looked as if it was rocking from left to right. Everything around me was spinning slowly. I tried to stand again and fell right back down.
I was loosing my grip on reality again. I could
feel myself fading away just like before.
"No." I pleaded with it. "Please...no."
But the pleading didn't work. My eyelids started coming down and I knew I wasn't going to make it.
Just before my eyes shut, I thought I saw something in the doorway of the room. One moment it was at the doorway and the next it was closer and closer. I thought it looked like a shadow that was moving around without an owner, but I couldn't really tell.
As I faded back into unconsciousness again, I did
something I haven't done in a very, very long time. I prayed.
"Heavenly father, please accept Johnson Matthews into your kingdom with open and loving arms. He was a good person who didn't deserve what he got. Please let him know that I'm sorry for what I did, and that if he can't forgive me...well...then, I understand. Amen."
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