The Explicit Details of Janet's Death

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The first installment of a string of short stories for the ill-minded.

Submitted: January 12, 2013

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Submitted: January 12, 2013

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The Explicit Details of Janet’s Death

 

By Luke Burrows

 

 

 

 

July 20th

 

Another muffled scream moaned and then dissipated somewhere not so far, yet very far off. The strangled, gutted sound seemed to corrode through the walls. The crescendo and decrescendo of far-off agony pined. Sleepless, tireless, and heartless. This was animal. It digested the shingles on the outside. It digested the layers of two by four’s. It digested the very insulation and plumbing and mortar and even the insects and termites crawling through the shaking frame of the old house. The scream penetrated Ron.

He lie, awake and upright in his bed. Listening through the quiet sputter of the fan and the breathing of his sleeping wife, Ron was more awake than ever. He listened intently, internally yearning for more. The scream, as suddenly as it had started, cut off. A part of Ron, his being that is, leaned forward to hear more. Then his body leaned, anticipating another equally horrifying scream. That had been the third he had heard that night, clearly, and Ron had just sat there in bed. He had heard three screams that couldn’t be interpreted as anything other than murder and he had sat there through all three wails of torment. Sat through three brutal cries for help. Sat through what could have been the last breaths of three people. The screams were human, Ron was sure of that. He hadn’t been so sure of anything in his whole life. Well, now that he thought about it, the screams were more the act of the human being leaving the body.

The Screams (as he would refer to them the next day to his wife) would come and go and go and come and Ron would stay in his bed. Crickets would chirp outside. His wife next to him would sleep. A 2004 Dodge Durango would drive by Ron’s house with the radio turned too loudly to hear the Screams. Ron’s neighbors, the Shellys, would lay in their own beds, happy and content and completely oblivious to death. His other neighbor, Stan Welton, would stay up alone, watching Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Fallon, drinking his cool White Russian because Stan loved the Big Lebowski so much. Angels would watch and not do a thing about whatever was occurring. They would sit idly by and point in contempt, those winged deriders (Ron’s thought, not mine).  They would mock and play antithesis to the human race, the loveless bastards. And Ron would stay in his bed, yet God shrugged pity for him.

 Ron was atheist, or…agnostic, no…yeah, agnostic. It took three screams at 3:30 in the morning for Ron to do some soul searching? Of course it did, you lazy bastard, Ron thought to himself. Ron had never been one to think about the afterlife and death and God and gods alike. There was a god, right? Or rather, a God. That capitalization was key. It was the whole thing that made Christianity and Muslim and Judaism and Hinduism. Their gods, not his, he thought. Their Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva and their Allah and their Buddha and their god damned Jesus Christ! Irony slapped Ron across the face. It was a quick hand that held his brain by the testicles and then spat in its face. God…god. It made all the difference, right?

Meanwhile, somewhere very far off, a 15 year-old boy was jacking off.

This inner dialogue continued for ten more seconds. It continued for this amount of time because Ron let it. He wanted this inspired “religion” to take a hold of him in place of the fear he was feeling. So, ten seconds later…

 He let out a breath, the first breath he had let out in literally 45 seconds. How had he managed that? Were the Screams keeping his realizations of terror in? Were they pursuing his conscience, thirsty for fear?  HOW WAS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? The inner dialogue was coming back as Ron was panting from holding his breath in for such a long time. No, Ron, he thought. Do not let this happen again. Take control of the situation. Listen to what’s happening. He looked at his lap, with zero thought intruding this time.

Ron clicked to life the TV. Volume at 2. Brightness at -4. Contrast at 0. Fox. Click. NBC. Click. CBS. Click. All channels screamed at him with cloven tongues. The portal, now nicknamed “television”, was a medium for stupidity. Ron wasn’t talking about the cartoons are reality shows or game shows. Ron was referring to the “news”, the talk shows, the people of fame. How had moronic influences taken power of the media? Kardashians and modern Cleopatras of lust humped the population into submission. The general public had keeled over and licked its gonads like a dog. A spoon filled with lies flew in like an airplane into the mouth of popular consensus. No, DON’T think about your life. DON’T have a developed opinion. DON’T educate yourself with personal interest or reflection. Ron pulled out a loaded Springfield from underneath his mattress and shot the television to smithereens. (Hyperbole is used often in story telling, ya know?)

“Ha ha,” he said. Ron laughed at how deep and reflective he was being at 3:32 AM. What an esoteric, cliché hipster.

He looked at his wife, quiet in sublimity. Lucky fucking her. I mean, how can she just lay there asleep like some inept angel, he thought. There is somebody dying, woman! How could Ron say that? The only difference between him and her was that he was awake while she slept peacefully. And then, after exactly 3.7 seconds at looking at his wife, possibly the most harrowing thought crept into Ron’s head. Ron imagined his wife’s death. It wasn’t just some spontaneous emotion or the general feeling of having lost his wife. It was the exact picture and situation. Here, precisely, is how Ron imagined his wife, Janet, dying:

 

•••

 

Janet walked curiously through an empty house. The Victorian model stood on the top of a permanently sepia hill. Crows circled the near sky like buzzards on Janet’s soon-to-be-dead body. This was the house that the villagers of the town at the base of the hill told their children not to go to. It was rumored that spooky ghosts haunted the place and that a kid had once died there or some cliché bullshit like that. Why are normal, suburban box houses never haunted? They always seem to be the big, 100 year-old mother fuckers that are haunted. You’re getting off topic Ron, focus. Anyways, Janet stumbled through the abandoned house. She made her way across they ground level entrance. Pictures of the house’s previous owners stared haughtily at her. Beyard, Mousseau, Paquet, Thibeaux, and Williquettes all glared at Janet with disapproval. Janet glided curiously to the stairs. Comfortingly stereotypical cobwebs wrapped themselves around the corners of the ceiling. It was very cool to Janet to see such beauty, even though she knew she would be dying soon. How interesting. A victim sentenced to death admiring life.

 Her brown Toms padded gently across the ancient spine of the staircase. Long mirrors contorted the lips and forehead of Janet’s already flawed physique. Not to say Janet wasn’t pretty, but…she was a 6, alright?!?! Janet finally approached the top step; her hand reached the knob at the top of the railing. She looked down. The knob was a gargoyle, rich and inglorious in the fact that it was NOT alive. That gargoyle was the happiest thing in the whole damned house. Janet’s hand shot back, cautious to touch the creature. She continued.

Oddly enough, in Ron’s hypothetical, it was daytime. A dirty white sun shone dimly through tinting clouds, windows and curtains long ways, stretching Janet’s ashy shadow across the hallway onto the stone foyer below her. Janet paced slowly down the top hallway, running her slender fingers along the windows, tall and dust-covered. She withdrew her hand. (Ew, dust.) Janet continued though, to the bedroom.

Heart racing, an aura, visible not to the human eye, but emanating a frequency so close to visible light that it demanded attention grew from the door of the bedroom. It grew without patience and throttled into Janet’s skull like a bolt of lightning, zapping her hypothalamus with the same whip of oppression used in the 1800’s on slaves. She opened the door.

A neat, four-poster bed first caught her eye.

Scratch that. It wasn’t the bed that caught her. It was what was inside the bed. Janet hesitantly entered the room. Beads of sweat began conglomerating and congealing into larger droplets across her 4/10 forehead and her 5/10 arms and her stunning 9/10 legs. She nervously walked towards the bed. She walked because she had to. No peril would come to her if she didn’t, but Ron’s messed up fantasy urged her forward. His soon to be violent depiction continued, as did she. She stopped, shaking like an uncertain flame dancing on the wick of a candle, soon to be blown out by the ongoing wind. Her hand touched the comforter. The hand balanced there, just as uncertain as the fantasy being produced; it was quite horrific in its uncertainty. Janet looked around the room, not wanting to make eye contact with the bed’s inhabitant. The walls, all around the room, were covered in shelves, which were in turn covered in books.  The room was more a library than a bedroom to be honest. Janet perused the entire room, which, mind you, was filled with books; they were books about medical procedures, books about foreign languages, books about famous serial killers of the 30’s, books about necromancy, books about spirits and rituals of evil, books about Satan, books about God, books about the stars, books about parallel universes, books about the meaning of life, and one book about cooking healthy when you’re on the go.

Janet craned her head slowly back to the bed, shaking more than ever now. Terror was keeping her there now, not Ron’s subconscious will. The creature in the bed was breathing, audibly, and it scared the living shit out of Janet. You see, from the moment Janet entered the room, the creature had been making uninterrupted eye contact with Janet. Stark white irises contrasted by onyx black pupils shone like snow falling in the night sky, directly at Janet. The being’s body was a fleshy, devilish black as well. The skin was putrid and wet. It offended Janet just as much as it disgusted her. Boney, corroded horns were joined to the being’s scalp, just so naturally. Although the being’s mouth was closed, Janet knew the familiar, sharp, visceral teeth hiding behind the scaly lips of the creature’s mouth. The being in the bed was the gargoyle Janet had touched on the top of the stairs just moments ago. Yet moments ago, it had been made of mahogany and not of reality. And now, the gargoyle unblinkingly stared at Janet, knowing every possible move she could make. Janet’s hand clung to the bed, courtesy of Ron’s will. She could not and would not withdraw it.

The gargoyle did a very curious thing next. It slowly pursed its lips and SMILED at Janet, revealing all one, two, three, ten, twenty, fifty--ah shit the thing had a lot of teeth! The smile was just as unwavering as the creature’s eyes. Both seemed as attached to Janet as the bed did to her hand. She could not move.

Here, this is where the death of Janet happened. In 90 seconds, Janet would be dead, and Ron’s fantasy would be complete.

Janet was breathing harder and heavier. The gargoyle stayed motionless, as its breathing increased also. A book dropped hard with an empty and echoless thud. Janet spun around, well, her head at least did. Another book came crashing down from the shelf. She whirled back around, concentrated on her hand as more and more books began to rain down off of the endless shelves. The gargoyles exhales were vicious and hungry. It was hungry for Janet, hungry for her body, hungry for her blood, hungry for her soul, hungry for each and every part of her scrumptious figure, hungry for her intestines and all of the juices they contained, hungry for her brain and the squishy folds and creases of her delectable grey matter. Drool ran down the lips of the gargoyle as the sound of books hitting the ground began to imitate horses galloping. Janet frantically grabbed her arm and began pulling on it, desperate to detach herself from the bed. It did not, could not, and would not budge. The gargoyle’s eyes, as impossible as it may seem, grew wider and bloodshot. They hooked deeply onto Janet, fixated on their next meal. Still, the gargoyle did not move. Books were all over the place; the shelves were nearly bare. Janet was panting with fright, spinning around and yanking with all of her strength to dislodge her stubborn hand. Ron’s will fought back. Reeling her eyes to the bookcase, Janet saw hell.

A portal, literally, a portal, had opened where the bookcase once was. The gate was purple with swirls of grey and black. Streams of different dimensions and space collided as wind whirled through the room, which was now roaring with the sounds of books clattering, the portal growing, and the starving gargoyle growling. Eternity was coming to an end as immortal ghosts exited the portal. Three of them came smoothly and effortlessly into the room, tall, white and faceless. They were made up of a force field so powerful and yet non-existent. Their tentacle-like limbs swung by their sides. Janet looked up at their emptiness, where their heads would be, and screamed. It was a scream so pained and agonizing that it made King Tutankhamen laying listless in his tomb in Giza jealous. And just as the scream left Janet’s mouth, the Gargoyle began to laugh a deep, hoarse and destructive laugh. The laugh had sentenced Janet. She now belonged to these white immortals. The laugh echoed cacophonously with Janet’s scream. She flailed about wildly, still attached magnetically to the bed. Janet began crying, tears mixed indefinitely with perspiration. Hope had left her body and then continued to leave Ron’s hypothetical altogether. Janet was dead, and even she knew it.

The three of them surrounded her and closed in. Books spun in whirlwinds around them. Pages ripped across the room, cutting Janet’s face mercilessly. They closed in on her. Janet dropped to her knees and desperately threw herself as hard she could from the bed. Ron’s will to keep her locked in place prevailed though. Her six feet had already been dug. An epitaph was being made as she cried. Nostradamus admitted defeat, corrected by the events transpiring. The worlds of man in their entirety were ending. Now, the three looming ghosts were growing waspish and savage. Although without faces, three gnawing mouths grew from their emptiness. Their tentacles whipped around Janet’s ankles and free wrist forcefully. Her other wrist was still being pulled to the bed. They grabbed her neck and squeezed violently. Janet’s phlegm and tears mixed with blood in her throat. One tentacle seized her waist and gripped hard, forcing vomit up into the recipe already solidifying in her esophagus. Then, with all force that had ever existed in the world Janet had come to know, the tentacles pulled. Janet’s two gorgeous legs and her two average arms were plucked from her torso and waist. Fade to black. Fade back.  Janet’s scream ceased into a gurgled admission of defeat. The slobbering tongues on the white figures lapped at their lips and the tentacles reeled in their prize. The goofy teeth gnawed on the flesh of Janet. Blood spurted onto the walls and onto the books themselves. Some of Janet’s blood was sprayed onto the bed, where it splattered the un-phased Gargoyle, observing the whole situation. Their swallows reminded Ron of the time he had the Flu and had thrown up chunks of hotdog and soup and then fearfully swallowed the mess. The immortals finished the last of Janet and their mouths quietly dissolved into their emptiness. The tentacles resumed their previous, limp state, and just as they had entered, the beings levitated smoothly through the whirling portal. It closed acutely behind them, like a television being turned off.

Papers rustled from the wind blowing in through the pained window. Creaks of the bed and pages of books also filled the ambience of the room. Janet’s hand still clung to the blanket, blood dripping persistently from her radius and severed ulna. But all that truly remained in the bedroom was the loud and aggressive cackling of the Gargoyle, lying contently in the four-poster bed.

 

Ron looked down at Janet, peaceful and unconscious, yet alive. He had truly terrified himself just now. What was his problem? Janet was his wife, and had done nothing to deserve that brutal treatment. He could never tell her what had just gone through his mind. It was locked away in his vault of thoughts, never to be released. Ron put his face in his hands, breathing in deeply. His thoughts were scattered, whom was he kidding? Somehow, this dark, twisted fantasy would escape his brain. Ron lied down and sighed. Morning would soon come and life would resume. Life was important, right? It was definitely more important than the thoughts he had just had. He would have to survive until then.

Just then, a fourth, equally as penetrating scream could be heard off in the distance. It grew just as digestible as the last three. But Ron would not have it. He abruptly threw his pillow over his head, pulled down, and fell asleep.


© Copyright 2020 Luke Burrows. All rights reserved.

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