Gangrene

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A new urban legend for the 21st century

Submitted: December 31, 2010

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Submitted: December 31, 2010

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“Come on that wasn’t even scary. I want to be so scared that I can’t even go to the toilet on my own,” Monique said while glancing at Markus thinking he looked cute with his top shirt buttons open revealing a strong hairy chest. Cute and sexy she thought.

“Well I’ve got one that will make you go to the toilet where you’re sitting” Markus shot back with a wry smile on his face.

“Ok it’s my turn” Rebecca interjected. She was a student studying journalism and always wanted to get her story across. The four of them had decided tonight on Halloween it would be perfect to have a scary night in, Markus’s idea. Initially she thought it was stupid but was warming to it.

“This one always shits me up” Rebecca stated while taking hold of James’s hand, it felt unusually cold which she found weird given the humidity in the room.

“There was this small girl called Lisa. Her parents always worked late so they bought her a dog to keep her company. Well one night she was trying to sleep however there was this dripping sound keeping her awake. So she went to the kitchen and turned the tap off, as she was going into her bed she put her hand under it for her dog to lick which he dully did.”

Rebecca took a deep breath and looked at their faces, the look of expectancy excited her and she continued on.

“The dripping sound continued so this time she went to the bathroom and turned the tap off there. Again she came back to bed and got her hand lovingly licked by her pet. The dripping carried on drip, drip, drip. She listened carefully and realised it was coming from her wardrobe. She went over and opened the door. Hanging upside down was her dog, it had been gutted. On the inside of the door was a message “HUMANS CAN LICK TO!!!”

“Is that it, come on you can do better than that.” Markus courageously announced.

“It was creepy but nothing that’s going to make me wear a nappy” Monique said reassuringly.

“I found it quite scary.” James replied while kissing her hand, he did really love her and hoped one day he could take her to see his parents, they would be proud.

“Tweetie you find anything scary, you’re even afraid of your own shadow” Markus teased. Tweetie was the name he invented for James when they were growing up and he always got satisfaction from saying it. When he was young James had a slightly larger forehead and Markus happily coined the nickname Tweetie after the cartoon character Tweetie Pie who had a big head. It stuck and so did they ever since.

“Ok it’s my turn, this one is actually true.” Monique exclaimed while looking straight into Markus’s eyes, pouting her full lips at him.

“There was a young couple who lived in Texas. They had planned a shopping trip to Mexico one weekend and had been forced to take their three year old boy because the babysitter cancelled at the last minute. While they were shopping the boy got free and ran off into a busy crowd, the parents tried searching but got lost quickly.” An eerie hush had fallen over the group as their anticipation grew.

“The parents found a police officer and showed him a picture of the boy telling him to hurry before it was too late. He informed them to wait at the gate and he would do his best. About forty five minutes later the officer came back with the boy in his arms. The mother ran towards him with tears in her eyes. When the officer realised it was the boy’s mother he dropped the kid on the floor and ran off. While the parents were waiting the boy had been killed, cut open and had his insides removed and stuffed with cocaine. The plan was to have the woman carry the boy over the border and into the US pretending to be his mum”

“That’s not true, I’ve heard the same story but with an old Grandma being used instead of a young boy.” Markus confidently announced.

“I found that very disturbing” James replied while contemplating the truth of the story.

“Surprise surprise” Markus quipped. “If you’re interested in true stories I’ve got one that will surely scare the crap out of you, Tweetie you might need to sleep with the light on like you had to after watching the first Freddy Kruger film”

“I was ten at the time and you said he was real”

“Unlike your story Monique this one did actually happen and it’s quite horrific.”

“Well get on with it then” Rebecca growled becoming impatient with Markus’s games.

After a slight pause Markus began. “About a hundred years ago there was a man named Robert Johnson, he was by all standards a normal guy who had just turned twenty one. He had returned from his first mission in the Navy and was out celebrating his arrival with his young wife. “

“They were walking back home as it was getting quite late when some young punks began whistling and shouting sordid remarks at his Mrs. The couple ignored them and carried on with their journey however the hoodlums didn’t cease, they followed them and simply became louder and more aggressive. As they passed a derelict factory one of the guys got hold of his wife’s dress and wouldn’t let go. This was the last straw for Robert who snapped the assailants arm in one move.”

“What happened next can’t even be put into words...” Markus trailed off.

“So what happened” Rebecca asked clearly interested in this story and even for a second thinking she had been told about this as a child, like it was some kind of urban legend.

“Well they were outnumbered and as soon as the troublemakers saw what happened to their cohort they took it upon themselves to get revenge. They overpowered the two of them and dragged them into the abandoned factory. There a long torturous week lay ahead. Robert was held down and beaten for a good few hours, as they had him down they made sure that he watched his wife being raped over and over again.” Markus paused for effect.

“Then when they got tired of the beatings couldn’t get it up they beat her to a bloody pulp. Robert refused to watch so they cut his off his eye lids in an attempt to force him to see the sickening act. They were filled with hatred, vengeance, madness and violence. She died on the third day and Robert no longer wishing to live wanted to join her however it wasn’t to be”

“For four more days they cut, burnt, stamped and kicked his face beyond all recognition. It was simply a face awash with blood, bruises and broken teeth. One of the gang members found a container of Nitric acid in the cellar of the factory. As Robert was laying there helplessly, no idea of what was going on around him because he was drifting in and out of consciousness they poured the acid over his face and body. It eroded away whatever was remaining of his flesh and while he screamed they laughed and decided he needed to be cooled off so they pissed over his steaming body.”

“Miraculously Robert battled on and didn’t pass away for another two days, by then his wounds were beyond repair and blood couldn’t reach the affected skin tissues which resulted in the remaining cells to die and become gangrene. They left him to die all alone with his broken body and his wife’s soiled corpse next to him. Just before his death one last thought crossed his mind...this is not the end of me”

“They say that Gangrene has made visits after his death when he has been called upon, the people who have called him were never able to corroborate the story as they never lived past seven days or went insane. This isn’t something I made up, if you search news archives you’ll see Robert Johnson’s name come up in one of the most infamous and notorious cases ever seen.” Markus sighed while reflecting on his story, it felt as he had just hit a home run and was just waiting for the excitement it caused.

“I actually have come across this before when doing some research for a paper, I don’t recall such gory details as papers never reveal the full truth but it did happen” Rebecca said while trying to recall some of the specifics on the article she read.

“So what you’re saying is that Gangrene can be contacted” Monique enquired.

“Yeah but who in their right mind actually believes that” Markus replied trying to show indifference.

“Let’s call him it will be fun” Monique insisted.

“Forget it lets just watch a movie” James interrupted.

“Oh come on grow a pair,” Monique taunted back, making James blush with embarrassment.

“I’ve got an Ouija board upstairs but I think we should only do it if we all agree, let’s have a show of hands who wants to do this,” Markus said while lifting his hand. Monique quickly obliged and after a few seconds Rebecca followed suit mumbling something about it not being real.

“Well I guess I don’t have a choice if all of you want to do it,” James reluctantly agreed.

“That’s my boy,” Markus looked proudly at his best buddy.

“You’ve had this planned all along haven’t you?” Rebecca questioned Markus.

“Of course I haven’t, let me go get the board and we can get underway.” Markus answered back avoiding eye contact with his questioner.

While in his bedroom Markus couldn’t help stare at himself in the mirror. He was just over six feet tall, well built and had a face which seemed like it was carved by Michelangelo himself. Deep brown eyes, prominent cheek bones and a chiselled jaw. He was handsome and he knew it. As he stood admiring himself Markus organised his thoughts, first he would do the séance and try to scare the crap out of them, second he would get Monique a little more tipsy then invite her to his room and finally have a good night sleep before his big presentation at work tomorrow. Realising he was taking longer than expected he grabbed the board and headed downstairs.

“Hey what took you so long? Were you having second thoughts?” Rebecca teased.

“No I was just wondering if I was breaking any laws.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well I’m sure it’s a crime to look this good!” Markus arrogantly said while lifting his chin up in a triumphant pose.

“You are so vain.” Monique replied while slowly undressing him in her mind.

“Do you blame me?”

“OK guys enough with the flirting; let’s get this thing over with.” James impatiently interjected.

Markus laid the board on the floor and they gathered around. The only light in the room was coming from the four candles which were half burnt out. A slight creepiness was in the air and the group responded by being exceptionally quiet. No one spoke, waiting for Markus who had taken on the role of the impromptu median to take charge.

He began by setting out the guidelines. “Now there is no point in doing this unless we are all serious and respectful. No joking around or messing about.” They all had solemn faces and were hanging on to his every word. “We need to be closer, our knees should be touching and our fingertips have to be on the edge of the board. Under no circumstances can you remove your fingers otherwise the contact will be broken.”

“OK how does it start?” Rebecca enquired.

“Well first we have to warm it up.” Markus said while slowly moving the planchette around on the wooden surface. The planchette was a small triangle shaped piece of wood which is used by the spirit to point to the relevant characters. The alphabet ran across the middle of the board in italics, A-K on the top line, then L-U and finally for the last line V-Z. Underneath the letters were numbers 0-9. On either side was a clear hello and good bye and at the top yes or no with a skull faced bat in between. Once he was finished moving the piece around he let it rest in the middle and closed his eyes, so did everyone else.

“We would like to speak to Robert Johnson, who passed away on August 20th 1902.” Markus announced thinking to himself this wasn’t as fun as he planned out. Everyone remained silent, but nothing happened. The house made no sound at all, they could have been sitting on the moon and not known the difference.

“We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.” Markus repeated. Nothing.

“We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.” The other three started chanting, in perfect harmony. “We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson. We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.” This isn’t how it’s supposed to be done Markus thought but unconsciously he started chanting as well. “We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.” No more thoughts came; their bodies and minds were all focused on one goal. “We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.” There was nothing else, just desire to communicate. Raw passionate desire.

“What was that?” Markus said as he broke the chanting.

“I didn’t hear anything.” James replied.

“I heard something move upstairs, I think someone is there.”

“It’s nothing you’re breaking the momentum.”

A bead of sweat ran down Markus’s face tracing his strong features. His mind began to panic, processing too many thoughts at once, I’m sure I heard something, it can’t be everything is locked, this is never going to work we’re not doing it proper, you have to take charge.

“If you are there please give us a sign.” Markus asked in a more demanding tone, having to raise his voice over the constant chant that didn’t seem to want to disappear. No response. “My fingers are staring to burn.” Markus said while slowly removing each finger off the board.

“No keep them there otherwise it will be broken.” Rebecca hissed. Markus thought for a second she was possessed. He placed the rest of his fingers back on. The pain didn’t stop, the heat kept increasing and he was now sweating like he had just finished a workout.

“I can’t keep them on any longer, it burns.”

“We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.” It went on. “We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson. We would like to contact the spirit of Robert Johnson.”

No longer able to withstand the heat Markus abruptly pulled his fingers off, at the same instance the planchette flew across the room. “What did you do that for?” Monique asked, her steely gaze fixed on his face.

“I couldn’t take it any longer.”

“OK well I think that proves that this is a load of bollocks.” James said while moving closer to Rebecca hoping for comfort, like a child looking for comfort from a parent when scared. Markus was looking down at his hands, there was no sign of any burning and he couldn’t feel anything. He wore a confused expression over his face.

“Did you all actually feel or sense anything because I did.” Rebecca ventured.

“I think it’s because we were all going through the same experience it might have been some kind of group hallucinatory experience. But definitely nothing spiritual, we didn’t even get a sign. Well apart from Markus throwing the wood across the floor.” James answered.

“I didn’t throw it, I wasn’t even touching it”

“Well I think that’s enough excitement for tonight, it’s getting late so James let’s get some sleep.” Rebecca announced while standing up and taking her lovers arm. They went upstairs and Monique moved next to Markus.

“You ok Hun?”

“Yeah I guess so, just need to get some rest.” Markus replied completely oblivious that Monique had taken hold of his hand.

“Would you like some company?” She asked with a devilish smile.

Energy and life returning to his legs Markus stood up and lifted her off the ground. “How can I say no to such a kind offer?” Picking her up and carrying her upstairs to his room. He had this weird feeling at the back of his head, he sensed that something wasn’t right but he didn’t know what. Was it him, the environment, was something here; was it Monique he didn’t know but as soon as she started kissing him and her warm gentle hands started to caress his chest his mind was only on one thing.

Once Markus had exhausted his reserves they both lay in silence. Monique played with the curls on his chest as she slowly drifted into her slumber. Markus still half awake let his mind wonder, he was thinking about how Gangrene would kill Monique if given the chance, probably by burning off her skin. For some reason the thought pleased him, with a smile on his face he slowly pushed her off and turned on his side. Sleep came eventually.

“Markus is that you?” James asked while rubbing his eyes. It was too dark for them to adjust to the room but he could clearly see the digital alarm clock flashing 3:13 am. “You know the time, is something wrong?”

“Jim what’s wrong honey, what’s that smell have you peed yourself?” Rebecca asked disturbed by James.

“That’s not me, Markus is in the room but I don’t know what he wants.”

“Look at the time asshole, enough with your stupid games.”

A strong swift blow on the top of Rebecca’s head knocked her out. “Dude what the fuck is wrong with you?” James shouted while leaping to his feet. Al he could make out was a black outline in front of him, but he could see something shinning in his hand. “OK Markus it’s been a crazy night, but just put the hammer down...ok.” before James could say anything else he was struck across the face. The impact was so severe his left ear could not stop ringing and he was sure that he had lost two of his teeth.

As James crawled along the floor trying to make sense of what was transpiring a second blow came crashing down. He slowly moved along the floor clutching the left side of his face, blood squirted out and he couldn’t feel his ear. It had been torn off and lay in a red mess. He couldn’t see however the darkness was now not just in the room but also taking over his mind. He was losing consciousness but he still struggled to his feet.

His assailant just stood and watched, as much pain as James was experiencing his attacker was clearly experiencing the same amount of pleasure. “Stop, please what’s wrong with you, it’s me your...” the third strike took his jaw clean off his face, stopping him from talking and living. His shaking body collapsed to the floor and kept twitching as his mind slowly stopped sending signals to his muscles.

Markus stood in his room wondering where the blood had come from. It ran down his hand and it confused him, what confused him even more was the absence of Monique. It was half three in the morning and where the hell had she gone. Instinctively he looked out the window and saw her standing on the front lawn with her back to him. At first he thought his eyes were deceiving him but as he observed closely it was definitely her.

He raced down the stairs and out into the cool air. It was a dry night with a slight breeze. Markus realized he was still in his boxers and wished he had grabbed his robe. “Monique what are you doing, it’s the middle of the night.” No reply. He cautiously came closer, not able to take his eyes off her perfectly shaped behind. As he neared he realised she was completely naked, goose pimples were all over her smooth caramel skin and her hair blew gently in the wind.

As he turned to face her, his throat seized up, “what the fuck?” The skin on the front of her face and body had been peeled off. Two eyes which were now protruding eye balls stared out hauntingly. Her face was no longer a light brown but a maroon red with lines and markings displaying the separation between the muscles. Small red markings covered her almost pristine ivory teeth. As his eyes worked down this monstrosity he realised he found himself staring at her breasts, no longer plump and seductive but taut, red and repulsive.

Voice stifled, he put out a finger to touch her. As he felt the warm moistness of her face the body collapsed to the floor, Markus did the same only he had fainted.

As Markus slowly regained consciousness he realised he was no longer in his front garden but in a cold hard bed. Lifting his head he saw the cell bars, thick and solid steel enforcing the cold feeling that had overcome him. As he pieceed together what happened he began to shake and lost control of his bladder, the warm liquid providing a small sense of comfort. Markus groggily stood up and inspected the damp trousers cursing as he shook out whatever remnants of urine were left.

“The new guys awake.” Someone shouted presumably a guard Markus thought.

“Aw look he’s pissed himself.” Another voice echoed. “That’s common with newbie’s don’t worry boy you’ll soon get used to it.”

“Look I haven’t done anything, it wasn’t me.” Markus pleaded in his most sincere voice knowing it wouldn’t make a difference. The guard stepped into the cell, taking up all the small space that was left.

“I say this to everyone who says that to me kid, tell it to the judge and spare me the bullshit.” The guard replied while hoisting Markus out of the cell. “There are a few people who want to talk to you.” He grinned reminding Markus of a Hyena.

Markus was shown into a spacious room with three chairs, a table and a massive mirror which covered the entire side wall. “Take a seat and they will be right in.” Markus slowly nodded his head.

A moment later the door abruptly opened with two middle aged guys walking in. One was short, balding and round, the other tall, thin and had a moustache that looked like it belonged to a seventies porn star. They reminded Markus of Laurel and Hardy however he was too stressed out to even find this amusing.

The fat Hardy spoke first in a very sharp tone, “I’m Detective Cowen and this is Detective Rogers, and you are Markus Graham, can you confirm this for the record.”

“Yes I am.” Markus agreed.

It was Laurel’s turn to speak. “Now this is going to be simple, we are going to ask you a few questions and we would appreciate your full cooperation in this process, we will try and keep this as short as possible.” Markus immediately thought of Hardy and smiled inside.

“I have been in this business for over twenty years and I’ve never seen such a sickening act, what exactly drove you to do it?” Hardy cut in, Markus was trying to figure out who was playing good cop and who was playing bad cop.

“I didn’t do anything, I woke up and found Monique in the garden, I went to see what she was doing and realised she had been skinned alive, that’s all I remember. Why don’t you ask James or Rebecca they’ll agree that I couldn’t do something like that?”

Laurel’s eyes went over Markus’s face clearly he was trying to pick up on any tells. “Well we have.” Hardy answered.

“And what did they say?”

“Well James didn’t say anything because he too has been murdered and Rebecca swore blind that you were in the room and attacked both her and James.” Markus was left stunned by Hardy’s news.

“Tweetie’s dead and why is Rebecca saying I did it?”

“Well because she saw you in the room with some object in your hand, she told you to get out and the next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital. No one else has been in your house, there was no sign of a break in and so I ask why did you do it?”

Before he could answer Laurel fired another question. “From our records we discovered that you spent a year in Juvenile for an attack on another person which left them hospitalised. So it clearly shows that you are prone to hurt someone.”

“Why would I want to hurt my best friend or the girl who I fancy?”

“Listen here, I know you’re new to this but we ask the questions not you so stop acting smart and tell us the truth you sick fuck!” Laurel said clearly establishing himself as the bad cop.

“It wasn’t me, it...it was Gangrene.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Hardy exclaimed.

“We did a séance to call Robert Johnson, it’s like an urban legend thing and he is also known as Gangrene I’m sure it is him you have to believe me.”

“So let’s get this straight you’re blaming this on a ghost who you contacted, are you on any drugs?”

“I erm don’t take drugs and I know it sounds stupid but how else could this happen?”

The rest of the session was a daze with the same question asked repeatedly but worded differently. As Markus lay in his cell bed, feeling the springs graze against his spine all he could think was Gangrene, he kept repeating the name of Robert Johnson even deep into his sleep.

“Honey it’s been a very stressful few days but your back from the hospital and the doctors said that you’re going to be fine.” Rebecca’s mother repeated for the fourth time that afternoon.

Rebecca had been home since last evening and had barely said a word. The shock of what happened taking the words and life right out of her. She just sat in the same position like a statue once in a while drifting her gaze away from the same spot in the carpet to out the window.

“Why don’t you take a nice warm bath it’ll relax you and take away all this stress?” Her mother kindly recommended.

“But it won’t bring James back will it.” She almost cried at the mention of James, the love of her life.

“Well sitting there isn’t going to either and besides do you really think if he was alive he would want you getting depressed.” Rebecca couldn’t argue with the logic and had a quick sniff of her top, she hadn’t showered in two days and thought now was a good a time as any.

She began to let the tap run then decided to just take a shower her impatience overcoming the need for relaxation. The shower jerked to life and she kept her hand under the cascade as it heated up. The feeling of warm soothing sprinkles gently beating on her skin slowly drove out any tension that had built up in her muscles. Rebecca felt liberated.

While massaging her hair a small burning sensation struck Rebecca’s middle finger. As she inspected her hand another burning drop landed on her ear, this time a sharp overwhelming burning, she screamed in agony realising that it wasn’t hot water it was acid.

A whole gush of acid came through the shower head and poured down her body, the small drops becoming a waterfall of deadly liquid. She barely had time to think before the flesh on her face was burnt off; her body crumpled over the side of the bath the acid now working away at her buttocks.

Hearing the scream Rebecca’s mother came storming up, only to see her daughter in a naked bloody heap. She looked up and saw the shower head, the acid had worn away its front and its black face stared back tauntingly.

It was after lights out and the cell was pitch black, gentle snoring drifted over from the next cubicle. Markus sat rocking on his bed pondering how his once organised life was now a mess he realised that he knew something no one else did. He knew it was Gangrene, he was more convinced of this then his own sanity.

The smell of urine slowly filled Markus’s nostrils; he knew instinctively who it was. A dark shadow stood motionless in the corner of his cell, the silhouette was watching him. Markus stared blankly ahead, not even turning his head to acknowledge Gangrene’s presence.

So I guess this is it, they’ll find me dead and know that it was Robert but then they will keep searching and more people will contact him. If we hadn’t have called him this would never have happened. I can’t let him continue his bloody rampage; I guess I’ll just have to take responsibility. Markus contemplated.

The shadow began to stir, slowly moving towards the bed. Not making a sound, like it was floating.

He wants me to spread his name, no get out of my head, no I must end this. Markus’s thoughts began to conflict with some other alien thoughts that were beginning to engulf his mind.

In his hand Markus clutched a rusty screw he had removed from his bed, without thinking further he plunged the screw into the back of his tongue and with a strong pull and a screech that reverberated throughout all the cells on the floor ripped his tongue out. That should show him whose boss!

The shadow passed through his body and disappeared. As Markus sat there trying to think about what was happening he realised that something wasn’t right, Gangrene had taken something but he couldn’t figure out what. His mind wasn’t working as it should, he had lost something.

Gangrene had taken his sanity the last thing that had been taken from him.


© Copyright 2018 Osmaan Mahmood. All rights reserved.

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