1664 words (6 minute read)




         I woke up this morning after a bad dream, I was eating with a child and maggots started spilling out of his eyes. We continued to speak, I didn't mention it. I didn't want to embarrass the boy. Then I noticed that when I put the spoon up to my lips the food was covered with the grotesque creatures, I put my hand up to my eyes and they were spilling maggots too.

         It’s actually pretty normal for me to have dreams like that.  I got out of bed and started to get ready. Get ready for nothing really, no work, and my daughter is in daycare. I went into the living room and turned on FOX news, a commercial, so I flipped over to VH1.  At 10:30 I went into the kitchen to fix some cereal. I was about to pour the milk when a noise startled me. It took a second for me to realize it was a gunshot. We have guns in our house, its common around here, but a gunshot in an apartment complex has to be bad. This one seemed to come from right beside me. I headed outside. Stupid you might say, but I have some medical skills, and boredom makes me long for adrenaline.

         So yea, I checked the scary noise outside. I defied every horror movie rule ever. I was okay with it. It was a sunshiny warm day, no boogeymen to be seen. I stepped towards the parking lot and looked up at my neighbors doors. The door upstairs and opposite mine was open. I knew the family, my daughter played with their kid. I couldn't for the life of me remember that little girl’s name, but I could hear her sobs when I approached the bottom of the stairs.

         I should have hurried up there. Instead I went inside to get my Taser, it's a little thing, but it made me feel better. I also took my husband’s 45 and loaded it. I checked the safety, then checked it again. When I was confident I wouldn’t shoot a hole in my ass I stuck it in the back of my pants. I know nothing about guns really. I can load, fire, and clean them, but my aim is mediocre at best. After this I was buying a holster.

         The rest of my neighbors were at work, except for an elderly gentleman, who was peeking from behind yellowed mini blinds. The day was wonderful; the sky was, well… sky blue. Big fluffy clouds patrolled the airways. They looked like children had made them out of cotton balls, and a gentle breeze stirred the leaves of the trees. Picture perfect, I took it all in and headed up the stairs. It was just a beautiful backdrop that would make what I was about to see that much worse.

         The little girl was in the doorway. She was curled into a ball with her head pressed against her knees. The cheap faux-wood linoleum of the entryway was dotted with blood. I stepped past her so that I could see down the narrow hall. The kitchen, living area, and dining room were to the right, bedrooms to the left. I quickly checked the living area and kitchen, nothing except cartoons on the TV. The bathroom was also empty. There was vomit in a ring around the toilet. The bedroom doors were closed. The little girl’s room was at the end of the hall, the master bedroom was next to it. I opened the girl’s room, it was devoid of people, but animals in a circle appeared to be mourning something. At this point I felt like I was going to throw up on myself. I could smell blood and the other less pleasant smells of death; I'd been around it enough to know. I knocked on the bedroom door like an idiot.

Before I opened it a voice from the entryway made me cry out. "Hey, I saw you go in, I called the cops." It was some guy, I don't know the other people who live around me. I am not a people person. I didn't respond, but his presence gave me courage. I shoved the door open and held my Taser at the ready, did I mention its pink, really makes those bad guys shake. The couple who lived there was in the room. They were all over the room really. My brain immediately turned this into a yo momma joke. Yo Momma's so fat she doesn’t sit in the room, she sits around the room. I giggled hysterically, probably because I was hysterical. It’s less funny when it’s brain matter and bone fragments imbedded into the walls. Much to my dismay this wasn’t a fucking joke. The Mom was crumpled on the floor beside her bed. There was a giant chunk missing from her head. I could see white matter inside her broken skull. Bone and blood had rained down on the bed. If I hadn't been me I would have hurled right then. I knew that it was a crime scene though, and not to be disturbed. But oh god, her eye was deflated on her cheek, the fluid inside leaking down her face. Her skin was very gray, not normal dead person gray, strange. A blanket half covered the rest of her.

The smell in the room led me to believe she had been sick. Medicine sat on the nightstand and there was a trashcan full of vomit next to her body. The guy, I think his name was J something Jeff, John, I don’t know. He had shot himself, but not before he had tried to cover her body, at least that’s what it looked like. He was a mess, I don't even know, my brain won't put it into words. It’s just... Teeth on the floor, his tongue hanging out, visible sinus cavities. I looked around then, startled. Someone was softly appealing to God “No, please, no?” It was even more surprising when I realized that person was me.

         I left them and went to the little girl. To my credit I didn’t run. The guy who had called the cops was sitting outside with her in his lap. She had urinated on herself. She was younger than my daughter, maybe 3. He was crying with his face in her hair. I extracted her from his arms. He was a real big sort of trucker guy, but with his face wet with tears he looked about as old as she did. I could tell that he knew they were dead, I think my expression gave it away. I took the little girl downstairs and sat her down in the grass. I wanted to make sure she was okay. I thankfully remembered her name. "Jessica, look at me", she looked up. Her skin was pale, her eyes blank, shock I’m sure. She stopped crying. No blood on her face, the spray thankfully hadn't hit her, maybe she hadn't seen. I prayed that she hadn’t seen it. I asked her to lie down, she looked almost okay except for her stomach, her shirt was plastered to her skin with drying blood.

         I peeled the shirt away, she whimpered but her eyes remained dry. There where ragged claw marks. It was nasty, but her insides where on the inside, the bleeding was pretty much done. I heard sirens. I picked her up; the front of my shirt was instantly damp with urine and blood. I held her until the cops came.

         I told them my account of that morning a few times. I went to the station and signed stuff, could have been a confession. I didn’t read, I couldn’t think. I went to the hospital and checked on Jessica. When she saw me she seemed to not recognize me. I held her hand while she lay in the hospital bed. I stayed 2 hours, when I tried to leave the clung to my hand. For a 3 year old she had a grip. So I stayed another hour, I left when social services came, she screamed for her daddy. She kept saying he needs a bandied, over and over. I cried then, I let myself sink against the hospital wall.

     My Mom works at the hospital. I guess they called her. She wasn't working when I got there, at least I think she wasn't. She drove me home. I didn't talk to her, she didn't press me, she knew better. She lead me inside my apartment and gave me a Valium. She sat with me until I guess I fell asleep. When I woke up my apartment was dim and a pill bottle was sitting on my coffee table. Mom had left me the meds. It was almost 6, the family would be home soon, I stayed on the couch. When they came in Amy ran to give me a kiss. I held her a little too tight I guess because she made an oof noise. “Cartoons daddy", she said and ran to our bedroom. Bill turned them on then came to sit with me. He had already heard most of it. Word travels fast in a small town. I filled in what he didn't know, and corrected a few rumors. He didn't have much to say about it, what could he say? My friends came over that afternoon as usual and we drank. I told my story one more time. They made disgusting jokes, really off color numbers, but we all laughed anyway.

          Anyway, here I am, maybe a little crazier than I was before, but things can only get better.