Curt has sent us another story! It’s a bit different from his last one (Rag), but it is EXCELLENT! It’s psychotic and sociopathic on a level that makes me feel downright normal. Sigh. I haven’t felt normal in years. Anyway! Read it below! It’s not too long, so you can read the whole thing today! Enjoy your Sunday, and let this give you some reassurance that no matter how bad your Monday is, it could always be worse.
It is cold and growing colder as the world slowly dies. No animals have survived and all the crops are long gone.
He stands at the window, looking out over the gray landscape as the memory of the sun, shrouded by the ever-present clouds, disappears into the ocean.
His face in the window reflected is clean shaven, his hair close cropped, his clothes thick against the constant chill.
He’d been a doctor once. He’d tended the sick and stricken—a proud man, and worthy. And then the world changed.
He shrugs on his lab coat. He follows a long stairway down and comes to a door. He touches a secret place in the wall. Heavy bolts clank somewhere inside the masonry. The door opens with a faint pop as the hermetic seal is broken. A single florescent bulb blinks into life.
Table after table stretches into the dark: humans under sheets, women by the shapes and heads of them. Wires and tubing trailing to medical machinery stripped down to its barest essentials. No lights wink out of the darkness, no reassuring beep beep marking the human heart. What little power is used comes from a solar unit concealed on the room far, far above. The sound of their breath is like the distant sough of waves along a beach. Nothing moves. Every woman sleeps deep with induced coma.
He lifts the blanket of the nearest and checks her belly. Confirming she is still months away from delivery, he moves to another and repeats the procedure. He moves among them, checking pulses, fiddling with IVs, changing diapers and sheets.
At one, he removes his clothing and mounts her. His sex is cold. He just manages to get hard enough to stick it in. When all the thrusting and grunting is over, he cleans himself and her, dresses, and continues his rounds.
This one’s belly is round and moves with the child inside. Another quivers and contracts as his hand touches the smooth, hot skin. She is early. He prepares the equipment.
The birth is painless—or the pain, like the sex, is distant, sensed in a dream. Besides, she will never wake, so perhaps the pain isn’t real, he muses, snapping himself back to the present as the infant (a boy, too bad) screams into the dead world.
He cuts the umbilical cord and carries the wriggling infant to a bucket of water and drops it in. And waits.
The still silence is slow to return.
He reaches in and pulls the dripping body from the tub, dries it in a blanket, and then carries it upstairs.
This room may once have been a kitchen. It may have been an operating room. It may once have been an immaculate white. Now it is filthy.
Using a scalpel, he dismembers the tiny corpse, removing first the arms and then the legs. Such consummate skill. He’d been a doctor once.
He puts the meat in the stingy flame of a Bunsen burner. It pops and sizzles. He puts it in his mouth. He chews slowly, thinking. He is careful never to be a glutton. He is an exemplar of moderation. Despite his care, he is hungry, very hungry. Too many of the women have died. He hadn’t counted on that.
He looks at one of the tanks containing the intravenous fluid sustaining the women below and shudders, remembering the chill as it had coursed through his veins that one time. He takes another bite and smiles, savoring the texture and array of tastes spreading across his tongue. As he chews, he stares out the window at the gray and brown landscape. No more lights. No movement but the wind. It is cold, and growing colder. Out there, somewhere, the very rich huddle in underground shelters, waiting. Others, such as the doctor, make do the best they can, surviving.
He swallows and puts another sliver of meat in the flame.
(This story brought to you by The Meat Council.)
Well, wasn’t that festive?? I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! See you tomorrow, Monday, for another PhroMetal story!