Few people notice the absence of Victor Lewis, an Urbex that targets one building a month, taking pictures and recording video. Two weeks ago, he targeted an abandoned mall, and told friends of his plans – only they made the connection to his plans and disappearance, and share it on a small local forum. As the rumors spread, more follow after Victor’s footsteps.
Mature | Death; Body mutilation; Body horror;
Wandering around the building doesn’t bring me any peace, but neither does going back around to check on their withering bodies laying in an ever expanding pool of blood. Their arms barely twitch, their eyes follow my approach and departure, and I can hear their sickly gasps for air and the spitting of their blood.
How could they still be alive?
In every pass I test them, to check if they are still alive. A single cut along the face is all I give them and I listen for them to make noise. None of them past the test – except for the teen with the beaten in face. He tries to talk, yells at me while the man that nearly killed him is tested. I can’t go near him, he might be healing and still has a death.
What is this even; an illness, a disease, what if I’m the one spreading it?
I should stop walking, sit somewhere and wait – but I just can’t. Who’s going to check up on the short man in the back of the kitchen with broken arms and a torn out throat; or the pair lying out with their faces and chests covered in stabs; or the ones laid out in the basement garage in the complete darkness? There’s only me.
The pair, the woman that stabbed me in the chest and the guy that held me down, they are the only two in the open part of the building, I can hear their sobs everywhere, cursing at me, threatening me, all while they can only lay in a pool of their blood and mine. They never stop, never. All night and all day they speak and shout, crying for help in between. What if someone from outside hears it? What if someone decides to come in and help, what if even more people come? They have to be put somewhere – somewhere quiet.
Approaching them has become easier, not movement wise but their wheezing and cursing doesn’t faze me anymore. They are just like the rest, only worse in their first reaction against me. What if I was still alive and not like this? They wouldn’t give a second guess, of course they wouldn’t, they jumped me and their first reaction was to stab until death. They are dangerous, were dangerous, but I am not a victim to them, I am not a dead body.
They both recognize what I’m going to do with them, protesting and cursing. Over and over they say ‘no!’ and ‘get the fuck off me!’ and other phrases I just tune out. I must make them bleed, make them harmless so they won’t hurt me or make it harder to move them.
I pull the knife out of the hole in my arm and proceed.
Kneeling down on the man’s arm keeps it close so his hand can be worked over, stabbing the palm when he tries to struggle or even try to pull it away. Each little joint in his hand is severed, and each carving makes him yell, makes him curse, makes him cry. I am not done – in no way am I done. Once the fifteen little slices are made I cut across his wrist and pass on to his elbow and stab between the bones over and over until the hand just lies still, muscles twitching but there’s no way to move. It’s perfect.
I move onto his other hand and hold his wrist tight, slicing the knife through his hand until the five fingers start from the wrist. He’s begging me to stop but I never will, and I slice through the bottom of each fingers and stab through his elbow. When I am done carving his arms he only lies on the floor sobbing, begging for death. The woman goes between cursing at me and trying to calm down the guy that can only stare above him. She’s next – I want to try something else.
The guy didn’t fight back as much as her; she tried to punch me. Knife still beats flesh and wrestle for control of her hand, slicing through to the bone and ripping the knife down again and again. A long gash goes from her palm to her armpit and that’s where I slash deeper until it also can’t move any more. I carve around her other arm, making a hoop around and around, stabbing the knife before each circle was cut out. She wails, she screams, the guy is trying to calm her and goes to kicking at me – the only limbs he has control over. It stops eventually and seize them, I cut his knees until they don’t move – I do the same to the girl.
Cries and pleads slow when I take time to stand and stick the knife back into the hole on my arm. Their fresh blood goes from my hands to the stale stains on my pants, looking down at each of them while I am bent over, thinking. Where should I store them?
There are plenty open stores I can put them, or even shove them away for a while, no matter where I’d have to drag them over the broken glass. I take the man’s arms first and start to pull. He’s yelling at me, crying that his arms are tearing and that they’ll fall off. If they do, I can just drag him by the legs, they are still cleanly attached, right?
I easily step over the glass and over the shards sticking up from the rim of the broken display window. He has more trouble, he shrieks and yells while I drag him very slowly, keeping myself always balanced. Glass shards scrape his back and the jagged pieces break off in his back – I only know this because he’s screaming about it. Right into the darkness we both go, the girl shouting the guy’s name – I refuse to listen, she’ll be with him soon anyway; just not in death.
Why bother navigating around in the dark when they can’t see, bumping around dusty furniture and through a door I had struggled to open. But here we go, right in the corner. He’s begging to see the woman and wants to know if she’s all right. I force bubbles through my throat, letting air pass into my lungs. “Soooon,” escapes in a little hoarse sound, barely audible to even me, then I am gone, limping back to the girl.
“No, get away from me!” she screams, “oh god, help me.”
“Nooooo,” I manage to gurgle before puking blood on my way over to her, and when I stand in front of her motionless legs and bend down, “goooooood.” And I grab her legs and start dragging her over. I can only hear her constant screaming, the man’s wheezing unheard until I step past the broken display window and pull the woman over, dragging her over a large broken piece.
“Kate? Oh god, Kate where are you!” He’s screaming.
“Help B!” the woman sobs and I yank her leg. The large shard breaks off into her back, she stops screaming after that. She’s not dead; she’s still breathing.
“Kate? Kate! I’ll fucking kill you… fucking swamp zombie!” He’s running out of insults. I arrive at the doorway and pull the woman in, letting her lay in front of the door. And I shut the door. The yelling cuts off when the door closes and the silence envelops the darkness again. Why was it like that? I don’t know, but all is silent again, and I am glad.
Now I need to make my rounds of everyone else. Stepping out of the broken shop sets me in front of the circle of their blood, large enough to almost touch the opposing stores and with almost a perfect sphere. Never mind. There are people I need to test. The small man in another store is the first one I test, dragging the knife across his face, listening to the whimpering, waiting for the knife to go from one ear to the next. I feel his jaw shaking, liquid pour over them. What would it be like to burst an eye?
I let him breath when my ‘test’ is done, expecting me to leave him in the darkness again, but no, I will not leave. My left hand holds his jaw stiff and pushes his head against the storage unit he lays against. I hear him gulp.
“Wha, what are you doing,” he breathes out, breathlessly, my hand is pushing against his throat. I trace the knife careful down the path it just made; dragging it across the bone and feeling with it the form of his face. He’s breathing, heavy, whining, “no no no no no,” he repeats while the knife draws around his forehead and nose, resting in a groove. There it is.
And press. Deeper. Feel the collapse and the gushing of fluids over hands, the trembling of a held jaw, ignore the scream and cry. Gorge the hole until there is no liquid left. My hand falls off his face and the knife sticks back into my arm. Off to the next to be tested, the ones down below, their cries echoing in the basement but above is the silence. I am glad.
The blood, where the pair knocked me down and stabbed me, where they were stabbed in return and dragged away, was dragging towards where I hid time in the darkness. How? It doesn’t matter, it’d still be there when people come in – if they come in. I have to do something about the locks, about the bay door held open by the one stubborn brick. I limp into the darkness of what was once a small café, past the chairs shoved off to one side and press hard against the door.
It doesn’t budge. Wasn’t this where they came in? Or was it the door over.
I drag myself to the store next door and lean against the door, push down the handle, and shove. Nothing. I pull the handle up and yank the door – it doesn’t move. Maybe they came from one of the other store husks? So I drag myself to the other cavities along the side, pulling and pushing on every door that I partly know leads to the bay door. Nothing, they are all stiff. Now I don’t have to worry about people coming in, or is there someone locking all of them that I haven’t yet found? Never mind, as long as no one else comes in it’s fine. I must find the straggler and silence them – no one must find this place and leave.
The smear of blood drains away from the spot, half the size it was before and shrinking. I have to pass it to get to the others, or else I don’t know if one of them got out of this place. My dragging steps cut across the blood, letting the tile below exposed and I watch it, stare as the blood covers it again and still shrinks from the spot. How is it happening?
A crackle of falling chairs gets my attention, a hovering flashlight illuminating the back area of the small café. How did it get in? The person is pushing the chairs back up while the flashlight rolls on a table. “Shit, I need to be careful,” the person whispers, I can’t hear if it’s a girl or boy, but I already make my approach and drag the knife out of my arm. “Jesus, this place is so fucking dusty,” the person coughs and takes up the flashlight. “So far, not a great place for a party,” the person, a she from her voice as I came closer. I step on glass, she snaps the flashlight over to me. “Oh god!”
She begins to flee and grabs the door and pulls – it doesn’t budge. “Come on you piece of – “ she looks back to me, the flashlight hit my eyes and the knife that I wipe with my other hand. “Get back!” She falls down, her coat dark and fluffy, close to the one that owned the car, she knows something.
“Whoooo,” the knife hangs and blood from the hole I dig it in drips over my fingers, “aaareee” I swallow back bubbling blood, “youuuu?”
She’s mute as she stares at the knife, mute with trembling lips, the flashlight illuminating her face, liquid pours down her cheeks. The features of her face are in knots, tense with a frame of tears. She wants to escape, to tell the world of this place and I’ll never have my peace. “Oh god don’t!” her hands are over her face, knife slices through them in an instant. I slash at her, aim for her eyes, aim for her mouth, aim for her face – then she can tell no one of this place. Her screams go everywhere, bounce off the walls, no doubt heard by the others held up in their darkness. She’ll have hers soon, then she’d be quiet. I cut. I gorge. I slash. I twist the knife within her neck to share the hole in mine. My pain is now hers, and I want to show her my death.
She bubbles on the ground, blood dripping down her face in hands made of ribbons. Tears aren’t enough here, bleeding is the only way to dull it, and it hides in the deep shadows. I must show her, carry her, take her up the stairs, lay her down in the middle of darkness. So it is done, scooping her up in my arms, forcing her to be still with the knife through her chest until she gives in. I miss Sarah, this is how I held her the day we wed, I want to hold her again.
But this girl will do.
She is the first one to lie alone on the second floor, dropped behind clothing racks. She’s crying – of course she is crying alone in the dark. That’s what death is, an incomplete darkness and no way to get out. She’ll know this, maybe she’ll appreciate what I am doing? I have no idea, and I don’t feel like walking down the stairs – so I fall over the rail and crack my skull.
I don’t black out, I never do nor do I need sleep or food. I have no idea what I am running on. Blood. I got plenty of it and the bleeding never ends. Maybe because I bleed I still live, or that the bleeding is keeping me alive? I watch the migrating blood moving in swirls, rippling across the floor. It’s amazing, following the bodies to where they lie bleeding.
It’s the only natural beauty in this place. It stands out among the dust and decay, the red amongst the brown and black, rippling across the floor like a tide going in and out. It reminds me of the beach – I should go to the beach with Sarah and the kids, when all of this is over.