By Dave Anderson, Featured Author
Todd Hauser’s mind
was tilting toward madness. The last clear
memory was of his lover’s ex-husband brandishing a gun at him
and taunting him that he had “killed the bitch.” At first, when he had turned
around to face the familiar voice calling his name, he hadn’t expected to
see a gun. It wasn’t revealed until the sun shone through the window
of Landers Mall from behind the gunman that he knew what it was. The
sun rimmed the silver, which, for a second, took away the severity of the
thing. He gulped, feeling an intrusion—invented by his mind—in his throat.
The jilted party
had driven him out to the Mojave Desert, leaving
him a couple bottles of water and a portable radio transmitter as a joke; he
had also poked holes in the bottoms of the water bottles.
Now, six hours in,
the sun hung over the desert, skewering his
eyeballs like hot pokers—enough that he used his left hand like a visor. He’d
be dead from heat stroke in another three hours. He just sat in the
sand in his suit, dress shirt open to expose the white,
sweat-drenched tee-shirt outlining his hairy chest.
There was no point in
moving, just miles and miles of sand.
The Mojave was bordered by the Great Basin to its north and
the Sonora to its south and east. Even if he had headed west it would
take three hours to find a road. He sat there, one leg extended and the other
tucked under it. His body had gone from pink through various
reds, based on which areas got the most exposure; he was blistering and
peeling in the redder areas, which were starting to purple. His
chic auburn hair was bleaching.
Hauser knew he was
losing his mind when he saw the rotting
corpse of Teddy, his infant brother, at his feet. His identical
twin’s forehead was split open, revealing green membrane oozing from
crevices in his skull. His nose was eroded to red cartilage on
top of the yellow holes which used to be his nostrils. His left
eye, still intact, stared up at Todd blindly; the right
was an empty socket, from which brown spongy material leaked, running down
and forming a V on his cheek. His brother’s tiny corpse suddenly
opened its mouth and wailed, “You sucked the life out of me, parasite!” The
exposed bones and tendons in the translucent neck moved as he spoke.
and the apparition faded.
Almost three hours
passed. He had plenty of time to reflect on his
self-indulgent life, perfect until his present
misfortune—Bottega Veneta tuxedos, girlfriends galore, and the best
bodyguards money could buy. He missed his murdered lover and plush
apartment, its walls embossed with tiny red ensigns.
The radio transmitter
crackled to life; he wondered how it
could pick up signals outside the desert. Suddenly, he recognized the
voice of his best friend, Gomez Mundey. “I’m coming for you, but it’ll
take me at least a day.”
have a day. Then a ghastly thought came to him—at
times like this people resort to drastic measures to survive—and the only way
he’d live was by staying hydrated. He had no liquid resource except
his blood! He was going to do it: amputate his left leg, or part of it, and
drink his own blood. There’d be enough to keep him hydrated until rescue.
He picked up the
radio and struck below his left kneecap.
It opened a gash about two inches in diameter, running horizontal along
the shin and about eight inches deep; he was able to stick his left index
finger in, up to where it bent. As he shoved his finger further to enlarge
the hole he screamed in gooey globs of lunacy; strands of saliva formed
and broke in the back of his mouth. The pain was unbearable. The wet sound
of tearing flesh reminded him of ripping open a bologna
He hit the appendage
several times more, until there was a thud and part
of his leg lay on the ground, leaving behind a bloody stump and
a deep-seated itch. The blood that poured out was thick and looked
like bent red straws. He sipped, the taste and the sound of the rescue
helicopter equally ironic.
David Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org,
of Ontario Canada, who wrote BP #79’s featured works,
“Feral Rage,” “For Sale,” and “Last Leg,” is an avid writer of horror and gore.
With an extensive writing background, he currently works as a freelance
reporter for a couple of newspapers.