the Dead Need Somewhere to Live
by Jon Park
is thirty-four years old. A
terminal bachelor, he lives in a two-bedroom apartment in the centre of
Gateshead, just up from the new Tesco’s. Jimmy isn’t a people person. A
professional loner, he avoids them as much as possible. Or, at least that is,
You see, Jimmy
has a special gift. He can see
dead people. Just like that kid in the
movie. Dead people, like dead naked Terry, who lies all day, every day, in
Jimmy’s bathtub. Foul brown water covering his pale, bloated body. Whenever
Jimmy comes to the bathroom, Terry
will sit up, arms resting on the side of the bath and ask the same question.
the weather like out, Jimmy?”
pissing it down, Terry. Literally
bouncing off the payments.”
“I knew it,”
Terry shrieks with delight,
splashing his hands down into the fetid water. “I can feel it in my bones, you
know. They never fail me.” Terry, as if to demonstrate this talent, proceeds to
hold his arms over the edge of the bath. Skin and flesh drips from them like
wax down a burning candle.
Jimmy enters his
kitchen. Here we find Old
Man Frank, sat at a small table. Frank’s head is tilted back so the deep slash
that has opened his throat is visible. A flap of bloody flesh dangles down onto
a cuppa, Frank?” Jimmy asks, as
he flicks on the kettle.
son,” Frank wheezes through the
hole in his throat. “That would be smashing.”
Jimmy makes two
cups of tea and joins Frank
at the table.
spare bedroom, sprawled across
the double bed, we find Dianne and Paul. Young lovers locked in an eternal
embrace. Jimmy likes to come here and play with Dianne’s long blonde hair.
Styling it, so it hides the hole smashed into the back of her skull.
At night, Jimmy likes
to lie with them,
pressing himself into Dianne’s back. She
never objects, and sometimes he can feel her pushing back.
is Barry. He sits in the ironically
named living room. Wearing a pair of blood-stained overalls, his massive frame squeezed
into an armchair.
likes to sit with him, and together they watch movies. Barry’s viewing of the
television doesn’t appear to be inhibited at all by the handle of the large screwdriver
that protrudes from the center of his forehead.
It had surprised Jimmy how
little effort it
had taken to plant the screwdriver there. And the blood. It had sprayed
Jimmy checks his watch. He
knows Terry is on
the turn. He needs replacing.
on his coat, Jimmy checks the pocket. He can feel the reassuring outline of the
knife. Satisfied, he leaves his apartment to seek Terry’s replacement.
Mary is Jimmy’s next
door neighbor. Mary has
a special gift, too. The gift of smell. It was Mary who called the cops.
Jon Park lives in
Gateshead in the North East of England.
After several years playing guitar in a local band, he turned to writing, and
with encouragement from his daughters Emily and Charlotte, and his partner
Tracey, he started to release them into the world.