chapter iiMature

He came to in his TransAm.  The sun had gone down and darkness had settled over the city like it always did – which was to say, hardly at all.  The streetlights glowed like small stars and illuminated nearly everything.  Only the deepest reaches of the alley ways and the unoccupied windows could trap the shadows and keep them in place.  His TransAm was one such place, but even in the darkness he could see the crimson staining his hands and his stomach lurched.  It was then that he began to smell it – the stink of dried blood, the odor of decomposition.  Graeme wasn’t sure he could handle turning around to see what was in his backseat, but he knew he would have to eventually.

When he looked, he breathed a sigh of relief – one he regretted immediately as the stench overwhelmed him once again.  It was coming from the trunk, he realized, and felt even worse.

He found himself starting the ignition and putting the car into drive.  Somewhere in the recesses of his brain he had made note that it was unwise to pop open his trunk right outside of his condominium.  Such a foolhardy move could get him arrested before he even knew what was going on.  The stains on his hands turned black as he passed under streetlights. 

Graeme’s dashboard told him it was three in the morning.  His headache told him he needed painkillers.  His conscience told him he needed to see a priest.  First, he drove out to the abandoned factory district and hoped he was alone.  The ramshackle factories towered all around him, casting slanted shadows on the concrete.  He tried not to feel skittish but the shattered windows and boarded-up doors only left him feeling vulnerable and unsettled.  Convinced he’d seen shadows moving behind certain shards of glass, he drove deeper into the district and parked in the shadow of a large building with most of the windows intact and no discernible ghosts lurking in them.

His hands didn’t start shaking until they hovered over the trunk.  With a deep breath and a stern, Nut up, to himself, he lifted the trunk and stumbled back a few paces.  Where he had managed to choke back the roll of vomit that lingered in the back of his throat for the drive, he could no longer keep it contained.  He threw up like a volcano, hot and acidic and all over his shoes.  Eventually, the heaving turned into retching and he wiped his mouth on the back of his sleeve.  The realization that his sleeve was also covered in blood came too late, and he upchucked again but it was mostly bile. 

Rising onto unsteady feet, he stepped closer slowly, working himself up to each small movement forward.  It was with great reluctance that his eyes focused again on the contents of his trunk, and once they did he was horrified to discover that what he’d seen the first time was not an hallucination.

Body parts bled into the tan carpeting that lined the interior.  Terror seeped out of him like sweat, or maybe it was sweat.  He couldn't tell, not with the quiver that had taken over his appendages and left him feeling weak and tired and surreal.

There was so much blood.

The End

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