Monday, March 2, 2009

Maybe I Should Have Gone With The Android Romance...


Many thanks to
Writtenwyrdd for alerting me to this contest.

I never made it through to the top three, but did receive something of a mention, albeit a weeny one — not bad considering I don’t write sci-fi.

So, before it’s consigned to the zip archive twilight of my hard drive, here’s my entry...


The Briefcase

My journey home from work is always the same: a migraine kaleidoscope of greyed-out faces shaken in a deadbeat shuttle. But not tonight.

I never saw the guy sit down. One minute I’m checking my biostats, next I’m looking over the aisle at him, wondering why he’s staring at the empty briefcase on his lap. Maybe they’re rationing his Oxygen. Or maybe he’s just a weirdo. Whatever: he kinda fascinates me. So I stare out at the stars a while, keeping tabs on his reflection while the bozos squashed up next to me drawl into their voxcomms.

Then I see him stick out a finger. It’s like he’s pointing at something, but when I look, it’s just some fat chick plugged into the drinks machine. I figure maybe he’s gonna pick his nose — eeew.

That’s when it all starts.

He pulls his finger right off his hand and tosses it in the case. I tellya, I’m a Jesus H. Christ kinda guy, but I don’t say jack shit. Before I know it, he’s yanking this skinny arm right out of his sleeve and folding it up real careful in the corner of the case.

I turn to the bozos. You see that? But it’s like nothing’s happening, nothing at all.

A swishing sound lures me back to the guy. The briefcase looks like it’s slipping off his legs. He grabs it — but they ain’t fingers. Those stubby black piggies are toes, and they creep over the edge of the case like surveillance bots, dragging a bony leg behind them. The kid next to me looks straight over, but he don’t see a thing. Is he blind? The other leg’s shuffling out the end of the guy’s pants and crawling up the side of the seat and he don’t freakin’ see it? And the sickening crunch as the guy twists his goddamn head off — don’t no-one freakin’ hear it?

The head lands in the case with a thud, and the arm curls close around it. Everything stops and I’m hoping, maybe it’s over. The torso’s sat slumped in the seat like an amputee snuff movie extra. No way is it fitting in that case! And then I hear this gurgle — low and rumbly like a recyc drain — and the guy’s insides come pouring out the top of his neck. I see lungs but the rest is just guts: a coil of bloody intestines, looping round inside the case while the ribcage folds over and over till it’s the size of an antigrav boot. A finger hooks under the breastbone and tugs the squished torso inside. When the briefcase lid slams shut, the whole shuttle seems to shudder. I rub my eyes. Heh. My stop.

*

It’s 3am now and I’m sat here in my cabin with the briefcase on my lap. I know I got to open it, but I’m scared of what I’m gonna find.

Body parts, maybe I can handle. But what if there’s nothing inside?

9 comments:

Kiersten said...

This is GREAT, Whirl. How your brain works, I'll never understand, but I'm kind of glad. It would ruin the delight factor.

writtenwyrdd said...

You were a finalist! That's so COOL, Whirl!

I guess I should get back into the Opportunity Thursday posts then, huh. But why did you list yourself as W. Whirlochre for your name?

Whirlochre said...

With a real name like Floyd Sneepitypants, a guy's got to cover his tracks...

McKoala said...

Well, that was nicely gruesome! Excellent work, Whirl and congrats.

JaneyV said...

Congratulations on reaching the finals. I loved your story. It creeped me out - but in a good way.

I read it yesterday but when I tried to leave a comment all that showed up was a pile of symbols and numbers so I had to abandon my efforts. It was hours later that I realised the Numbers Lock was on. I didn't even know my laptop had one!

Anyhoo WELL DONE! Or as I tried to say yesterday 33 6!

sylvia said...

Wow, I love this. I have the shivers and I am curious as to what's in the briefcase but not quite enough to actually want him to open it.

This is great.

writtenwyrdd said...

Whirl, your blog page is grey text on grey background for me when I'm at work for some reason. Been like that for days. I have to wonder why, and I am beginning to suspect you must be allied with the Powers of Darkness or something...

Ello said...

EWWWWWWW that was intense and gross and awesome all at once! Aren't those the best kinds of stories?

At the end though, I thought he was afraid to open the briefcase because he would have to take his body apart also.

Whirlochre said...

Ello — yes, I was thinking along these lines too. Either the guy is utterly deluded due to Oxygen depravation of which he has ceased to be aware, or the briefcase is in fact a Holdall of Bane, feeding on all who open it.

As for your grey backgrounds, WW, I can only think you're experiencing one of those weird technical hitches that plague cyberspace from time to time.