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A Man Called Corpse

By Al Bruno III All Rights Reserved ©

Horror

A Man Called Corpse

There was no accident. Those things did it and they'll do it again. Even now I can still hear those scratchy little voices saying, “Meat. Meat.”

You know the story from the papers; cross country bus blows a tire and goes crashing into a ravine in the Arizona desert, thirty-seven dead or vanished and one survivor.

Some of you might think this is an appropriate punishment. At the time fleeing from New York to Los Angeles seemed like my only option. Did I think about Claire waiting at the altar in front of an audience of her family and friends? No, not at all.

It happened about an hour after we crossed the state line. What I remember is the bus swerving and pitching over. Everyone was thrown against the ceiling then back to the floor. We rolled seven times in all. I struck the roof of the bus head first, there was a loud crack that I felt and heard.

I'm not sure how long I was out, long enough for the bus to stop rolling but not much more than that. All around me people were sobbing and groaning, some were calling 911, the pale light from their cell phones casting an ugly glow over everything. The bus had landed on its side, a pair of seats had torn loose from the floor and I was pinned beneath them. Only my head and left arm were free but I couldn’t move them. I couldn’t even feel them. I was right beside a dead man, he was staring at me with a surprised expression. 

The things came crawling in through the shattered windshield. I thought they were children at first but the light of the cell phones revealed they were naked, gray skinned Things. The people near the front of the bus started screaming. Groups of the things surrounded each survivor and started chanting “Meat. Meat!” before dragging them away. Whenever those things came upon someone that had died they would prod and sniff at the body experimentally. Once were sure of it they would hiss “Corpse.” and move on.

Most of the survivors were too injured to move, those that did try to run or fight didn't make it far.

I knew what I had to do, I laid perfectly still in the blood and the broken glass with my eyes closed and my breathing shallow. Be dead. I thought to myself, Be dead.

“Meat! Meat!”

Corpse!”

I listened to them toy with the dead body beside me, lifting its head up and dropping it back down on the broken glass. “Corpse.” The thing sounded disappointed, “Corpse.”

Maybe you would have screamed by now. How long could you have held your breath? How long could you have laid still? There is no doubt in my mind that being hidden under a pile of twisted metal and fabric is one of the things that saved my life.

Just one of them.

The things began sniffing at me, their breath smelled of rot and reptiles. I imagined my skin prickling with revulsion. I was sure Those things would notice, I was sure that any moment They would take me like the others.

“Corpse?”

One of Them took an experimental bite out of my arm. I only noticed because of the warm spray that hit my face. There was the sound of thoughtful chewing.

Corpse.”

Then they left.

Where did Those Things take the survivors? And  why didn’t the police and paramedics find any footprints or drag marks in the desert sand?  The authorities are blaming coyotes but they’ve seen the teeth marks on me. No coyote leaves a wound like that. 

The police just won’t believe me. They roll their eyes and tell me I was unconscious and dreaming the whole time.

I’ve given up trying to make them listen. I just want to go home, I want to get out of this hospital and out of this state but the doctors say it isn’t safe to do that. They say I have a long recovery ahead before travel becomes an option. Internal decapitation is what they call it. When my head hit on the roof of the bus my spine separated from my skull. I’m paralyzed from the neck down, I can’t feel anything; not my legs or my arms, not even a bite on the shoulder. That’s what saved me.

My parents and brother are coming to see me. They couldn’t afford a flight from New York, we’re not wealthy people, so they’re driving here. Dad called a couple of times from the road to check in. He even called to let me know they when they were crossing the Arizona border.

Thing is I haven’t heard from them since, and that was two days ago.

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Shannon Rohrer: This is probably one of the most imaginative stories I've come across in a long time. You have hooking down to a fine art; every chapter has been as engaging as the one before it, the story unfurling in a way that is easy to follow and paced perfectly for each round of events or backstory. Lookin...

duggsy: This kept me intrigued, I only intended on reading 1 chapter but couldn't stop until I'd read the whole thing. The only let-down were a few spelling mistakes hence the 3 stars but otherwise a great read.

Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.

E_W_Hemmings: First of all, sorry this review took so long: I've had science mocks recently and then when I came to read this, I made notes to put in the review like I usually do... but then I deleted them. Well done me. As a result, this review is a bit more general than most reviews I write, but hey ho, let'...

Trahelion: While I started this tale hoping for an actual Anthropophagi monster story, I was quickly reminded that humanity is by far the most frightening beast. The reason being, we're real and there is not much we haven't done.Great work here, and at the end, I was expecting the lady narrating to be lying...

shadowmaven: At first, the word "Dagon" threw me, making me think that this was going to be a story based on one of Lovecraft's, and was pleasantly surprised--no, make that thrilled--when it wasn't (honestly, I like your mythos more). Your writing is so lyrical, deftly capturing this tiny village and the rela...

Deleted User: This is an artfully-written horror story which deals with the most frightening monsters in the entire history of the macabre: teenagers. Indeed, the author captures the speech, relationships, and general highly-charged, petty, and competitive atmosphere of high school so well, that you would swea...

Frank Pilato: I wanted to be sure to comment on this, as I did not read the whole story through, but I am impressed with you.....very impressed. ......................................................................................................................................................................

Kat Paul: I know you mentioned thinking of making this into the introductory chapter of a longer story... What you have so far definitely intrigues me! My favorite bit is the twist about poor Bergen giving the creature the inspiration for its identity. What would interest me the most in the rest of the s...

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