Amsterdam - A Short Horror story
“Please don’t go.” Raz begged her.
But it was no good, she had to go home. Neve was just about to board her train to the airport.
“I’m sorry I have to. But I’ll be back soon.” She promised.
He gave her a kiss. The kiss she’d waited for since meeting him. The kiss she’d been waiting for her whole life. As the doors closed, a tear welled in her eye. She waved goodbye to him on the platform, promising herself she would return soon.
“Cheer up. You’ll be back in no time.” Sally promised.
“Or, maybe he could come over and visit you?” Beth suggested as they took their seats on the double-decker train.
Neve couldn’t believe it. The first guy she’d met that she liked, who also liked her back. And now, the first guy she’d ever kissed. And she had to leave him, just to go back home.
The three friends had travelled to Amsterdam as a treat for completing their first year at university. Their two weeks in the city had meant to be about the culture. They had planned on seeing the museums and galleries, and maybe even one or two of the more interesting attractions.
The girls hadn’t expected meeting Raz, and Neve certainly hadn’t expected getting swept off her feet. Oh why did he have to leave it so long until he made his move?
As he was the true gentleman, Sally had pointed out that waiting to kiss her until she boarded the train was actually very romantic.
Neve just knew they would be in contact as soon as she landed. Facebook, Skype, texting… It was so easy nowadays, and Amsterdam really wasn’t that far.
The trip back must really have wiped the girls out. Rarely did they sleep in until after lunchtime. But then, with the train, plane, another train and finally a bus, including all of their waiting times in between, it was a longer trip home than they had expected. And it was very late when they finally got home.
“You want coffee Neve?” Beth shouted through her door.
“Yes please!” Neve shouted back.
Not only was she tired, but she wasn’t feeling well either.
On leaving her bedroom she would have scared anyone. Her hair was a back-combed mess, make-up smudged across her face and to top it off, her pyjamas were even buttoned up skew-whiff.
“Oh my god!” Sally proclaimed as Neve joined the girls in the kitchen.
“Hey, I don’t look that bad!”
“No it’s not the hair. Look at your face!” Sally said leading her straight through into the bathroom.
It didn’t look like her reflection staring back in the mirror. Yes, the hair was unforgivable, but it was her face that had caused Sally’s concern.
There was a deep red rash over Neve’s lips.
“What is that?” She worried.
“New makeup? Maybe you’re allergic? Sally asked.
“No. Just my usual. You know, I don’t feel that great either.”
Throughout the course of the day, Neve could feel the rash tingling. She didn’t know if this was psychosomatic or actually as a side effect of the rash. She went to bed early, promising herself to get checked out if it hadn’t cleared up by the following day.
The following morning, Beth and Sally’s breakfast was interrupted by a shriek coming from the bathroom. Really not knowing what the cause of such a noise was, they both ran through.
“Neve, are you OK?” They both pounded on the locked door.
“What’s wrong? Can we come in?” They repeated.
“Oh my god, I’m calling an ambulance.” Beth said as the blood drained from her face in a wave of nausea.
Stood with tears streaming down her face, Neve looked terrible.
The small rash of yesterday had taken over her face. Her lower jaw was just one big red mess. Small pockets of darker skin could be seen under the flaking skin. It looked sore, inflamed and above all else, extremely painful. Her eyes were bloodshot, which could have been from the rash or from the extent to which she had been crying.
“No. No ambulance, but can you book me an emergency appointment with the doctor?” She sobbed.
“Sure, I’ll drive you down.”
“I’m sorry Neve, but I just don’t know what it is.” Dr Campbell apologised.
“Can you get rid of it? She sobbed.
“I hope so. I want to take a biopsy to determine exactly what we are dealing with, but in the meantime these antibiotics should reduce the inflammation. Also, if you can manage it, this cream should sooth the burning.” He said as he wrote her prescription.
Her face was stinging so much; she didn’t feel it when he took a small sample of her skin to test.
“Take it easy. I’d recommend complete bed rest. Don’t go out, at least until we know what it is. I’ll be in touch over the next few days.” He said, before she left the on-campus doctors surgery.
The girls were both waiting for her outside. They had a million questions for her, but with her head spinning, Neve just wanted to lie down.
What is it? Where did it come from? Is it something you ate? Is it contagious?
Too many questions, she thought, crying as she sat in the back of the car for the drive home.
Although she didn’t feel it that afternoon, Neve knew she was lucky. The girls had really rallied around to look after her. Making sure she had everything she needed; bringing her soup, painkillers and magazines. She didn’t know how she would have coped without them.
The girls must have left for university. There was no chance Neve would have made it to her class, the way she still felt. Hopefully just a couple of days bed rest and the antibiotics would take over and sort her out.
“Ding Dong.” This time with an accompanied tap tap tap on the frosted glass.
Neve dragged herself out of bed to answer the door. As she made her way down the hall, she could see two silhouettes standing outside. She momentarily reconsidered answering the door until she heard her name called from one of the two men.
“Neve, can we come in, it’s important.” Said the familiar voice.
“I’m sorry Neve, but under the circumstances I had no choice but to call the police. PC Collins was insistent on joining me.” Said her doctor.
“I don’t understand. Why?” She sobbed.
Seeing the policeman wince as she spoke, Neve assumed that her face looked even worse than it had the day before.
“You see, the problem is…” Collins piped up. “…This disease you have, ‘Necro-watsits.”
“Necrtizing Fasciitiscan.” Dr Campbell corrected.
“…Well, as we’ve been informed, can only be caught from contact with the dead.” Collins went on.
“I don’t understand.” She cried. The tears streaming down her face did nothing to sooth her rash.
“Unfortunately, after rushing through your test results, we’ve found and extremely rare strain of Necrtizing Fasciitisca. The problem is, Neve, that this can only be contracted from skin to skin contact with a corpse.”
“You think I….” Neve couldn’t finish what she was saying.
Making it over just in time to reach the waste bin, she threw up what little left she had in her stomach. Sobbing as she did so, the policeman and doctor looked at each other, and then back to Neve.
“No. no, we don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. But we still need to get to the bottom of how you caught it. We need to confirm if a crime has been committed or not.” The policeman said.
Back in Amsterdam, Raz was contemplating contacting Neve again. He’d been in touch with her the day she landed back in Manchester, but he’d not heard anything since. Was it worth trying a little harder? Making sure they stayed in touch?
Although he’d suggested going over to see her, he didn’t really think that would be viable. She had also offered to come back to see him, which would obviously be the preferred choice.
He liked her alright, but was she worth it?
It didn’t take too long for Beth and Sally to make their way back home. Both of their lectures had been interrupted to join Neve. Although they weren’t part of the questioning, it seemed they could offer support to Neve in her sorry state.
“Hi girls, I’m PC Collins. Now it seems that you’re friend here has caught something extremely nasty and we just need to get to the bottom of where it came from.”
“Well, we’ve just come back from Amsterdam...” Sally said.
“OK.” PC Collins said, rolling his eyes.
The amount of stories he’d heard regarding sexually transmitted diseases, and associated crimes coming from that city was enough to never let brits go back. How UK tourists ever made it back through border control was beyond him.
The doctor had left them to it after providing Neve with an additional set of pills that he promised would help.
“So, what I’ll need is a list of men you slept with over there. I’m assuming its men. You too.” He asked, looking first at Neve and then at Sally and Beth.
“But we didn’t sleep with anyone. None of us did.” Beth promised.
This time PC Collins raised his eyebrows. Could he really be expected to believe that.
“We went to see a show, you know… a sex show, but we didn’t touch anything, or anyone.” Sally added.
“You really didn’t have sex with anyone?” He asked surprised.
“No. Honestly. The closest any of us got was Neve’s farewell kiss as we left for the airport.” Sally offered.
It couldn’t have been Raz. He was the perfect gentleman! Anyway, they hadn’t done anything like that together; just one little, but amazing, kiss. But it was real. They had fallen for each other, Neve thought.
“There must be another explanation for this. She cried.
“Well, maybe there is. But I’m going to need his details anyway, just to make sure. I think that will do for today. If you think of anything else in the meantime here’s my card… And if you could just jot down Raz’s information that will be all.” He said.
Could it really have been Raz? Neve stood staring at herself in the mirror. It wasn’t her reflection anymore. Just the deformed mess of a once pretty face.
Her skin hadn’t stopped burning since the rash began. The black marks, bruises, or whatever the hell they were, were getting bigger. On the inside of her mouth there were more ulcers than healthy skin and jaw. As low as her neck and now almost reaching her eyes, the size and scale of the rash was frightening. Neve prayed that these new pills from Dr Collins would do the trick and help her get better.
Collins had been the lead officer, along with his colleague PC Drake, sent to
Amsterdam to investigate. They had followed up on the lead, and there was
enough cause for concern for them to meet with the local Amstelland police
force. Through sharing information they were able to work together to help
locate Raz, who was now their one and only reasonable source of the rash.
Raz was an Israeli national that had lived in Amsterdam for at least six months. Although he hadn’t given Neve his actual address – presumably for his own protection – they were able to find a possible location on him, due to following a number of leads across his social media.
PCs Collins and Drake didn’t really know what to expect when they joined the Dutch officers at Raz’s last known whereabouts. Collins shouldn’t have even been there. It certainly wasn’t protocol for a foreign officer to accompany the local force in the city, however after seeing what had happened to Neve, the British policeman insisted.
Neve woke up with the most painful of headaches. Rolling over in her bed, she was shocked to find her pillow stained with blood. She burst into a fit of tears before even reaching the dreaded bathroom mirror.
It was all over. It felt to Neve that her life was completely ruined, and she wished it was over. Her unrecognisable reflection nothing more than an evil stranger.
The skin around her mouth had become numb. The familiar tingling that had stuck around all week had passed away, without a trace of sensitivity or feeling to take its place.
Studying herself from through the glass, she couldn’t help but touch her lip. What was left of her lower lip was now black. Ever so gently peeling it down to examine her lower jaw, an inch long sliver of burnt skin flaked off in her hand. The horror of seeing her own face dissolve at her touch was too much to take.
Induced by pain and confusion, Neve collapsed in shock at the sight of herself. Cracking her head off the enamelled bath, she would be grateful for the distraction at otherwise looking at herself.
Raz could hear them upstairs. He’d covered all of his tracks. He made sure not to give out his address until it was certain. He was very careful, however he wasn’t stupid. Even though he’d made sure everything was protected, he knew there would always be a chance of getting caught.
His longstanding rhetorical question had to finally be answered. To run or not?
Upstairs, PC Skyler Van Der Berg banged on the door. He had enough backup to have the property surrounded. He would have preferred to barge straight in, battering ram and the works, but decided to give this kid a chance. Just in case.
It didn’t look good for him though. In the 48 hours since the Brits had shared information and then shown up, a lot of conjecture slowly turned into circumstantial evidence. However, there was only so much evidence that could be overlooked before claims needed to be investigated and action had to be taken.
“Right, we’re in.” He shouted to his force, after his momentary wait had expired.
Van Der Berg and Collins headed straight down to the basement as the remaining officers fanned out across the house. No corner should ever go unturned, even though they almost always hid in the basement.
Another bang on the basement door, this time without waiting and Van Der Berg barged straight in.
The smell was horrific. Enough to send them both stumbling backwards, gasping for air.
Looking around the dank room, the bodies of four women were laid out on mattresses across the floor. Each corpse decomposed a little more than the last, with the final body being unrecognisable.
In the small dark room, they had caught their man. Or, what was left of him.
With knife in hand, Raz lay bleeding to death, blood gushing from the deep wound to his neck.
Neve woke up in the ambulance with both Sally and Beth by her side. Even with tears streaming down both of their faces, Neve thought how beautiful it was to see them.
“Don’t worry Neve.” The doctor said. “… We’ll have you fixed up in no time.”