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Self Contained

By Cya Shahan Foust All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Horror

Blurb

Ava Williamson is a vulture. She collects bones, breaks into morgues and visits cemeteries. All for the sake of her art, she films and photographs the bodies she finds and marvels at the process of decay. She seeks comfort in death and the silent companions it brings. Jack Morrison is dead, he is a corpse who refuses to let go and spends his strange afterlife searching for answers. Both of them try to uncover the truth of his death but only find themselves falling farther from the truth.

One

Film that scene. Again. Again. Recreate it, new camera angle, Again. Again. Again. New lens, again. Do it again. Do it over. One more time. Do it again. Again. Again. Grip the handle, slide the camera. Make a nice scene. Fuck. Damn it. I fucked it up again. and again. and again. Fuck. This time I’ll get it right, film it again. Again. Again. The product of an unstable mind destroys any chance of normality. Yet here we are again. The scene has to be done right, but the body decays too quickly.

Film it again until it’s done right yet it won’t be. The scene is to exposed. The scene is too dark. There’s too much noise. The film is grainy. The hand wall is grainy. The hand wall is there for a purpose. My roommate Maxion took those photos. All 217 of them. All of them taped with scotch tape on the brick wall. All of them numbered and all of them of the same hands. They belonged to a man who died. I stole them, not for awhile, I just, you could say borrowed them for a bit. I returned them, once they had decayed, to the original owner back on the skeleton they belonged too. He was a hitchhiker, nothing to serious, fell off a cliff and died. No one reported that they found his body, because everyone thought he was still missing.

My ex girlfriend Lana showed me him, she also showed held me down in the culture of decay. The obsession with death. Lana’s long black hair was tied up, sweat on her forehead and she stared at the week old body. His eyes were blank and they stared straight up at couple. He was starting to swell and already smelt strange, the same smell that I was used too and the same smell she enjoyed. Lana smiled at me, her smirk was proof that the dead body cemented the start of an obsession, one that she couldn’t get to fully see. Lana had broken it off a year ago. Two years after finding the dead hiker. We had left him there, let nature take its course. I returned the hands and Maxion questioned where I got them and I replied some local halloween shop. That was a lie. Maxion knew of my strange obsession with the dead and he assumed it was nothing more than taxidermy and collecting bones on the side of the road. He didn’t know about the bodies, the human ones I became so fond of. The hiker brought me into the strange world of death and I stayed there enjoying the thought of the afterlife.

Lana was no longer in my life. She showed up in my room at 2:13 a.m, I remember it perfectly because I was halfway through reading a chapter in an anatomy book I found in goodwill. It was very outdated but I found it interesting to see how the mind back then thought of how the human body worked. She told me something came up and her life was the first priority. Her girlfriend, which was me, came second. Lana had tears in her eyes and I thought maybe whatever it was we could have worked it out, or at least talked about it. She never told me what it was and kissed me with the utmost passion of a fiery forbidden romance. That kiss was the best thing in my life and the most emotional that I ever got from her. She left apparently, the next day. Took her dad’s car and a ton of cash, she was gone.

“So I says, that was my saltine cracker.” I heard the tale end of Maxion as he came in the door with our third roommate. Her name was Liza. She didn’t really speak much and normally seemed to be the one to bring back some skull or bones for my collection. Liza was tall, thin and gangly. She had short hair that stood on it’s ends and normally kept it a dark pink.

“Hey, Ava, where you at?” Maxion’s voice called.

“The porch where else?” I replied, not bothering to look up from my camera. I was replaying the shots I just did, most of them were over exposed or had a blue tinge to it. Ah whatever, it would be a quick fix in post.

“So plans for the night?” Liza came in, leaning against the door frame. Her already tall structure was added to due to the platforms she wore.

“Probably robbing a grave.” I smirk.

She shook her head, “Don’t fuck the corpse.”

I snorted, “Yeah I’m that kind of girl.” I roll my eyes.

I had stayed up most of the evening to edit the project, by then it was a little after midnight. I was planning on calling it a day before my phone went off. It was a text from Lana. I haven’t heard or seen from her in two years. I checked the message:

Meet me at the old morgue by st. cloud’s. Heard something might be worth seeing.

The old morgue, you mean the one by the ‘abandoned girl’s school’ morgue?

No shit. That one. Any other St. Cloud?

No but since when are you in town?

Since now. Heard stories of the previous owner not getting rid of the bodies, said he stuffed the coffins with mannequins and sand bags.

So that means????

Dead bodies everywhere. Check this shit out now you pansy.

Pansy was the ever affectionate nick-name she gave me, it was to insult me but in a playful manner. Lana was a tough girl who showed tough love. Insults and scoffing were ways of wooing a girl. Which is what got me. I sighed, put on my hat, grabbed a backpack with some things I might need and left. I told my roomies that I was going out to get beer and I’d be back later. They only waved from their game as I left.

“Aye! You fucking little shit don’t do that!” Maxion shouted only to Liza’s laughter.

“Kiss my ass you loser.” Was the last thing I heard before leaving with a smile on my face.

Mario Kart wasn’t something to mess with in this household.

I had caught a bus to the closest location to school. The school was in the outskirts of town, about twenty some minutes away. Along the ride I decided to do some quick research on my phone of the place. Wikipedia at its finest. The area was at one point a small town consisting of a post office, a few houses and a butcher shop. The school was an all girls school around the time and it was the second hand leftovers from the all boys institute a mile out. *The morgue was a family owned place for a long time, seven generations to be exact. After a school fire taking out half the building killing at least thirty kids and a few teachers the place closed and most moved out. The morgue was in business, up until the sandbags and fake body parts bit. Apparently while digging up a fresh grave two robbers found nothing but beach sand a wooden arm, this was in the early 2000’s. They called the cops and they found that due to the improper ventilating system they had taken in mercury poisoning from the crematory they had as well. They dug up the place and found bodies everywhere, hiding them inn old freezers, storage containers, out in the open, out in the back and some in the basement of this dude’s place. It was closed once again, finding some charred remains of one of the girls apparently destroyed the town and now not much remains other than a few families that are too stubborn to leave and a boarded up past. The school was rebuilt in attempt to save the town from the crazy but it didn’t work as well, so a 90% finished school sits in ruin while the Delaney Morgue decayed in the background.

I walked the rest of the way down the old road that led to the school. It would only take me a good thirty minutes and I wanted to see both places up close and personal before I reunited with Lana. It was a dirt and gravel road mostly covered by stray plants and a tire here and there. The school itself was as strange and eerie as the story. The sign was missing a few letters and the garden they used as a decoration around it was overtaking the posts, soon the whole thing. No one would know what this place was, and maybe for the better too. Most people’s grandparents were young at the time, or even just babies. The area had some rusted equipment and piles of wood to rebuild a better future, all rotted, abandoned and overgrown with weeds. The building was in a similar shape, it was an empty shell with no roof. Half of the back wasn’t even done yet and there were some areas where you could see old burn marks from that infamous fire.

I continued on and came across the old morgue. The shingles were falling off, a few windows were busted and the door was covered in rotting nailed down plywood. I stood in front seeing chipped white paint and the remains of a painted on address. I checked my phone, this had to be the right place. Sure enough, it was.

Lana where you at?

I waited for at least five minutes before sending another text.

I’m here loser where are you?

Nothing, no phone call no “Sorry I’m late” or “Be there in 5" absolutely nothing. I didn’t understand it. Where was she? I sighed, typical Lana getting me into some deep shit. I decided to go for the obvious and walk around until I was in the back. There were two small trees and a bush that took over the back, concealing a door, or what was a door now was just a pitch black hole. I pulled out my flashlight and my pocket knife and headed in. No turning back, Lana said there were dead bodies here and I wanted something for my collection, maybe some old medical tools while I was here. Something to take back and hide in a backpack. I laughed, wondering how many human skulls could fit in my bag, and it someone would catch it on the bus ride home. I don’t think I’d be the strangest thing the bus driver has seen on his route.

The first thing I noticed right when I walked in was the smell and the horrible darkness that consumed me was the smell of rain, must, mold and death. I shivered at the cold and wished I brought a jacket. My boots had touched an object on the floor and I let my light move to it, I had kicked a skull, a broken human skull across the floor. I stepped toward it and picked it up. It was small, and I wondered if it belonged to a child. I turned it over in one hand and studied it. There were some marks, it was dirty and had a cobweb in one of the eye sockets. I noticed a few teeth were missing and I shrugged; bet I could make a whole mannequin by the time I’m done here. I put it in my bag and continued on. I saw moldy paper on the floor, to ruined to tell what it used to be. The walls rotted and a green colour that suggested water damage. I saw spots on the floor that could have been anything, water, blood, or body fluids. I continued on my way, the floor broken and cracked tile, dirty and grimy. I however saw a pair of boot prints, fresh if I might add. I trailed them with my flashlight to come across another room, I walked toward it hesitantly thinking it was Lana who already got in and was scrounging around.

My flashlight however stopped at a pair of boots, dirty and muddy and moving. I raised my light to see a body, a human body standing ten feet away. This person shielded their eyes and I had sighed in relief thinking it was my ex, but the longer the beam stayed on the figure the more I noticed something wasn’t quite right. I froze. The person in front of me wasn’t Lana, it was someone else entirely so I screamed.

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Chapters
1. One
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