My Friends Are All Dead and I’m Next

 

Original artwork designed by Christopher Ashley

 

Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫

 

[1] The Clash “Somebody Got Murdered”

[2] The Smashing Pumpkins “The Everlasting Gaze”

 

Now that I’ve got your full and undivided attention, I’d very much appreciate it if you could inform the authorities and persuade them to send immediate assistance to 1248 Beachers Grove, Sandhurst. No pressure, just anytime in the next three seconds or so would suffice. You see, I’m in something of a pickle right now and get the distinct feeling that things are about to get a whole lot worse before they get any better. It has been an eventful evening to say the least, and what started with copious amounts of alcohol and a harmless dinner party, has since escalated into a full-blown massacre. Every last one of my friends has now succumb, in increasingly grisly fashion I might add, and that just leaves little old me to outwit an assailant who has some pretty glaring anger management concerns as far as I can see. In my sole favor, he is apparently still unaware of my presence although, should he feel the urge to take a leak after turning the downstairs of this house into an abattoir and the main bedroom too, then I reckon I’m right about primed for the high jump. One worryingly transparent shower curtain is all that stands between yours truly and a thorough ventilating and I’ve seen how efficient this merciless madman is with a blunt instrument so I don’t much fancy handing him the loafer.

Poor Hattie was first to fall foul to his seven-pronged mean streak and the only possible upside for this scatty senior was that she likely knew precious little about her own demise as it came so quickly and decisively. Have you ever watched a ripe cantaloupe being decimated by a 20 lb sledge-hammer? Needless to say it’s just as messy an affair when said melon accommodates a skull. One swift slug and all that were left were the obligatory death rattles, although they didn’t last long as the killer then proceeded to further tenderize his sirloin so to speak. If I ever make it out of this hell hole in anything other than a body bag, then the sound of Hattie’s splintering bones will haunt my dreams right up to my last breath. I observed this carnage through the open doorway and thought better of retrieving a brewski from the fridge after being made privy to such a thorough pummeling. The funny thing is that I actually dated Hattie back in tenth grade and she made some pretty derogatory remarks about my sexual performance. Nevertheless, I never would have wished this on her. As I said, she should count herself providential as victim number two was far from oblivious to his spiteful denouement.

To be entirely frank, I wasn’t a huge fan of Mitchell either. After the whole Hattie debacle, it was he who came up with the undesirable nickname “Quicksilver” and I wouldn’t have minded terribly but he was supposed to be my fucking wingman. That’s the thing about Mitch – public standing is everything to him as he resides in the social middle ground where acceptance is only ever one double-crossed homeboy away. While his popularity temporarily soared, mine plummeted to fresh lows, to such a degree that he no longer wished to associate with such a pathetic nonentity anymore. Of course, it didn’t take long for his new clique to grow tired of their fresh plaything, and when they did, Mitch soon scurried back, shrugged his shoulders and said “you would have done the same”. That was it – no apology. No attempt to make things up to me after single-handedly obliterating any remaining slither of credibility. Just “I’ll shout you a beer”. I guess that was his own way of apologizing but I would have preferred the more conventional method if I’m being entirely honest.

That said, while our friendship would never be the same after such a bruising blow, I wouldn’t have wished him dead. Mitch must have heard all the commotion in the kitchen and strolled right into the eye of the shitstorm with the usual faux swagger. The very moment he locked eyes with his opponent, he shit his pants, and there was milk on the cereal barely a second later as he cast his wide eyes across the crime scene. To give him props, he did grab for the nearest available utensil to fend off his incoming attacker. But I ain’t never seen a colander do damage to anything over than pasta shells and something told me that it would take a lot more than a damn good straining to put down this boorish behemoth. So it proved as Mitchell rapidly became the victim of continuity, although instant incapacitation was favored over total annihilation on this occasion. Mitch just so happened to be the second fastest sprinter in school and had a bright future before him as state track star. That was until his left shin was shattered by a rubber mallet at least. If he thought things were fucked, then confirmation was inbound straight after, as the killer’s own choice of makeshift weapon was a darn sight more persuasive than a plastic sieve.

At primary glance, an aluminium ice-cream scoop would appear a reasonably innocuous instrument right? Perhaps this would be so if used for any other purpose than to gouge out both of Mitchell’s eyeballs in turn and forcibly thrust this gloopy gelato down his throat. You’d suspect death would be just a matter of time after such affirmative action wouldn’t you? Indeed his fast hemorrhaging brain was already drowning in its own crude coulis as the next one-way transaction played out. Here’s one for you – I knew Mitchell as far back as Kindergarten and back then he had a thing for tugging the wings off moths for his own sick amusement and scrapbook. A child of five knows not of irony and his enlightenment came during the last few agonizing moments of his pitiful life as both his arms were subtracted from the equation by way of bare-handed brute force, leaving behind them a pair of spewing shoulder stumps. I almost felt bad for Mitchell you know. I’d have shouted him a beer to bury the hatchet but we were all out of crazy straws. Thus a shrug felt sufficient for my fair-weather friend, after all, “you would have done the same”. Isn’t that right old buddy, old pal?

At any rate, sneak attacks were now no longer a consideration, given Mitch’s gargled cries for mercy and the coarse river of blood running over into the lounge. Sabrina was first to react and chose puking her guts up as the manner in which to voice her distress, while Farrah and Frankie clucked like a pair of battery hens and clung to one another for dear life. I don’t mean to be a dick here but I didn’t much care for this trio either after they made it abundantly clear to me that the feeling was mutual. The only reason they associated with me at all was because of Mitchell and he’d already proved without a shadow of doubt that his priorities laid with Mitchell. To be fair, Sabrina was actually quite congenial but only when she knew none of the others were watching. As for Farrah and Frankie, well they were key players in word getting out about my unfavorable bedroom antics and were the last bitches on campus you would trust not to stab you in the back and twist the blade with a playful giggle. There may have been no love lost between us, but watching three girls plucked callously from the prime of their lives in manners way beyond hospitable and in the time it takes to stuff a game bird was more than I’d have said their foul play merited. Alas I wasn’t the one making the decisions here.

Sabrina was still in the process of throwing up her stomach lining all over the shag pile rug when the six-inch stainless steel kitchen knife made unapologetic contact with her larynx and this was no precision incision I’m talking of here. If you sever the chief artery and cleave it open wide enough, you’re guaranteed something of a gusher and the geyser that ruptured from her compromised cavity was sufficient to bathe an ox in. From where I was stood, I had the ominous pleasure of watching Sabrina’s eyes roll into the back of her head and it was a matter of seconds before she bled out and fell limp. Meanwhile, Farrah and Francesca’s five-year friendship was being placed under severe scrutiny, as while Frankie’s primary response was to yell “run!” at the top of her lungs, Farrah found it far more fanciable to shove her bestie directly into the firing line without a bat of her lashes. It’s funny what we’re prepared do for self-preservation purposes once that pinch comes, although it was no less than I expected from one so utterly bereft of scruples. For as much as I was horrified at the sights I had just witnessed, I couldn’t help but raise a wry smile to this one.

Frankie hardly had time to process this disagreeable data before being briskly torn asunder and her punishment for choosing her friends badly was to have her lower jaw yanked straight out of its fixture and be left to twitch her way through the inevitable death throes. Meanwhile, Farrah wasted no time in fleeing the scene and foolishly headed straight upstairs, with her assailant in close tow. Regrettably for her, she barely made it halfway before being apprehended and dragged kicking and screaming back to the foot of the stairwell. Once within his grasp, he punched his way through her ribcage with his clenched fist and removed her spleen through the jagged cavity he had just fashioned, before using it to cave in the girl’s skull-cap. I’m not ordinarily one to laugh at the misfortunes of others but couldn’t help but relinquish a small squeal of delight as Farrah was taken down a peg or three. Does that make me a bad person?

Before I could ascertain the answer to that question, the killer was on the move once more, stomping upstairs to finish what he had started. There he would run into the last of my peer group, Cassandra and Justin, who were still blissfully unaware of the festivities and busy fucking like randy minks in the main bedroom. Given that I’d just watched on as five of my “amigos” came a cropper in manners nothing less than heinous, I didn’t relish getting too close and running the risk of showing up on the radar of one so evidently lacking in compunction. Thus I opted to listen in from afar and this actually proved every bit as enlightening. Of all those in attendance, Cassie and Justin were probably the least deserving of their harsh fates as it was because of them that I’d been invited to this soirée in the first place. That said, there had been plenty of occasions during high school when either one of them could have stood up for me and simply didn’t possess the minerals to do so. I never felt anything less than a pity case, and therefore, all I was prepared to offer were my distant condolences as all hell literally broke loose above me.

If I were to hazard a guess, then I’d presume that Justin was first to taste the wrath of his opposite number and that suggests he acted gallantly in a bid to protect his fair lady. However, for all his intrepid endeavor, it sounded suspiciously like his head was compacted no more than five seconds after plucking up the courage and that splintering audio was the last I heard to confirm my theory. Judging by Cassie’s horrified reaction and Justin’s high-pitched yelp as his top box was compressed like a fleshy concertina; I’d say I’m in the right ballpark. Nevertheless, she certainly didn’t come quietly, and managed to momentarily flee her attacker while he applied the finishing touches to his newest work of abstract art. To her credit, she knew precisely where the emergency exit was and dashed straight for it, screaming frantically. If only she hadn’t slid in the pool of grue at the foot of the stairwell, then perhaps she would have made it too. Her darkly hilarious blooper bought the killer time to commence his pursuit and he was upon poor Cassie before she could shake off any mild concussion. However, he thought better of tearing her limb from limb right there and then, and instead, hoisted his felled quarry up and over his shoulder, before retiring to the dining room for further sin and punishment. That was where the wall-mounted elk antlers were you see.

I’m just presuming that’s how Cassie met her grisly demise as I used this opportunity to vacate my position and surreptitiously make my way upstairs before becoming his next subject. They don’t call me “Quicksilver” for nothing you know. Perhaps hiding out in the shower cubicle wasn’t my best laid plan, but I’m alive and that’s all that matters right now in light of the evening’s activities. Granted, I’m banking on this raging nutbag possessing the bowel of a Trojan not to be well and truly rumbled, but the house next door is a hive of activity I hear and he’s on quite the roll so I may just have dodged a bullet here. To be honest, I’m not altogether sure how I feel about seven of my playfellows being savagely slaughtered in swift succession. I mean, they were a pretty shitty group of friends by all accounts and not a single on them worthy of shedding a tear for. And while I’m laying all my cards on the table, I may not have been entirely genuine with the whole “my friends are all dead and I’m next” headline grabber either. Got your attention though right?

Okay so here’s the thing. I’m not next and neither am I in any clear and present danger, unless the neighbors caught wind of the ruckus and called the authorities of course. I didn’t lie about the seven-strong body count however, although I may have embellished the facts a tad for artistic effect and to satisfy my own sick urges. The truth is some way less gruesome than the deep red canvas I painted but also rather ingenious when you think about it. You see, I laced their red wine with strychnine and not a single one of these sorry saps made it through hors d’oeuvre. As far as dinner parties go, I happen to throw a real mean one. Blame my over-active imagination for any decoration of the facts as I’m nothing if not creative. I’m also in need of a new social group to feel largely excluded from and it would seem a shame for such a comprehensive spread to go to waste. So what do you reckon then? Are we bosom buddies? Friends to the end, isn’t that how the old saying goes? Besides, I could do with a few extra pairs of hands cleaning up all this mess. That reminds me, anyone have a bone saw handy?

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GREY KEEPER FRAME

3 Comments

  1. Very nice. The characters were well drawn. I especially liked the outcome at the end. It is great that the story is being told through the eyes of a young psychopath. Great job, Rich! Love your fiction.

    1. Thank you Susan. I love writing fiction but haven’t done so much lately as I’ve been so into watching movies. I have to be in the right mindset for this but, where slasher is concerned, it doesn’t take much. Since childhood, I’ve always been a sucker for slasher. My all time favorite is Tony Maylam’s The Burning. Adore that movie and Tom Savini’s make-up effects are astounding.

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