Posted on

Lawyer

Lawyer: interrogation of John Cardoni by Detective Jones- Campfire Horror Stories

He had always wondered what it would feel like sitting in one of these chairs. The metal felt cold against his skin, despite the jeans that separated them. It certainly wasn’t a comfortable chair, but he supposed that was the point, why they kept them there for hours without resolve, before even considering questioning. It was part of the tactics, part of the breaking down of the walls, while containing them inside walls of their own.

He thought the handcuffs were a tad unnecessary, and they dug into his skin every time he tried to wriggle his wrists into a more relaxed state. The air was tepid and thick, artificial. It entered the room through a grimy vent at the top of one of the walls. The walls were the color of faded limes, same as the floor, like the color of hospital linoleum. That color made him feel queasy in hospitals and it made him feel queasy here, too.

The vent let out a low hum that intermingled with the higher hum of the fluorescent lights, creating a sort of white-noise harmonic. It wasn’t a pleasant harmonic, however, and he felt like all of these factors were calculated for the very purpose of culminating his discomfort.

There was a clock in the room, on the opposite wall to the vent, but he was unsure whether it told the correct time, or if it was correct in its pacing, either. He figured he had sat there, handcuffed, for multiple hours before the lone door clicked and opened abruptly. His elbows were raw from resting on the hard metal table, and his eyes felt the same from staring at his reflection in the one-way mirror.

“Comfortable, John? I brought you some water,” Detective Jones always had it out for John Cardoni, and that fact was written all over his smug fucking grin. He looked as though he was trying to stifle his laughter.

“I know the score, Brad, you know I ain’t drinkin’ that,” John gestured to the cup with his brow, as Detective Jones sat on the corner of the table after placing it in front of him.

“You know that just makes you look more guilty, right?”

“Save the script, Jones. You know I know what we’ve both done to close cases. You recording this, too, right? Bet that won’t make the final cut,” John stabbed at the air in front of him with his hands, “and get these fuckin’ cuffs off me, will you?”

“You’re a person of interest, John, nay, a prime suspect. Why would I uncuff you? You’re deemed dangerous, even when unarmed. Hell, I’m risking my safety just being this clos- this close to you,” he could barely finish the sentence before letting out a spitting, high-pitched laugh.

John narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips, “you fucking bastard, Jonesie, you always had it out for me,” he said with increasing volume while shaking his head, “you won’t pin this on me, I tell ya. You fuckin’ won’t.”

“We got all we need, Cardoni. This is all theatrics and formalities,” he exclaimed with outstretched arms as he circled the table.

“You ain’t got SHIT!” John stood with a vigor that sent the steel chair into the wall behind him. He was playing his own theatrics, just like he’d witnessed every other time he’d been in this very room. It was like walking a tightrope, walking the fine line between letting the truth slip out (at least, the words that could be construed to appear as a confession), and keeping a guise of innocence.

Detective Jones reached into his jacket and produced a plastic zip-lock evidence bag. It contained a twelve-inch, tactical blade. The blade was black steel with a saw-toothed back, and the hilt and handle were gold-plated, aside from the rubber grip, which was also black. It was a seriously nice blade, and John knew it well.

“Now, you know this blade, John,” Detective Jones placed it on the table and tapped it with his index finger, “you know there are only two.”

“We both got awarded one for the Mackenzie case, yeah,” John’s demeanor weakened. His shoulders dropped, as did his face. He knew where this was headed. “I didn’t kill them, Brad. You know I done some stupid shit in my days, but I didn’t kill your girls.”

“We got prints, John. You’re done.”

“How do I know that ain’t your blade?”

“You sayin’ you can’t account for the whereabouts of your own knife, John?” He put his hand into his jacket again and produced an identical knife, unbagged and in a black leather sheath.

John looked at the faded lime linoleum floor, “lawyer.”

“Ah-ha. Are you serious, John?”

“Lawyer,” he looked up from the floor to lock eyes with Brad, “lawyer.”

“You see, there’s a slight problem with that request; we’re not playing that game, John. Oh, no. That’s not how this plays out. Theatrics and formalities, remember? I wanted you to know what it felt like on that side of the table; what it felt like beneath my interrogation. I wanted to hear you confess. . . CONFESS!” saliva sprayed through his teeth as he slammed a hand on the table.

“Lawyer.”

“I told you, John, it ain’t PLAYIN’ that way.” He turned his back and laughed under his breath. “You still think we’re at the station, don’t you?”

The hairs on John’s nape stood up. His skin began to shudder at the thought.

He had buried his blade after he gutted the prostitutes. Perplexed at how Brad could have possibly known where to look, he watched him open the door just enough to reach an arm out and flick a switch. The room suddenly felt much smaller, and much colder. Nauseating white light filled the expanse of a warehouse on the other side of the mirrored window. “What the fuck is this, Jones?”

“Redemption,” he spoke quietly, as he turned around with an expressionless face, stepped forward and thrust his blade into John’s torso.

John felt Brad’s fist hit his diaphragm, almost lifting him off the ground. He felt winded, he felt his lung deflate. His eyes bulged and his mouth called out in silence. It didn’t feel like getting shot, at all, he hardly felt anything but the punch. He was choking on his own blood and disbelief.

“Say hello to my cheating wife, fuckboy,” Brad whispered into John’s ear before letting go of his back and watching him fall off the blade.

John gurgled to the floor and painted the tired lime linoleum a rich maroon.

Posted on

Rebel Hunger

They couldn’t help but feel perplexed. It didn’t make sense. It had been two hundred and fifty-seven years since they killed this many people in a single night. They were just so damn hungry. The witching hour was pressing on, and they were getting messy. Red-tinted clothes and smeared shoes. This would not do at all, they thought, not only do I look horrendous, but hideously suspicious, to boot. Nevertheless, I don’t have luxury to change. WHY MUST I HUNGER, SO?

The last victim was just left in the street; a lonely drunk possibly without a home. Probably wouldn’t be missed at all, either. They could still taste the whiskey in its blood. The first one of the night was a dancer that fancied them. They didn’t even have to pay it. A good show and a meal, one could not ask for much more. Except that the meal was unsatisfactory, and this was unacceptable.

Even during the Great Race Wars, they didn’t slaughter out of unquenchable hunger. It was sport, more or less. Some called it pride, and recompense. If all the sides of a conflict call on recompense for every loss, however, then an eye for an eye would leave the world blind. All except the one who deals the final blow. They slaughtered because they wanted to be that one, not for petty recompense.

Sirens began to ring out through the corridors of the city. I’ll have to flee, they ordered themself, there’s no way I can continue feeding here without being found out. They puffed out their chest and let out a heavy sigh. If only I wasn’t so damn hungry I’d be able to escape to the countryside or anywhere else but here. They couldn’t concentrate while the roaring sound of blood rushing through tasty veins echoed throughout the street. There was another sound creeping closer, though. It was the clanging of enforcer’s boots, but they couldn’t make out how many there were. It all seemed hopeless.

There was a half-wall flanking the entrance to a less-than-popular public house. Shame, really, because in its day it was the bustle of night life. Perhaps not the first public house in the city, but certainly the first of its kind. Vamps built it, just like most of the town. Ironic, really, that they should find themself in a situation of inevitable persecution in a city designed for feeding. More so, that they find themself unable to quench the hunger in such a city.

They crouched behind the half-wall and ran their fingers down its face. “Shhh. . . I need your sustenance, human,” it had a gaping jaw and trembling lips, and wells where its eyes were, “I need to taste your soul. I need you to fill my veins with your life and end this aching torture. You don’t understand, how could you? You’re only human. One day has felt like an eternity, and you would hardly know that, either.” They clutched its hair and pulled the head back to sniff its pungent jugular. They tugged with too much vigor and tore out a hunk of hair. The human let out a screeching yelp as they gripped its hair again and yanked some more. It tore out like straw from a scarecrow. They felt good to express such animosity again, but the hunger still raged. And the enforcers still searched.

They covered the human’s mouth with one hand and felt the ground with the other. They ran their nails across the stone. One-by-one their nails cracked and broke. The enforcers must have closed in after that screech. It was as clear as a blip on a radar. Despite pitchforks and torches not being a thing anymore, they still wouldn’t be able to fight off a whole mob of enforcers by themself. They would have to surrender and hope for the best.

At this point, execution is welcome. Anything to end this god forsaken hunger. 

At least twenty-seven enforcers appeared down the far end of the street. The sound of blood was deafening. Saliva was running like a river from their mouth. The best course of action would be surrender, of course, but they weren’t sure if the hunger would take over, which it did.

“I will come peacefully. . .” they tried to call out to the enforcers. The small human writhed about, kicking and flailing its arms. It went limp as they tore its heart from its chest in one swift moment of pure intent. The enforcers descended upon them immediately.

REBEL! You shall perish for your crimes, rebel. You shall be made an example of. Rebels do not belong in our city!”

“I BUILT THIS CITY, HUUUMMMAAAAAAAN!”

“You’re a savage, and a rebel, and your strength will not help you now. Neither will your kind.”

The elders were contacted and set trial for one year. This was not customary, but the elders were curious. What would they devolve into without feeding? Not one had gone so long without food. Not one had ever had insatiable hunger, either.

 

 

Posted on

The Best Medicine

strawberries, best medicine, campfire horror stories

They say that laughter is the best medicine. But it’s not. The best medicine tastes like strawberries. Not strawberries, like, real strawberries, but what some white lab-coat wearing men in a food research facility reckon strawberries taste like. It’s thick and gluggy, quite like venous blood.

Blood, of course, does not taste like strawberries. Unless the strawberries were carved out of metal, because blood tastes like a salty coin. I used to put coins in my mouth all the time, but now I’m not allowed. Mother said it’s bad for my fangs.

Posted on

22nd District

Dennis, 22nd District, fit into the machine, middle caste, Campfire Horror Stories

The steak was delicious, though, just like the salads were. Josh couldn’t understand why Dennis turned his nose up at him when the words escaped his lips, “we’ll start with the green garden salads, frites and poppers. For the main, we’ll have the eye steak, medium?” His query was directed at Dennis, who only retorted with a wide-eyed snarl. “Medium, and I’ll have it rare. Finish with the pumpkin pie.” At first Josh didn’t even notice Dennis’ body language.

“And to drink, sir?” The waiter asked, without so much as acknowledging Dennis existed.

“Why, your finest champagne, of course. And I don’t want to see our glasses empty, or it’s your tip.”

Dennis shifted his weight in his seat, but not because the chair wasn’t comfortable, it was incredibly comfortable. The cushions were a brilliant blue velvet that was soothing to the touch, and he couldn’t help but stoke it with his index finger as his eyes darted around the room. He didn’t want to be there anymore, much less make eye contact with Josh. He chose instead to admire the elegant carving in the ceiling, and the glowing gold lighting under the bar. They really had done a good job at mixing the old, traditional look of wealth with a new contemporary one. He did, however, wonder how many times the bartender would have to wipe the bar-top, to keep the reflective black free from fingerprints.

The night air was cool, but not cold. It was a refreshing change from the artificial warmth of the restaurant. This was Josh’s favorite time of day; night. More specifically, though, the early night, when the city was still bustling. Later, it would still be busy, but it’s chaotic, rather than the organised cohesion of the early night. Josh prefers order. Everything has its place, and everything works better when it stays in its place. The drunks of the early hours are only cogs that don’t fit into the machine anymore. They drink their last days away before being forcibly escorted into a lower district, where they belong. Dennis could fit into the machine, though, if he stops turning his nose up, and sits quietly in his place. Without Josh, he never would have dined in the 22nd District. He never would have set foot in the 22nd District. And if he’s smart, he’ll take Josh up on his offer for a night-cap, where he can put something else in his mouth, and more champagne.

The 22nd District was for the high-class. Dennis had never set foot here before tonight. He found himself conflicted. He did not enjoy the dinner, and he did not enjoy being treated like a pet. The roads here were so clean, though. They looked like they were made of glass, and you could see your face in the sidewalks. He couldn’t remember the last time he saw a tree in the metropolis. You didn’t even need to walk to the trashcan, because it walked to you. Dennis found himself thinking he should be grateful, and wanted to apologize for his performance at dinner. His cheeks reddened as he looked down at his matte shoes. Clearly not made for this part of the metropolis. Even the driver’s shoes were as reflective as the sidewalk. There were some things that he would certainly need to change as he climbed the social ladder. The cool air slipped down the neck of his shirt and he shivered for a moment.

“It’s okay, Dennis, you don’t have to come if you’d rather go home,” Josh said as he stood on the other side of the car with his elbows on the roof and his face resting on the backs of his hands.

This was, of course, not true. It was a sly statement that actually meant the opposite of what it sounded like.

“No, of course, I know where I fit. I’ve no one to kneel to back in the 42nd. I’m sorry for how-”

“Don’t, I know. Takes a minute for some to come around. Just get in the car.” Josh’s eyes caught the street lights when he tilted his head and flashed a sharp smile. Then he got in the car.

Dennis felt his blood burning through his veins, which made the night air feel even colder. He swallowed his pride with an audible gulp and put on a smile. Despite what he would endure tonight, it would all be worth it.  It was a genuine grin, and he wore it the rest of the night.

Josh had it all: his own driver; a fleet of cars, all different colors of the rainbow; a penthouse apartment in the building he owned; an army of staff that all worked like an automated assembly line. People flocked from all over to stay in his building. It was one of the few that still employed human staff, which served as a luxury niche in the market. He hadn’t worked for any of this, though. Josh didn’t work a day in his life. The staff beneath him work for the company, they would tell you. But Josh would proclaim them his own, of course. This life was his birthright. His father, who also never worked a day in his life, left it all to him. Without the cares or worries of the lower caste, Josh always wore a smile on his face. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He lived a life of desire. Tonight, he desires Dennis. Dennis, however, does have worries of a different caste.

“Not anymore,” according to Josh, “I’ll take care of you.”

“How very admirable of you,” Dennis said through gritted teeth.

It was sickening, really. How high he thought he was. How did he feel so natural, so entitled to flaunt his wealth? He only lived in the 22nd. It is impressive, sure, but it’s not the top. It’s not where Dennis wanted to be, and it wouldn’t be where he ended his night. He wasn’t going back to the 42nd, either, of course. He had other plans. Orders, in fact. Orders that would see him in a higher caste than Josh. Not that this petty system ever concerned him. After all, he was only playing the 42nd because there was more excitement down there. The trash know how to live, not like the middle caste, who order for their dates, as if they cannot speak for themselves. That treat their staff like slaves. The high caste treat their synths better, for goodness’ sake. No, Dennis never did like how the middle caste decided to treat others or live their lives, but he sure did love how they taste. And the dumbfounded expression Josh had when he realized he’d been lead on.

Posted on

5 Must See Japanese Horror Movies

dark-water-2002-best-japanese-horror-movies-ringu-suicide-club-pulse

Japanese Horror Movies

Japanese horror movies are coveted all over the world for their unmatched creepiness and dark themes. So much so that Hollywood has remade western versions of many of them, some of which were hugely sensational. Not only do Japanese horror movies provide unique and scary plot lines, they also manage to deliver horror with beautiful cinematography and extraordinary scripts. The imagination of Japanese film makers never fails to please me. However, I often find that many horror fans have not been privy to the delights that they craft. Therefore, I have put together this short list of 5 of the best Japanese horror movies you absolutely must see. Hopefully there is one or more on the list you are yet to watch, yourself.

5 Best Japanese Horror Movies

1. Ringu

Ringu is the most well-known film on this list. Directed by Hideo Nakata, it was released in 1998. Like many other horror fans, I saw the western adaptation first. The western version, however, is not a remake of this film at all; it is a separate adaptation of the same base novel. Kôji Suzuki wrote the novel, “Ringu,” and published it in 1991. Since then, Japanese, Korean and American filmmakers have all made their own movie adaptations. Hiroshi Takahashi wrote the first adaptation, which made it to our list. 

A young reporter, Reiko Asakawa, is investigating a cursed video tape. Many believe that if you watch it, you will die exactly seven days later. Reiko is skeptical, until her own cousin falls victim to the video tape. She later uncovers the story behind the video tape, but not without grave consequences.

The faces of the dead show haunting displays of terror. I consider these expressions to be iconic of this version of the story, and they have stayed with me ever since I first watched it.

2. Dark Water

Hideo Nakata also directed this movie, and has received as much acclaim for it as he did with Ringu. He released it in 2002 and also helped adapt the original novel into an American version of the story just three years later. Just like Ringu, Kôji Suzuki wrote the book. I don’t think this story has the same level of on-screen terror as Ringu, but it is far more unnerving. In my opinion, Dark Water is shot with more talent and purpose, as well. 

Yoshimi is the mother of a 6-year-old, who has just gone through a divorce and custody battle. She moves into a cheap apartment building with her daughter, and it seems like a great new start for them. Soon, however, Yoshimi begins having terrible nightmares, and the apartment starts to leak water from the ceiling and walls. Her landlord seems uninterested in addressing the problem, which pales in comparison to the nightmares, and the ghost behind it all.

I am very partial to a good canted frame, and Nakata uses this technique exactly when and where it is needed. As a result, he has made a masterpiece of Japanese cinema.

3. Pulse

Kiyoshi Kurosawa both wrote and directed Pulse. He released it in 2001 in Japan, and in 2005 in America. Wes Craven and Ray Wright adapted Kurosawa’s screenplay to release a western version of the film, which then grew into a trilogy. The first American version was released in 2006. 

After one of their friends commits suicide, a group of Tokyo residents begin to see otherworldly visions. Soon, they realize that the dead may be trying to invade the realm of the living through computers and the internet.

Pulse is possibly the most terrifying on the list. It was made at the height of technophobia, which explains the premise. Nevertheless, Kurosawa directed an absolute masterpiece. He employed very clever film techniques throughout and wrote such a chilling and well-written script. The actors are superb, and Kumiko Asô even took home a Best Actress award. Pulse was nominated for many awards at various film festivals around the globe, including best film (note, not just best horror film, but best film) at the 2001 Sitges International Film Festival. It ended up taking home the José Luis Guarner Critic’s Award.

If you watch only one film on this list, let it be Pulse.

4. Suicide Club

Suicide is a massive social issue in Japan. Pulse touched briefly on the topic, but Sion Sono uses it as the forefront theme in his 2001 film Suicide Club. On its surface, you can clearly see Suicide Club as a detective mystery thriller, however, there is no denying the horror that lies beneath. Sono pays homage to the iconic visual elements of Japanese manga and anime with his use of over-the-top violence and the way he portrays blood splatter. The violence is not why I attribute horror to this film, though.

In the opening scene, 54 school girls jump in front of a speeding train. The train station is a real station that is now a notorious suicide spot. This first display of gore really sets the tone for the movie. It is a beautiful showcase of Sono’s aesthetic that shows us what is in store. I could easily picture the manga-style storyboard. After the first mass suicide, strings of group suicides start occurring all over the country. We follow Detective Kuroda as he tries to unravel the mystery and unsettling true cause of the Suicide Club.

What makes Suicide Club a horror movie, and not just a thriller, is the unsettling tone of it and the unnatural events that take place. The unstoppable nature of what is happening sets my stomach in spirals. This story is far from black and white. This was one of the films that made me fall in love with Japanese horror movies, and Japanese Cinema as a whole. It is how Sion Sono presents a graphic manga story on the screen in such a true-to-aesthetic way that makes it stand out. Also like Japanese manga, it has a deep story that reflects the social climate of Japan in 2001.

5. Ichi the Killer

Okay, so Ichi the Killer isn’t really a horror movie. It made the list because almost all of my Japanese cinema friends pinned it as their #1 Japanese horror movie, despite technically being just a torture porn thriller. It is such a thrill ride, too. Ichi the Killer is extraordinarily graphic, but also has a deep psychological story that you will be asking questions from beginning to end. I suppose the horror comes from knowing that there could very well be people out there that commit these horrific acts.

Kakihara is the most sadomasochistic and loyal yakuza enforcer. When his boss goes missing, he goes on a rampage to find who is responsible. Ichi is an unbelievably skilled gore machine who has a twisted story of his own. They might just be each other’s ultimate counterpart.

To this day, Kakihara is one of my absolute favorite on-screen characters. His whole character is unbelievably badass, and Tadanobu Asano plays it wonderfully. We really get to see his inner turmoil as he wrestles with who he is and what his purpose is. Ichi, however, is simply chilling. His face will unsettle even the strongest of nerves as you watch the massacres.

Like Suicide Club, this movies aesthetic is very much at home in manga. Which makes sense seeing as it was based on one. Hideo Yamamoto wrote the original manga and Sakichi Satô adapted it into a screenplay. Takashi Miike directed this masterpiece, who you might know from his more well-known and critically acclaimed 2010 film, 13 Assassins

 


Are there any Japanese horror movies that you think I should have included?

Comment below with your favorites.

Posted on

Whiteout

whiteout-campfire-horror-stories-old-rickety-bed-sweet-corn-writing-prompt

It was the first snowfall of the year. I sat up and my bones creaked as much as the bed did. That old rickety bed made of pine, just like that cabin. Made with my own two hands, mind you. I swung my legs around and lay my knotted feet on the cold, grained floor. As I drew in a deep breath and rubbed my wrinkled face, I thought about building that cabin twenty years earlier. A slight chuckle escaped my cracked lips when I reflected on my oblivion; not knowing all those years ago that I was, in fact, building a coffin.

The windows were foggy, which made it difficult to know at first, but the sight was unusually white. My back was aching as it did the previous day, and the one before that. As hopeful as I was that my old, rickety bed would do it good, my first conscious expression of every day was a grimace. Rubbing the glass with the sleeve of my night-shirt was a futile task, but it did not matter, really, because what else could a white wilderness be, besides snow? Nevertheless, I sought to open the front door and investigate.

The animals in the main room stared at me from their high vantage points upon the pine walls. Each day they detested me more. They looked down their snouts and turned the corners of their mouths toward the floor. Glassy eyes narrowed. I hardly acknowledge them any more. The fire never judged me, though. It enveloped me in a warm embrace and told me not to leave. The embers of yesterday’s fire still glowed a faint orange behind a grey façade. My modest pile of firewood was down to seven sizable logs, or six if you discount the one I picked up and dropped onto the ashes as I hobbled passed. I would have to check the store at the side of the cabin to fetch some more before the week was out.

I don’t know what else I possibly expected to see when I opened the front door. It was, indeed, the first snowfall of the year. The ground was painted a blinding white, and had engulfed the four stairs that lead up to the front porch. Icicles dangled from the eaves in the light morning breeze. One sprung loose and fell out of sight. I scanned the trees and the ground beneath them. The whole scene was still. Not a branch faltered. Not a sound uttered. My view was then obscured by my breath, which rose in front of my face as a cloud. I could feel the sting of winter on my cheeks. They were surely redder than usual, though I had not a mirror or reference to check. The thought of restocking the firewood inside seemed, in that moment, a monumental task after briefly considering the need to put on appropriate attire and the prerequisite of shoveling the snow from the front stairs. I decidedly shook my head at the wilderness and muttered, “not today.” A chilling breeze licked my nape as I shut the door behind me.

Gurgles and rumbles emanated from my gut. I wondered if I had any sweet corn left in the cupboard, or only beans. Some meat would be a welcome change, although I’m sure my house guests would not approve. Besides, I had not seen any signs of life outside of the cabin, so without anything to hunt I would have no meat, anyway. What a waste of energy. I thought about it not a second longer and opened the cupboard in the kitchenette, which was adjacent to the main living area.

I suppose you would call this open plan living. It was all one room, really. The main room had the fireplace, quite central, but not directly in the middle. It was made of stone, mostly, except for the metal grating I had to prevent embers spitting. I scarcely utilized it, out of laziness, I suppose. In front of the fireplace was a small wooden table and two wooden chairs that had on them some cushions fashioned out of deer skin. The deer didn’t like it when I sat on them, though, so I did not often sit. Sometimes, if my feet were too sore, I would sit on the floor between the chairs and the table. It was actually a perfect height for that. On the other side of the fireplace was a small table and two chairs, also fashioned from pine wood. It sat two people. It has only ever had one to use it, however, but even now that is rather rare an occasion. I had been eating only once a day, for I can’t remember how long, and usually do that on the other table, where the face of fire breathes more warmth. There is a washroom off the dining area and a bedroom off the opposite side of the main room. The washroom has no usual plumbing, however, it has a tank that acquires rainwater and I have a bucket and a tub that I can use to clean myself or my clothes. It hasn’t rained for many moons, though, and I wasn’t about to dip into my drinking water before more rain. The animals are yet to complain about the smell, so I mustn’t be that ripe.

The cupboard creaked as it always did. The whole cabin creaked sometimes. Even though I thought I would be used to it after twenty years, I am not. It irks me every time I hear so much as a squeak. Like a claw digging into my temple, the sound, I fear, might drive me mad one day. There were only two cans left. They stood silently at the back of the dark cupboard, like the final two competitors to be picked for their sports teams. One can of sweet corn and one can of baked beans. I was faced with a dilemma. Which was I to choose?

“The sweet corn, obviously. You’ve been eating nothing but beans for weeks!” Barry exclaimed. He was the boar above the kitchen counter. He was right, too, I had only eaten baked beans for weeks.

I’m unsure just how long I stood there with the cupboard open, but my arm grew sore. I was pondering. Was I saving the sweet corn for an occasion? What occasion might it have been? Was my birthday approaching? It would be nice to have sweet corn on my birthday. “I shall save the sweet corn, and beans are not so bad.”

“Beans are terrible,” scoffed Deidre, one of the deer the cushions were made from.

“No, they’re not that bad,” I retorted.

“They most certainly are!” Dave interjected. He was the other deer the cushions were fashioned from. He stood above my bedroom door. What he had to say wasn’t very important, though, because I no longer respected his opinion. Not since the rug incident.

“You stay out of it, Dave.”

“Oh, he’s okay,” Deidre said in a softer tone than before, “if anyone should stay out of anything, it’s you. What did the beans do to you to be imprisoned in a tin can for god knows how long only to be opened up at such an ungodly hour of the morning and eaten by you. The likes of you.”

“You’re right. I should wait until later. Maybe put it off until tomorrow.”

“Don’t listen to them, buddy, they’ve just got something against beans. I still think you should have the sweet corn though. Do you even know how old you are, today?” Barry was right. The deer were never on my side. Always stirring shit. I swear they only talk to me because they don’t like Barry, either. I should’ve built a bigger cabin. We’re all crammed in here like the can of beans.

I sat down on the floor and held my head in my hands. I felt the callouses scratch my skin. It must’ve been red, if felt red. I was so hungry,

but I didn’t want to upset everyone,

but they already hate me,

but they still talk to me,

but they put me down.

“I don’t put you down, buddy. Just eat the damn beans, at least. You haven’t eaten in days, you’re going to die out here if you don’t eat, buddy.” I hadn’t eaten in days. So I must’ve drank water, which meant that I could put off eating if I drank more water.

I don’t remember eating the beans. Nor the sweet corn, for that matter. I do remember opening the other cupboard and finding the empty water canteen. I held it up to the roof and watched a solitary drop of water cling to the rim of the bore. My tongue protruded further from my mouth than I think it ever had before. It grew sore, like my arm had, and I licked the drop up. I licked the bore over and over. My tongue slipped into it and over it, and yet my thirst would not quench.

The last thing I can recall is crawling to the porch and scooping up warm snow to eat. It tasted better than the beans, too. And felt better between my teeth.


“And, how long did this happen before they found you?”

“I don’t bloody know, does it look like I can wear a watch?”

“Of course, I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just better to give the readers some idea of a timeline.”

“Yeah, I get it, the newspapers are always about the times. I’m sorry if there’s a flicker of resentment in my voice, but it must be the exhaustion. The doc said I’ll be fatigued for a while. I am grateful, really. I’m still here, aren’t I? Still kicking, well kind of. I can’t really kick anymore, either.”

I’m starting to realize there’s a lot of things I won’t be able to do anymore.

 


Writing Prompt: It was the first snowfall of the year.

To respond to this writing prompt, join the Facebook group Around the Campfire, where I post other prompts and encourage you to get creative with them. You can also check out all of my responses to writing prompts in the writing prompt category.