BLOODY BODY IN A BIN BAG
There comes a time in a cop’s life when finding a body becomes a ritual and changing your grandson’s nappies have the same effect: a single sigh at the sweet smell of hell before tackling the task at hand. When cops Andy and his pal Jimmy got home together for a last drink that evening, it almost came as no surprise to them to find a couple of large, full rubbish bags on the sofa, neatly tied at their tips by a gold ribbon with a business card attached to each. Andy opened one bag and uttered a single ‘fuck!’ before closing it back again, stunned by the sight of the half body he’d found.
“Bottom half” Jimmy read as Andy was already untying the other bag.
“First half. Told you so. Signed: M. Black,” Andy read on, “Black would have been sufficient, she tends to overdo things by a notch or two.”
“’M.’ for ‘Mephisto’?”
“She put it there for us to solve. She’s right, as always.”
“Chuck’s girl, remember?”
“Chuck…” Jimmy said, scratching his head, “sure.”
“Her need to cut it in two is odd though.”
“Who’s the dude?”
“Not sure. He’s wearing a bloody hood.”
“Better call the police,” Jimmy said.
“We are the police.”
At that point, the whole situation finally dawned on them as being highly unusual. Andy, although accustomed to finding bodies anywhere, anytime and under any circumstances, was beginning to think he was the victim of some sick prank. The light was dim, Jimmy’s face looked unusually pale, grey and blurred. Andy hoped for a moment that he might soon wake up in a hospital room, delirious and under the influence of an overdose of a trial drug of his own concoction.
“Shit!” Jimmy said.
“Dude’s wearing similar clothes as mine by the look of it.”
“A fucked coincidence. Check out the trousers.”
“You’re imagining. It’s drenched in blood, you can’t see.”
“To a tee.”
This is when Andy knew it was time to give the body halves a proper second look. But, in no time he was overcome by a prickling sensation and the first goose bump he’d ever felt in a very, very long time. Jimmy raised his hands to his face in a bid to calm his nerves down and gasped for air, his face becoming inexplicably gaunt, grim and ghastly, a horror vision replicated and mirrored by the face of the moribund bloody first half sitting on the sofa, staring at them through white eyeballs.
It seemed for an instant that the floor would open up and gobble Andy up for the ending he’d always expected but not quite believed he’d get.
“IT’S ME!” Jimmy insisted.
“Can’t be. Damn! It looks like you all right. Very much like you. Too much like you. You’re the prankster?”
“FUCK ANDY! LOOK AT ME! PINCH ME! This is a nightmare!”
“You’ve a twin brother? Didn’t you say your father had open relationships?”
When Andy woke up from Jimmy’s punch, he was lying alongside Jimmy’s dead twin’s first half. Jimmy was sitting by Andy’s side, wetting his head with a damp cloth.
“Had to be done, sorry.”
“Have you calmed down?”
“It’s about family.”
“Who would play such a game? It’s sick, unlike anything we’ve seen over the years. Switch the light back on, will you? It’s bloody dark in here!”
“Fuck! I’ll do it,” Andy said, getting up and feeling faint.
“Sit down, Andy. The light is on. You’ve got a black eye.”
“Everything looks different.”
“Bet it does.”
“I mean, nothing is what it seems. Jimmy, what is it you’re not telling me?”
“Got nothing to hide.”
“Under a dim light?”
“Under the circumstances.”
“This is a fucking nightmare!”
“You’ve got to help me.”
“Hey, I’m all right now. Stop sponging me through and through.”
“Got no control.”
“Stop fucking squeezing then!”
As Andy looked at Jimmy’s hands pressing the wet cloth, he noticed Jimmy’s fingers squeezing right through the cloth and this action drained more water out of a dried up cloth.
In an immediate and instinctive move, Andy reached out for Jimmy’s hand to hold it. It closed on air, clasping and grasping empty particles.
“You… You’re an ‘it’,” Andy remarked, shivering, sitting fully awake on the sofa, his senses on alert.
“It?” Jimmy asked, “No, we’re in this shit together. Help me. Help us.”
Andy could not help but notice the bizarre and frightening similarities between the torso’s face and that of his friend, Jimmy: same look, same grin. Even the head’s inclination and angle were exactly the same: they both looked very alike, except Jimmy still had eyeballs. Or did he? It was hard to tell.
“You look pale,” Jimmy said, “never seen you like this before.”
“Your fingers, Jimmy, they—“
“I mean, they—“
“Lie down. I’ll call an ambulance.”
This was his last chance, Andy thought, if Jimmy could call an ambulance, all would be well. He watched uncomfortably and concerned as Jimmy lifted his empty hand to his ear and went through all the motions and rights words, except his mobile phone lay untouched on the desk. Andy reached for his pocket knife in his trousers’ right pocket.
“Why did you pretend calling them?”
“You’ve lost all senses of perception. Lie down, Andy.”
“I don’t feel that—“
“—they’re coming,” Jimmy insisted, sitting once more by Andy’s side, “hear the sirens?”
There was a sound, an awful, insistent whistling sound approaching indeed. Nothing to do with sirens though, Andy thought.
Jimmy looked in Andy’s eyes again and this time, his eyes had no eyeballs, they were white, like that of the dead torso by their side.
Andy stood in panic and ran as fast as he could. He didn’t even think of using the door and ran right through the wall, thinking he must have a word with Miss Black whenever he’d find her.