This one's a work in progress, for my EPW Title defense on Sunday. Less than 800 words in, so there's lots more to come. I just really like the feel of it so far and would like some feedback on what's there. There is however, some backstory required.
And onto the show...
It’s what always hits you first when you find a dead body. The scent of rot, of decaying flesh and bodily wastes released in the midst of a death rattle. It’s overpowering. The disgusting scent of your own mortality, seeping into your body through every pore. Sometimes all it takes is a shower and the feeling fades. Sometimes. Mostly it stays with you though. It becomes an obsession, the scent of death causing you to wonder if you’re still alive yourself. You begin to question whether one of your enemies finally got to you, one of the many finally having enough skill to catch you in a deeper sleep than intended and slit your throat on the spot. You wonder if you’re just a corpse, wandering aimlessly due to the soul’s inability to admit defeat and move on. Oh yes, we’re all afraid to move on. We create gods and afterlives and dedicate our whole lives to make what comes after all the better. And why? Do we have any proof there is an afterlife? Has anyone met God? Or is the notion of entropy, of utter nonexistence, so terrifying that we simply create our own beliefs to save our minds that comes with the severity of realization.
We are all alone. We are all going to die someday. And when we do, there’s a very good chance we’ll just cease to exist as our flesh sacks are left behind to rot. There’s a very strong possibility that everything we do in our lives is both futile and without purpose in the grand scheme of things. Yet we go on. We give ourselves purpose and morals and beliefs because otherwise our minds will fracture upon comprehension of the sheer futility of it all.
The gift and curse of sentience.
These are the thoughts which come to my mind upon the discovery or creation of a corpse. Somehow the notion of entropy is appealing to one who has found so much pain in the breadth of his own existence. My name is Brad although I’ve frequently been referred to as the Unholy Dragon. Ironic that a title I once gave myself as a sign of strength has proven itself my greatest weakness over time.
Alongside me is the man known as Brendan Black. He once called himself the “Messiah of Straight Edge” although I have been ensured this is no longer the case. Upon discovery of the body, he turns quickly and begins to vomit uncontrollably on the dusty concrete below. This brings to light how long this body has remained undiscovered, as the impact of the vomit stirs a cloud of dust around his feet. Truthfully, I expected this response. Normal people do not deal with death the way I do. They shouldn’t have to.
The corpse is nearly beyond recognition. Decomposition has taken its toll, as have the scavengers and vermin of the city. The head stirs slightly as a rat of some immensity crawls from the depths of the child’s eye socket. There are some levels of depravity beyond even those which I once followed. This is one of them. A child. A small, defenseless child. Tortured and murdered in the most violent manner imaginable. And why? To send us a message?
"You sick fucker..."
Brendan speaks in a hushed whisper. His eyes belie the calm facade he places upon his exterior. Inside I can see the rage boiling to the point of no control. It’s something which feels almost reminiscent of my own past. I try not to dwell on it, realizing the dangers associated with such a mindset. The problem however, lies in the fact that I can feel the same rage bursting inside me, threatening to drown me if I don’t attend to it. I need an outlet for my rage. I need something to destroy. Instead, I keep my calm and begin my analysis.
"The body’s been here for some time, untouched no less. He must have killed her no more or less than a month back, though I can’t be certain of the time without a more thorough analysis which I am quite frankly not prepared to engage in at the moment."
"I don’t blame you."
"I didn’t imagine you would."
Brendan stares at the corpse, the red hatred burning brighter in his eyes. Everything about him screams that he is aching for a fight. Moreover, he’s aching for a target. Someone to rake his anger and pour it into. The lust for vengeance burned bright and powerful.
"How the fuck did he manage to keep this a secret so long?"
He owns the building. It was condemned years ago and he bought the property, but has chosen not to do anything with it since.