Ward’s room was grimly peaceful and quiet as Dexi entered. It also had the rancid-sour stench of a gangrenous decubitus ulcer and nursing home. Death In June played quietly from the battery powered cd player, giving the room a very final, fatalistic flare to its tea-candle-lit death acceptance.
The flickering light made his features seem all the more gaunt. He smirked, saying, “All for this, huh. I think I am going to stay here. I can barely move.”
A dismal lump of sorrowful nausea was building in Dexi’s throat. Her heart aching, this felt like losing her brother again. She reached in to give him a hug.
“No, don’t, I’m disgusting. I’m covered in worms, blood, sores...” he tried to laugh about it, but knew his own words to be too true. “You know the risks.”
She stared at him softly, with pity and pain.
“I knew this day was coming, and I’ve been prepared.” Ward picked up a syringe from the night stand, and explained to Dexi what it was.
The syringe was filled with a number of volatile substances, mainly phenobarbital, dextropropoxyphene, midazolam, and valium. The “Darvon Cocktail”, or “Brompton's Cocktail”, a most popular form of euthanasia.
“Painless, fun, and I put some good old fashioned dope in there for good measure.”
Dexi could see the living agony in his sunken eyes. At this point, he just wanted out.
“I can’t do it anymore, and I certainly can’t run with you. Its been real, a good run, yackety-schmackety and blahblahblah.”
They looked at each other, eyeing up the others possible fates.
“Good luck, gorgeous,” Ward told Dexi with a wink.
“Love you too, Ward.” Dexi got up, choking back her tears, and smiled one last time for Ward as she left his room.
The pungent stench of lingering death wafted in nauseating waves out from Chas’ room. Raymondo had kicked in the padlocked door to find a nightmare of decomposing, rampant, and self-indulgent excess gone to sickening extremes.
The sty-like room was knee deep in empty boxes and cans of food. Their provisions, the food from the cupboard, and so much more that came from God knows where. With Chas all strung out and skinny, it did not seem to make any sense.
Until they saw the mammoth, dark skinned bag of rot tied to the bed.
Samoa’s corpse had all manner of food matted into her bushy, disheveled hair: chips, baked beans, apple sauce, cookies, canned tuna and chicken and salmon, all caked into the bed sheets and mattress and floor around her writhing, bloated husk. She even had food stuffs drying, half-chewed, molding up in the corners of her slack, dead mouth.
Thick clumps of coagulated blood-jelly stuck in crusty, foul flakes that clung to her face from her nose, eyes, and ears. She had been infected with the N.E.C.R.O.
Stacks of Polaroids littered the bed. From the truly hideous and amateur photos, the story had become all too clear. Chas had been trading their food for drugs and sex. The photos were all badly lit images of her gorging, the two of them sexing, and Chas drugging. Photos of the two engaged in the most lewd of addict-minded sex-madness, always with Samoa gorging, gorging. There was even a funnel and a potato masher on the floor by the bed, all crusty with mad concoctions of soft, canned foods.
Dexi remembered with crystal clarity what Samoa had said about food upon their one and only meeting. She was afraid of starving. She was sucking dick for chips.
And Chas? Chas did what Chas did, what he had always done. He scammed and screwed everyone around him. He put everyone’s lives at risk, just so he could have what he wanted. And, judging by the nasty photos, he loved every sweaty, smelly second of it. While she had been infected.
They all stood and looked in continued, disaffected silence at her badly-weaved head and the fuchsia glop dried in crusty rivulets from every hole. There was no doubt that Chas had also been infected.
Dexi’s blood ran cold with a sickening combination of both anger and terror. She had been showered in his blood after filleting him like a fish. The same blood that wouldn’t come off, that smeared deeper into her wounds with the thick old grease on the grungy dish towel she used to try and clean off afterward. It smeared into her pores, over her face.
She held the anger in and back, doing her damnedest to remain focused and alert. After all, there really was no way to be certain, was there? Whatever had happened had happened and that was that, she told herself. She breathed deep, pushed on. The center of her chest, her soul, was so tired, and so sore.
They worked around the beached walrus of the corpse, collecting road flares, a gun, and several containers of bullets out of his room.
Dexi, amidst this chaos and her own turmoil, cracked a guilty, stressed smile with an uncontrolled thought that rolled in unexpectedly: big bad punk rock pimp-daddy Chas, that rotten, no good sonofabitch, he really did have her workin’ for chips.
With deep breaths and a suppressed, primal fear, they pulled down their black, expressionless gas masks. They left the vermin-infested, death filled apartment with guns cocked, senses sharp, and the unknown gnawing away at their deepest instincts. Like those rats on human bones. In collective silence, they hoped for the best. But really, truly expected the worst.
Come back tomorrow as they start
DROPPING LIKE FLIES