Nic Kawecki


Horror movies don’t scare me; they are far too gentle. Blood isn’t as thick as everyone seems to think it is. Blood is so, so thin, and it runs down your arms and drips onto the floor, and now all your clothes are stained. I can’t find a shirt that doesn’t have some of you on it.

Real horror doesn’t happen in haunted houses or graveyards filled with fog. Real horror happens in dingy public bathrooms where the harsh green lights flicker, but not because of a demon; it’s because even the city can’t pay their bills. My parents can’t pay their bills. Your parents don’t care about you. The city doesn’t care about us. We are alone.

There is no one but us left in the entire world. It’s just you and me in this dingy public bathroom. The lights flicker again. Your eyes are empty, and static stares back at me when you look at me, like someone pulled the plug years ago. We are alone. I am alone.

I wake up covered in sweat. I remember that you are not real. You died years ago along with my grandmother. I turn on my light but the switch refuses to flip. It is covered in tar. My parents can’t pay the bills.

Somewhere inside my stomach, a light bulb flickers. We are back in the bathroom, and the light hurts my eyes. My hand is covered in tar. Your hand is covered in blood. I reach out towards you, and you reach back. Our fingers lace together. We are alone. And we are a monster.

We are alone.

I close my eyes against the harsh fluorescence. When I open them, we are in a large living room. But nothing here is living. My shoulder burns. There is hot tar melting us together, dripping down our collarbones and closing the gap between our rib cages. I keep forgetting that I am made of plastic. I must not forget.

The room is large, but I know the walls are closing in. The carpet is a rich blood red, but I know that it is not the color of blood. I know the color of blood. The furniture is black velvet, but I know that if I touch them, they will not be soft. The chairs are too big, big enough to get lost in. The room smells like cloves and cinnamon and iron. I choke on it, and when I cough, the scent of iron grows stronger. Maybe it is the blood pouring out my mouth, or maybe it is the corpse standing rigid on the other side of the room. She turns and her eyes are brighter than yours, but there are hornets buzzing in her mouth.

I squeeze my eyes shut, I know that corpse is my future, and I cannot bear to see it. When I regain my sight, we are back in the bathroom. Except there is no we, I am alone. I am the monster that is created by our joining. I cannot bear to see it. I wake up covered in sweat. I turn the light on, and it fills the room with a warm glow. There is no tar. My parents can pay the bills. Blood drips down my arm, far too quick for me to catch. Your tongue presses against the wound, lapping up all that is left. I am not alone.

Table of Contents