Flesh Moss

Flesh Moss Header

Badum. Badum. Badum. Badum. Badum.

I’m typing this in a cabin in Cook County, Northern Minnesota. It’s forty miles of wilderness to the nearest town and at least ten miles to the nearest other cabin. You’ll hear all about the place soon on the news. Or maybe not. I don’t mind much either way anymore. It’s more likely you’ll hear some version of what happened to me, eventually. There’s a reason I had to go to a place like this to hide my face while I waited to disappear. They’ll want there to be some version of what happened to me to tell the public.

This started three days ago. The fridge started making some grinding noise that made me get the manual out. There was no phone to call a repairman for it. Apparently it was a problem with the vents in the back getting clogged. I pulled the fridge from the wall, removed the vent cover, and saw that the fan was surrounded with dust and hair. I cleaned it out. I might not have noticed the moss, but I was so bored at the time that I decided to clean it much more thoroughly than necessary. I felt along the bottom of the metal frame housing the fan and then recoiled. I thought I’d electrocuted myself for a second, but I knew that what I’d felt was not electricity from past experience with hotwiring.

I felt it again. I felt something smooth, warm, and soft. It was quite similar to human flesh. And there was something else about the thing I felt down there that differentiated it from any known mold.

There was a pulse like you can feel at someone’s neck or wrist. I’d felt pulses enough back in the day that it was the first place my mind went when I felt that sensation. And along with it, I felt a very light spray, like if you squirted cologne on yourself from way too far away.

I tried to tear it out and get a look at it, but it was too firmly attached. Frustrated, I went and got some drain cleaner which dissolved the patch quickly. When I cleaned out the remnants it was a red sludge. It was just like the leftovers from when I and my associates used lye on a body.

Like many things in my life I was able to rationalize that pretty easily. There were probably plenty of molds I wouldn’t recognize. I knew I had seen red funguses somewhere on television or something. The pulse could have been my own. If you use your thumb when taking someone’s pulse, you’ll end up feeling your own. I convinced myself I’d something similar to that.

Badum. Badum. Badum. Badum. Badum.

Taking off the gloves after the last of the sludge went down the sink, I realized I hadn’t washed my hand before putting on the glove after I felt that faint spray. I sniffed it weakly. It smelled surprisingly good. Like chocolate and flowers. Of course I washed it off, but I was surprised at the time it smelled so nice. In fact, I felt a little happier than I would have expected after washing it off.

Early the next morning, when there was just enough light to make the inside of my cabin a dark blue, I heard the fan for the fridge make a horrible grinding noise. I stumbled out of bed, plugged the fridge away from the wall again, unplugged it, and then I froze. I could smell chocolate and flowers.

I thought I might have been smelling things and I could still barely see through bleary eyes. A glass of water sounded like what I needed to clear my head. I drank half a glass then poured the rest out. Although I couldn’t see into the sink properly in the weak light, I realized there was no gurgle of the water draining.

I turned on the lamp near the sink, and saw it.

There was a mass that had grown out of the drain. It was slowly, rhythmically expanding and contracting slightly like it was breathing. A blue vein was visible, straining against the skin like they do on a fit man’s arm.

I bent down to get the drain cleaner. My hands were trembling as I tried to unscrew the lid. It was useless. What I had done yesterday had merely left this thing to regrow in the u-pipe or somewhere. Surely pouring more onto a greater mass would hardly stop the growth. But it was all I could think to do at the moment.

As I poured a bit of drain cleaner onto the mass, its surface spasmed. It released a powerful spray of whatever that scent was. I couldn’t force myself to keep pouring it. I was became fully relaxed even as I stood there trying to kill some mass of skin. The moss gradually stopped spasming even as the drain cleaner slowly stopped eating through it. It seemed, at least to me, like it relaxing too. It released more of that wonderful scent.

Badum. Badum. Badum. Badum.

It’s okay. I understand. I’m not mad at you. That’s what it felt like it was trying to communicate to me. Even then I knew I should have tried to tear out the plumbing or leave the cabin for somewhere else on foot, but I wanted more of that scent. I felt the best I had since I’d started hiding up here.

I stood over the sink for a while, just breathing in that odor. I could no longer care what was really in that scent it was spraying that calmed me so. I looked over at the fridge vent absentmindedly. I could see little bits of the flesh moss growing out through the vents.

Since then, the moss grew and grew faster as it went. It now coats the inside of the cabin like soundproofing. For how loud it is, the sound of the moss’s pulse is very relaxing, like when people play nature sounds to help them sleep. It’s the “badum” sound I’ve found myself typing a few times as I write this. I imitate the sound with my mouth as I do.

Acid is beginning to leak from large pores on this flesh moss. It’s not strong enough to eat through metal but anything organic that it touches is being eaten away. The soles of my boots are being dissolved. I can feel the skin on the bottom of my feet being eaten away as well. What matters mist is that the moss has continued to spray that wonderful scent even as it releases acid. I’m in pain, but I don’t mind.

The pulse is speeding up. I think it wants to digest me faster. I am considering lying down in the acid to help speed it along. It’s the least I could do for it.

Badum, badum badum badum badum badum badumbadumbadumbadumbadumba

 

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© Copyright 2014 Dustin Koski, All Rights Reserved

Check In

I work a check-in at an inner city hospital. It’s as stressful as you would think, and at least for me, it’s mostly a blur of people and problems. People screaming at me about their maladies, however severe, has become static. Even people with the sort of novelty problems you’d write in to a magazine about “strange but true” experiences barely make an impact on me any more.

This one guy, though… He was memorable as losing your virginity and both graduation days combined. And he seems to be getting more and more memorable for me as time goes by. 

I’m not saying any dates or times or anything, but I will say that it was a little slower than usual at the hospital. So I was in the middle of getting some paperwork done, transcribing some notes, when I saw a guy coming in. He was at least six feet tall with an unkempt beard half a foot long and dressed in a heavy winter coat with one of those stupid hats that’s like a baseball cap with with fur-lined ear flaps. He was staring at me as he shuffled forward, his eyes heavily lidded as if he was jusy barely staying awake. Like I implied earlier all the patients and guests and guets had sort of blurred together for me, so I must admit I waited for him to come to the reception area while I finished what I had been working on.

Before I could say a word, he tossed a card in front of me, evidently having had it in his hand when he came in since I didn’t see him take it from his pocket. Actually it was more like he dropped it in front of me, since his hand was palm down at the time. I noticed that there was brownish-red under his fingernails before I glanced down to see that it was his driver’s license.

“I thought you’d need some ID.” He said. His voice was deep, raspy, and completely emotionless, the voice of someone barely aware of his surroundings.

“What can I do for you?” I asked. “Why did you give this to me?”

“I need to die.” He said with the emotionless tone.  

“Were you in an accident sir?” I said as I belatedly took the phone receiver. The man clearly was a priority patient, probably had a concussion. There might have been an accident outside.

“No. Trying to kill myself. Thought I could take care of it, turns out I can’t. Cut my wrists right and everything.” He undid the straps on his coat sleeves then and rolled them up.

I’d seen numerous injuries, many of which were mortal. When he said he’d cut his wrists right, he meant he’d slashed the length of his veins down the arm, which is the way to do it when someone really wants to die. It’s called a “morgue” cut instead of a “hospital” cut, the type when you cut across the wrist. And he had cut deep on both arms, neither cut too clean either. But he wasn’t bleeding a drop, even there wasn’t nearly enough coagulated blood on either wound.

That could not have been a man standing in front of me who had cut his arms like that who was still standing even though… no, that simply had to be a prank, but where could the camera person have been? Who’d prank a hospital?

“What did you…” I said as I looked from his arms to up to his face. I had a good look at his face. The man was dead pale and his eyes white to an unnatural degree.   

“Yeah, cut ‘em in the shower and let ‘em bleed for a long time. Realized I wasn’t gonna die after a while.”

“I…” was all I could say. His eyebrows twitched slightly in that way people’s do when they remember something suddenly.  

“Something else I did.” He unfastened the clasp under his chin clumsily, removed the hat, and turned his head to the left. Even with the sight of those wrists, I wasn’t ready for this.

He had an exit wound at the base of his head where it would meet the neck. I could see the wall behind him, which made it clear this wasn’t a trick. Heh. A dead giveaway. The bullet went right through the portion of his skull where his brain stem would be located, the part of the brain which controls all those vital involuntary functions. Like heartbeat.

And he’d barely bled a drop. I remember that perfectly.

After that, it was all a blur. I must have been crying in a corner after calling security or something, because I have a blurry memory of some security person escorting him away. I remember he was much taller than the security guard, It looked like a child escorting a hulk. That hardly mattered, as long as he went away and he didn’t come back. It was the last I ever saw him and the last I’ve heard of him.

I don’t remember anyone telling me not to mention this. They wouldn’t have needed to: I’ve tried my hardest not to think about it for awhile, then I can vaguely remember going awhile without thinking about it. For whatever reason, lately I’m finding myself more and more thinking back on that exit wound and what the man had to say. I question constantly why he went to the hospital. What did they do with him? Did the hospital know something about him that it’s not sharing? How far will they go to keep it secret? Who else is like that patient? Do I want the answers to any of these questions?

You remember how I said that the other patients have blurred and become white noise for me? I really want it to stay that way.

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