By Tayvis Dunnahoe
He awoke with a copper, dank taste in his mouth.
“What the...”, he muttered as he stretched for a grumbly early morning yawn. The fingers of his right hand smacked with a sticky residue as he spread them apart. He felt dirty. Stained.
The early morning sun stabbed through the margin of window pane outlining the dark drapes in his room making the rest of the space much darker than it actually was. He lay there wondering what had happened the night before. He could only see blurred visions of drink glasses being sloshed, nondescript bobble heads laughing maniacally, and a two-headed highway stretching out before him on the rapacious drive home.
Wasn't there a guest? He pondered the fuzzy passenger who rode shotgun from the party. His memories were black and white with no definitive lines. His visions appeared in strobes. Stop motion. Animated...by the devil.
Now unemployed, his life was a bit more complicated financially yet simpler in general. With no place to be, he had taken to black-out drinking, binging on cocaine, and hunting salient victims at every opportunity. He lay on his back on the floor. He felt the particles of filth that had embedded into his skin. Spare change, dispersed food remains, shoes, junk mail, and a variety of unwashed dinnerware made a disheveled place for him to lie. One leg under the bed, he didn't know how he had ended up on the floor.
He arose with a haggard sigh to lightly brush away the detritus adhered to his skin. A human lint brush.
His right hand felt thick, rough patches of skin in the dark gave way to a sinister evening. He thought it to be vomit at first, but it was spread too thin and uniform. In the dark, he sniffed at his hand.
He sat quietly next to the bed, startled and wary. With eyes now adjusted to the dim light of the room, he could see a lifeless lump covered in his bed.
Ah, the guest... but blood?
He quickly jumped up and stumbled for the light switch. A gruesome awakening flashed before him. The lump was indiscernible. A small tuft of blonde hair sprouted from one end of the blanket. A dainty blueish hand lightly peeked over the edge of the bed. The mattress underneath was garnished with a large black stain that was bright red along the edges. Several spots in the blanket saddled over the lump were deep red and black, shiny and with the scent of copper. A galaxy of blood stains adorned the wall and ceiling. In the silence, he could hear a single brundle fly buzzing around the room and promptly wretched at the foot of the bed. It was then that he noticed the blood spatter on his feet, smeared along his thighs, groin, and chest. His right hand was caked with clots of blood and hair.
His face became a stone wall. Traumatic and violent, he stifled any emotional reaction. The lump lay there lifelessly. Unnamed. Unknown. His eyes darted around the room.
So much blood, he thought.
Without much pause he went into the shower. He calmly scrubbed away the mortal stains on his flesh. The hot water always took him to a calm place. For a brief second he forgot about his gruesome reality.
Once clean he traipsed back into his room fully denying the scene that awaited him. His T-shirt drawer had been open and he had to dig deeply to find a clean one with no blood spatter. He slid his jeans on in the closet along with his shoes. Once dressed, he found his keys on the nightstand and stopped in the kitchen to rinse them clean of blood.
He promptly exited his apartment locking the door behind him. He didn't know what he was going to do, but he needed a drink to figure that out. The apartment lay dormant, lifeless. A dark repository for a life gone awry.