In a bedroom, in a place called Discovery House, a young boy plays a few seconds of tape. He writes three words down on a piece of paper, rewinds the tape and listens to the same part again. He still had one hour and forty-five minutes of tape left to transcribe. However, it didn’t matter because no one would read it for at least another twenty years.
Part One - This is a private party, no heavy metal bands allowed
“Unfair”, you could hear them shout, “Unfair”. The foul voices rose from the jostling crowd. People, all in various states of being, were pushing, crying, panicking. Having just arrived, the woman with the smart suit staggered in bewilderment and awe at the sight in front of her. Such noise was only in keeping with a class of riotous seven year olds and an average heavy metal concert. People of all ages were pushing other people of all ages just for a chance to get to the front. Such behavior, she thought, was similar to the first two minutes of a car boot stall when someone notices an electronic device in the back of a car. The amount of shoving and fighting prevented her from observing what the rush was all about. The shouts of, ‘unfair’, were in unison and filled with anger. She could not imagine what they were all centered upon. Children, looking lost and afraid, were scattered around the perimeter of the rabble, gazing in wonder and probably asking themselves, why? It was then the woman really noticed the periphery of the crowd. It was mainly populated with older people, waving their arms in the air as if holding imaginary sticks and trying their best to jump to see how far from the front they were. The woman walked forward but more as a comfort to herself. she did not know where to go or what to do but with the rest of the room running amok she felt she had to.
Then there was the room itself. The woman had been so engrossed in the spectacle in the middle that she had not taken in the whole room. But it was not a room, it was more reminiscent of a large school hall. Windows decorated the high parts of the walls covered only by a thin blue curtain that let the sunlight flood in and give everything an underwater tint. The walls were painted in a dirty cream colour with a dark blue border running around the hall at head height. A dark brown wood, polished and shining with knots in the veneered finish, covered the floor. The woman looked down at her feet. As her eyes moved she noticed that no more than six feet away was a sight she had never even seen in a horror film, but then again she did not care for horror films. There was a man sat up stretching for a severed leg that lay four foot away from his grasp. The woman put her hand in front of her mouth. She was about to cover her eyes but felt compelled to look at the man’s struggle,
“Excuse me love, could you kick that over here?” The man looked the woman in the eye. “I’d kick it myself except I’ve nothing to kick it with.” He was completely free from pain, he even had a slight grin on his face. The lady, whose eyes were now watering at the thought of what might have happened, spoke with a sense of unease. “Sorry but are you, that is I mean, no...yes...no, erm, are you in any pain?”
“Pain?” the man said in surprise, “good lord no, I didn’t feel a thing, came straight off, I passed out when it happened and never came round. The family is probably crying about it now.”
“How did it happen, you know, the...” the woman pointed at his bloodied stump where his leg should have been attached.
“What my leg?” said the man.
“Yes your leg.”
“Glass. I was taking a shower in one of those small compartments, you know those new types? Anyway, it was last Tuesday when my son drives his toy truck into one of the side panels and cracks the damn thing. Of course, I meant to fix it but you forget to do it and, one slip on the soap and I’m history, a clean chop, chkkoo.” The man made a karate chop out of his flat palm and aims it at his leg. “Apparently I died of the shock, that is why I’m naked.”
The woman looked up, her eyes wide and stinging. He was indeed naked, a hairless body that was slightly tanned around the face, arms and lower legs. He had thick black hair and a kind of expression that anything he did was not his fault.
“Sorry about the erection,” said the man, “something about the shock reaction I think.”
The woman broke her silence, “I didn’t notice first time, I was too busy looking at…”
“My leg” interrupted the man, “it’s alright, you’re not the first one not to notice. I guess I should take that personally. I hope I don’t have this hard on for long, I guess it can be quite a difficult thing to explain when you bump into people, as well as painful.”
“Yes I guess it must.”
“Now, can you please pass me that leg, I’ve not tried that one yet.”
The woman looked at him in bewilderment. She was near to vomiting when she saw many severed limbs scattered across the floor. Legs, arms, hands, fingers and even someone’s head and shoulders were all taking up floor space. They didn’t cover the entire floor but they were placed in regular spots causing you to watch your step as you walked. The woman looked at the man, he was staring at her eagerly, was he serious about getting a leg for him?
“Hurry up love before someone else grabs it.”
She walked up to a leg that was still wearing a sock.
“No, not that one, my god woman, could you honestly see me wearing Mickey Mouse socks? Besides, that leg has too much thigh, if I use that one I would be limping for the rest of eternity and then I really would look silly.”
The woman looked at the naked, erect man and raised an eyebrow in contempt. She had experienced people talking down to her before but this situation was just plain silly, ludicrous. She didn’t even know where she was. It was a dream, it had to be, nothing is this silly in real life except anything in a Terry Gilliam movie. She looked down at the leg wearing the sock, an eye looked back at her. An eye alone, no socket, no body to attach itself to. It just remained on the floor looking at her. She shivered.
“Ah, there you are.”
The woman took a sharp intake of breath. Suddenly, A young man, was standing in front of her. He bent down and picked up the solitary eye. “I’ve been looking for this for ages. I’ve walked up and down this hall twenty times looking for it and its not made any easier with only having one eye to look for it. Of course I am presuming this is my eye. This sort of thing can really put a downer on your day, I used to play archery you know. I’ll have to shoot left handed next time.” The man made an archery pose with his hands and pretended to fire an arrow into the bustling crowd.
“Excuse me sir, but where are we?” said the woman.
The man turned and relaxed his sporting pose. It was at this point the woman noticed a cricket stump stuck in man’s right eye socket. There wasn’t any blood or pain in the man’s face, it was just stuck there, as if it should always be there.
“We are, my dear, at the point where it is deemed necessary to keep people waiting in an overcrowded room with no explanation at all,” he said holding the eye to the light.
“I’m sorry, but what you are saying doesn’t make any sense,” replied the woman.
“I have a cricket stump jammed into my head. That sort of thing makes it very hard to concentrate.”
“What do you mean? I don’t understand”
“All the people in this hall seem to have died or have some kind of ailment. At the other end of the hall is a desk and there are people sat around it logging names onto a computer who then give you a number that you have to stick on to your chest.”
“What, you mean died as in dead?”
“No, I mean having another round of twister. Of course I mean dead. You madam have died, and if you think this fact unfair then I suggest you go and join the queue.” The man extends his hand in the direction of the jostling crowd.
“You mean you’re dead?” said the woman.
The man looked at the cricket stump with his remaining eye. “Yes.”
“What’s it like?”
“It is a bit like playing pitch ‘n’ putt at the local park and your mates badger you in to doing another nine holes. But you should know that with being dead as well.”
“Yes, I remember being in a car with my new friends, I was singing a Phil Collins number with everyone.”
“Oh, good lord, that’s enough to kill anyone. Which one?”
“You can’t hurry love, anyway, I seem to recall turning sharply and then hitting something.”
“Anything else you remember?”
“Not really, I don’t even know why we lost control of the car, it happened so quickly well except for the last two seconds. What happened to you?”
This was the first time the man slowed down, he had seemed to be on an irritable edge since they met. He breathed in expanding his chest twice that of normal breaths and exhaled through his nose. The sigh seemed to let a lot of the tension out of his persona and eventually he turned to look at the crowd again and spoke in a relaxed voice.
“You’ll laugh if I tell you,”
“No, no I won’t,” the woman said reassuringly.
“It seems so silly, so pointless, so pathetic.”
“We were on the park. My mates and I always get together in the summer, we go up to the local gardens once or twice a month and play pitch and putt, footie, crazy golf.”
The man made a golfing action, pretending to putt a ball into an imaginary hole.
“We were so bored last month we ended up in the children’s zoo. Anyway, Dave played cricket for a local team and we planned to borrow some of their gear for a day and have a game of cricket instead of pitch and putt, because we were getting a little fed up of losing our deposit every time we played, I mean two golf balls each just do not go around, especially when we are all half pissed.”
The woman suddenly winced, her faced screwed, she felt a sharp pain in the top of her head as if someone was slowly pushing a needle into her skull. She reached out to the one eyed man for balance and security but then all of a sudden she was fine.
“Are you alright?” said the man concerned.
“I don’t know what happened, I feel OK now,”
“Are you sure you are feeling fine, mind you there is nothing I can do about it if you weren’t.”
“You were saying about your two balls,” said the woman regaining herself.
“We set up the stumps and after we finished arguing about who was batting and waiting for inconsiderate twats who find amusement in walking right across the place where we were playing, it came my turn to bowl, I caught........” The man stopped talking. Suddenly, his eyes were transfixed on the woman’s head. The last of the colour left in his face drained away into the rest of his body.
“What? What is it?” The woman looked at him quizzically and then she felt it. She drew a quick breath as she felt blood, her own blood, pouring from the top of her head.