SOUL SHELLS (A SHORT, DARK STORY)JULY 22, 2013 BY KRAFTEDKHAOS
He was dead.
I knew it. Deep in my bones, where you know things. He was dead and I knew it. I still couldn’t believe it, because sometimes the mind cannot accept what the bones just seem to know, but my brain accepting it or not didn’t change the facts.
I didn’t want to look, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. I’d never seen a corpse before, outside of a funeral parlor, and a morbid curiosity I hadn’t known I possessed seemed to draw me closer. Closer, and closer still. The whole time I was inching forward, I watched him. Looking , searching for something. What, I’m not sure. Perhaps a shallow rise and fall of his back, or a whisper of breath, enough to move the scraggly hair that had fallen over his face. Something, anything my disbelieving brain could use to tell my bones that they didn’t know quite as much as they claimed. I hoped for a sign of life. I would have prayed for it if I still believed in God, but I did hope. Once, I thought I did see something, but my mind recognized the illusion for what it was.
When I was close enough to touch the body I stopped, unsure. I’d seen enough crime dramas to know you weren’t supposed to disturb a crime scene, and I had the type of luck that I could be pretty sure that right about the time I touched something, someone would come along, and I’d end up taking the rap for killing the guy myself.
Standing there beneath the bridge, I stared at the body lying there in the sandy gravel, struck by a jolt of familiarity, and thought that it wasn’t dissimilar to a conch or snail shell found empty once the resident had moved on. I was staring at a soul shell, its occupant no longer in residence, but something about him terrified me, and I would have given anything I owned to be far away from that place at that moment.
Read more of this story