"Life Insurance" Draft 2 (Work in Progress)

I was never one to believe in anything but Heaven and Hell, being raised in a large Italian Catholic family. Nothing in those edicts prepared me for what my fate has become. Call it Karma if you will, but all I know is that I fucked up royally, and I get to spend eternity reminding myself of that morbid reality.

I had it all – a nice home, lots of money and connections, a maid to come in and clean once a week. Then this skinny bitch with serious issues came waltzing into my life and so starts the downward spiral. Don’t get me wrong, I did care about her, but frankly I loved money a hell of a lot more. I suppose I was brought up to believe that would be referred to as my deadly sin – greed. As it turns out this woman who I ended up with had heroin issues, which was showing more and more by the shrunken wrinkles pulled over what little cheekbones she had. Hair was half fallen out, which was always blamed on poor genetics; and a meager 100 pounds would even make Barbie jealous. One day I wake up and she’s dead – needle sticking out of her arm, ghastly blue lips and the look of opiate seizure written all over her face.

During the aftermath we find out that she has chosen to leave her life insurance money to me and not to her daughter – a nice twenty-five thousand dollars. After the funeral, her daughter was at my house picking up the last few things of her mothers when she mentions the couch that was here. Apparently drug addicts tell a lot of different people a whole lot of different stories; and her daughter Ayne was told that it was hers once her mother passed. Like the majority of most addicts, there was no will, so I kept the couch. Why? I felt like it. I also decided to keep the insurance money. That was my biggest mistake, only I wouldn’t know it for a while. In fact, many years went by and Ayne finally went away and stopped trying to convince me it was in my best interests to hand it over. I thought that was the end of it.

Then one day I’m sitting in my office when the raw stabbing pain ran up my arm and down through to my chest. I couldn’t breathe, move or talk very well. I tried like hell to get to a phone to dial 911, but I fell over on my chair, lost my balance, and then hit the floor face first. I am pretty sure my nose broke; and I vaguely remember the sensation of bone moving in a direction it wasn’t meant to – then everything went black. Some time later, I recall waking up in the hospital; unable to move, my face throbbing with my heartbeat and the "beep" from a machine nearby that seemed to be forcing my lungs to expand – now two terrible balloons that felt like they were about to pop at any second. I don’t remember much after that until I woke up in my predicament.

You know that old saying "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?" Well, it’s fucking true. I know I was dead, that much I had figured out from the smell of earth and I could tell I was in a suit now and not in a hospital gown. However, whereas in the hospital I could not move from the injuries, I was now moving quite freely in my own casket. Before I could even contemplate what was happening to me, some invisible marionette controlled my puppet like body. My fist punched above my head and I felt the cold hard surface of marble give way, and then heard it hit the ground and echo, and then a small patch of light filled the darkness. My arms reached up, grabbed the top of the newly created opening and used it as leverage to push my body forward. This is when I realized that I was in a mausoleum. The hidden puppet master beckoned me out of my grave, and now I was lurching through the night like something out of those "B" horror movies you see on late night television. I had no idea where I was going, and contemplated what I had been taught all the years of my life about what was supposed to happen to you when you died, and the stiff realization that this was neither Heaven, nor Hell – not even purgatory, this was Earth – I recognized some buildings as I stumbled by them. Whatever had happened to me, it was not natural and I was in anticipation to discover what had been set in motion.

There were a few people who I ran into while travelling to my destination; a wino homeless man who could barely hold his head up, a hooker who asked me when I got back from Hell and then yelled obscenities at me as I ignored her and staggered on, and some kid with so much metal in his face he almost looked cyborg who merely looked at me as he rolled by on his skateboard as if he were trying to figure out if his eyes were playing tricks on him or not. He almost ran right into one of those large blue US Mail boxes looking back at me. I would have laughed if I could. Given the cast of characters I had run into, I was guessing it was very late at night. After a while I stopped recognizing where I was and walked down several dark back streets. I think about two and a half hours went by and suddenly my body jolted to a stop in front of some ramshackle of a house; old, decrepit, and probably in need of bulldozing. Without a thought to do it, I approached the door and my right hand reached out for the doorknob and turned it. There was a small creaking noise as the rusted hinges moved against each other. The first thing I could see was a huge table with so many candles on it the entire top seemed to be aflame. The scent of salt and incense was thick in the air, coming from another table with one of those portable stove cook tops sitting on top of it. It looked like the corner of the room had a cage of some kind, like something out of a medieval torture chamber. That’s when I heard her voice.

"Hello, Tony. Long time no see."

My entire body moved in the direction of her voice, as if my neck were locked into place. Ayne stood there holding a doll made out of burlap; smiling with a smugness and satisfaction. I suddenly remembered I had screwed this person out of twenty-five thousand dollars – not even that much if you consider that she only wanted enough to cover the actual expenses, which were less. I stole it. I used it to upgrade my house, and left her daughter to struggle in debt to pay off the funeral and cemetery plot her mother lay in, and then the endless red tape I had my lawyers put her through until the statue of limitations finally left no choice but to give up.

"You can speak, until I tell you otherwise," she said. "Do not ever speak over me. Understand?"

I tried to nod my head, but the muscles were not working in my neck, so I simply asked, "What the hell is going on here, Ayne?"

A smile grew wide on her lips. She leaned in to my ear and said "Hell is exactly where you are, you greedy, self-serving piece of pig shit. Get used to it now, because you will be here until I decide to send you on to the afterlife. Things go my way here, insolent prick."

If the heart in my chest wasn’t so dead, it probably would have been beating up to my throat. If my bladder still worked, I would have likely pissed my pants too. In all situations of my adult life, I held the chips, I called the shots. The thought of not being in control terrified me. It would seem she had done some homework.

"What are you going to do to me?" Under the circumstances, I figured the question was valid, perhaps even logical for a dead guy scared shitless in the power of one really pissed off bitch.

"I’m going to collect a little life insurance. I think it’s about due to collect, don’t you?" The cold, yet please smile came again.

Before I could answer, she said "Silence now," and my mouth would no longer move. What the hell was this? Magic? How could this be? The only person I thought who could perform such feats was none other than God himself, much less walk the Earth again after they had departed. I wasn’t Jesus Christ. I could barely wrap my brain around all of these concepts when my focus was directed towards a large object I hadn’t really given much notice to before, since it was covered in a large tarp. Ayne gave one good tug to the fabric like a stage magician pulling the tablecloth from underneath a pile of dishes. There before me was that couch I had so insisted upon keeping all those years earlier, in all of its 1970’s style and stained glory. Despite the fact that it smelled like cigarette smoke and sweat socks no matter how many times I had the thing cleaned, I kept it anyway. A baby shit green divan. I noticed that something looked off, and it was the stitching – it had been loosened or pulled out entirely, exposing the yellowed foam beneath.

"See, you wanted this thing so badly, I figure you’d find it just as irresistible in your death. Now, go eat," she said plainly.

The marionette had made her move, and the puppet complied. I walked over to the couch and started to pull out all the stuffing I could, and then shoving it into my mouth. A terrible laugh of dark amusement came bellowing out of Ayne as I literally stuffed myself. When it became apparent no more was going to go down, I heard the command to stop eating and go to the cage. As I moved I could feel the foam filling that I had crammed down my esophagus moving through my abdomen, through all of my dead intestines. It felt sort of like indigestion and constipation at the same time. Ayne came over behind me as I entered the makeshift prison, and gave my back a shove with her foot. The door of the cage closed with the familiar "clink" of a jail cell, and she locked it.

"This will be your home for the time being. Sorry, no Italian marble floors or weekly housekeeping for you here," she stated in a smart, matter-of-fact tone.

"Sleep," was commanded.

So I slept in the darkness.

When I awakened I found that I had been placed in a bathtub, naked, soaking in some concoction of what smelled like salt and clove. I heard the familiar sound of something boiling on a stove. I tried to sit up, and the noise of the water moving must have drawn attention to me.

"Ah, awake at last," the cold voice said. There was an almost sinister tone to it now, and it filled me with the first real sense of dread I have had since I first opened my dead eyes.

"You were starting to stink up the place and smell like your rotten excuse for a soul, so I had to make you a zombie bath and freshen up the putrid air."

She walked over to me with the look of someone on a mission. Staring me straight in the eyes, the words chilling even my decaying spinal column, she said "Time to pay."

The grin of Beelzebub himself was all over her face; the satisfaction of what was unfolding clearly affecting the course of this resurrection. She pulled the drain of the tub, and ordered me to stay where I was. (Where was I going to go?) She walked away and there I sat in the tub, wet and naked. I suppose I would have been cold had I been alive, my skin would have reacted to the imminent chill. I merely felt the pressure from sitting against the fiberglass surface. I heard the boiling stop, and the familiar noise of liquid being poured into a container. When Ayne returned to my sight, she had a small bottle filled with a blue-purple liquid on top of a small stainless steel tray. Off to my side where my peripheral vision could not see, she grabbed a metal table with wheels in her other hand and pulled it towards me. Placing the tray on top of it, I heard the scoot of metal on concrete, and then she was sitting next to me. Ayne adjusted the small table so that I could see what was there. A saw the shining blade of a scalpel, and some other strange device with springs and a clamp, probably used in surgery of some kind.

"Tilt back your head," she ordered, and I complied.

I felt the hot liquid from the bottle pour down my throat, searing and burning as it went, and as it did I realized that I could feel it. Goose bumps rose on my flesh from head to toe. I was suddenly very aware of just how dead I was. I felt my muscles tighten and rip, my bowels expelled a disgusting muck of green ooze (no wonder I was still in the bathtub). Every nerve previously dull and disconnected now awakened with horrible agony. Even in my state of waking dead, each part of my body that could feel pain did at that moment; when it reached my chest, my heart beat for a mere moment before quieting again. The fierce magic was working its deeds on my body.

"If you think that hurt, just wait," her voice spoke quietly, almost apologetic. Then the wicked smile returned.

"Pick up the scalpel," she commanded.

Without thinking, my hand reached to comply.

"The potion I have given you will allow your dead flesh to feel every wonderful moment of exquisite pain. This way you can properly receive your punishment. Now, cut out your testicles."

My eyes moved to widen, the rejuvenated skin stretching more easily now. A laugh dark and shrill came from behind her lips.

"Obey," she said, and I had no choice but to oblige; the Voodoo magic that had brought me back from the dead also commanded I follow the necromancer’s orders.

Using the sharp blade in one hand, I grabbed my scrotum with the other, all the while my mind was telling myself to stop what I was doing before it was too late, but my hands would not listen. The scalpel cut cleanly despite my amateur surgical skill, a mixture of green and black fluids poured out and stung into the freshly cut skin. I then saw my testicles, from the inside of my body, hanging there by small stringy tubes, resembling grey golf balls, but shriveled and decayed. Grabbing hold of each one at a time, I sliced through the vas deferens and dropped them one by one onto the metal tray where I got the scalpel. By now, my dead brain had finally registered what I had just done, and the agony ensued. My crotch was on fire, and no matter how hard I tried to cry out, all that would escape my mouth were muffled moans.

"You need to shut up. Why don’t you shove those dried up prunes in your mouth?"

I looked into her eyes, and they were black now, so hell bent on making me pay.

"Oh, I suppose that wasn’t really a command, was it. Here, then let me help you with that." She picked up both of my freshly detached nuts and quickly shoved them into my mouth. I probably would have gagged if that reflex was working, but no such luck. Ayne crouched down next to the tub and whispered in my ear, "Chew."

My jaw complied, my teeth grinding what was once the source of my children into a mushy paste. I could have sworn that I felt pain in my scrotum when I was doing this, like when someone severs a limb and can still feel it there?

"Good zombie, now swallow. I wonder how many whores you’ve said that to during your lifetime, eh?"

Struggling, I submitted. The pate slid down my throat into my stomach like a snake through a pipe.

"Now, get rid of that sorry excuse for a penis of yours, and eat it too."

Not only did this sound unappealing for the obvious reasons, I never wanted a cock in my mouth, let alone my own. But I had no way of resisting, no way to fight. I had no other choice. The blade in my hand commanded the crusade against my manhood. I grabbed hold of the end (and damnit, if she wasn’t right – it did look sorry) and started to work in a sawing motion at the base. The exquisite pain she mentioned now ran through my entire corpus, the same gelatinous ooze that came out of my scrotum started pouring out and I just kept going as fast as I could to get it over with. Thanks to the potion all of my nerves were ablaze, a fire that could not be quenched. Once I felt it pull loose from my body, I shoved the thing in my mouth like an obedient dog and chewed on it like a sausage. My half-dead innards wanted to heave and retch, but the muscles just were not functioning to purge. I continued to feast on my manhood, listening to the continuous laughter of Ayne next to my ear. She relished in every second of agony that could be endured. I finished the deed, looking down at myself and realizing that the two things that really made me a man were now gone. But that was not the end of it.

"Now shall we continue with a standard "Y" incision like in your average autopsy, or would you prefer to just go to work?" I looked back to the sharpened steel blade, covered with small bits of my flesh and that disgusting fluid my body had created after death.

"Just get to it, would you? Slice your gullet open."

My arm yielded; the cold sensation of the metal at first and then the wave of torment traveled through every awakened nerve. More of the same nasty greenish fluid came pouring out of me as I ran the blade down through my flesh, from my collarbones to what was left of my groin. The rotten stench of my fetid innards started to rise and fill the room. I continued to draw the scalpel across my skin, creating two flaps in my skin that exposed my ribcage. The pain was so intense at one point I tried to scream out, but no noise would come out.

Ayne pulled the scalpel out of my hand and stabbed it right between my eyes into my forehead as hard as she could.

"Hold on to that for me a second, will ya?"

She grabbed the other device from the table, the one with the clamp and springs. It almost resembled a closed bear trap. Ayne shoved it as hard as she could into my ribcage and started to turn a dial on the side of the device, and my ribs started to spread open. Each brittle bone cracked and snapped under the pressure of the force exerted against them. After the popcorn noises were finished, I could see the horrid sight of all of my internal organs in their festering glory.

"Now, when you cut out your heart, it will be over. That is, it will be over here on Earth. When you are done removing that black lump from your chest, your misery here with me will end, and I send you to be judged by Osiris and kept by Anubis. You will have to contend with your other sins once you get to Amenta."

Her eyes were full, dark, evil, enraged.

"I have defiled your flesh. Anubis will devour your soul."

I closed my eyes and for the first time since this resurrection, I was able to will my hand to obey my own commands, and I reached for the scalpel poking out of my forehead.

All writings contained within these pages are the work and property of Kristen A. Rae. These writings are not to be distributed, repurposed, edited or otherwise used without express permission.