The Text Message

Driving home from a friends house, you sit at a red light when you hear a familiar tone from your phone, sitting in the passenger seat. A text message. Probably from your friend; you always leave things at their homes. Being a responsible driver, and the light still red, you open the message and wait for a moment for the image to load. Suddenly, a photo pops into view. Red, obscured, strange contrast. And no text accompanying it.

But the light is green, so you close your phone and go back to driving, wondering vaguely what that was, and who would have sent you it. Perhaps someone accidentally took a picture of the inside of their bag or pocket and sent it to you. You’re still caught wondering as you pull up to the next light, also red, and another little tone from your phone. You flip it open, hoping for an apology from a friend, but find yourself waiting as another photo loads on the screen. This one, still mostly red, but textured now with scraps of blue, yet still indiscernible. This time, it takes an impatient honk from behind you before you realize you can pass through the light and be on your way home. Closing the phone, and continue on your way.

You sit uncomfortable now as the tone rings again, at yet another stop signal. You pause, hesitate, and then open the phone. The picture now is suddenly much more clear. That scrap of blue seems to be the ragged edge of a bit of denim, half blood soaked and laying across a pile of entrails, torn straight through the back of a human torso. You can only see from the bottom of the shoulder blade to the tops of the thighs, but its unmistakably human. Blue-white spinal bone smeared in blood, tubes of intestine trailing out between ragged looking spinal tissue and going out of the frame of the picture. You choke back a throat full of bile and throw the phone back into the passenger seat, happy to be on your way again, and dreading the knowledge that you won’t be able to not look as you hear that tone again.

There is some relief as you realize there are no more stoplights before you reach your home. But as you pull up to that red stop sign, the bottom of your stomach drops out and you feel a cold sweat build on the back of your neck. You have already picked up the phone, even before that tell-tale little tone has told you there is a message. The cell vibrates in your hand as you flip it open, your mind gone on auto-pilot, driving home with your eyes on the screen as the newest photo loads. Intestines piled almost artistically to the side of the body, scalp ripped free and no hair discernable, and that sickening contrast of darkening red on blue. For some reason, you expected that, even as you taste bile on the back of your tongue.

Its not as close or obscured. Flesh torn apart by God knows what means, torn denim, and blood soaked so far into the threadbare fabric of a hand-me-down couch. The one you have in your living room. You pull your car into park, hands shaking as you make your way up to your front door. You can’t stop yourself now, your body’s just doing as it normally would, but your finger frantically scrolls down the screen, finding no name, no phone number, and a time dated on the message three minutes from now.

You put the key in the door as you try shrug off your denim jacket.

– The(?) Flea

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