Waking up in his box, on his mattress, McIntosh felt as if he had gone to heaven. The comfort of that tattered, sponge bedding was exquisite in comparison to being tied to a tree and even though he had lost more appendages the mattress warmed his soul. Soon after McIntosh awoke he heard Joseph walking around upstairs. He sounded angry, muttering to himself and stomping around the kitchen. The calmness McIntosh had felt when he awoke shattered as the stomping approached the basement door, which flung open, and when the side of the box slid open the sight of Fay crushed any sense of self left in McIntosh.
There was a madness that poured from Joseph Fay’s eyes. It leered at McIntosh from inside Fay as if he was just a vessel for some demon thirsty for human blood. Having been so polite to McIntosh throughout his stay at Park Castle the shift to outright murderous chilled McIntosh’s blood. He had known the raw truths of fear and suffering but when Joseph grabbed his leg and pulled him out of his box a coldness frozen McIntosh where he lay. Without a word Joseph reached his hand behind his back and pulled filleting knife from his belt. Still pinned to the ground with terror, McIntosh could only watch as his attacker grabbed his knee and slide the knife down it in a slow and steady gliding motion. The shock and the sharpness of the knife precluded pain, at first, but after a few seconds the white hot sheering of the skin on McIntosh’s shin erupted and brought screams so loud that he himself could scarce hear them.
Once Fay had reached the bottom of McIntosh’s shin he didn’t cut the last strap of skin that connected the strap of loose material to just above the stump. Instead, he wrapped it once around his fist and pulled it, tearing the skin into a jagged mess. Then he lunged at McIntosh’s face with it.
“EAT IT!! FUCKING EAT IT!! OPEN YOUR FUCKING MOUTH YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT! FUCKIGN EAT IT!!!”
Still stunned and lost in himself, McIntosh just looked at Fay. He had never seen anyone so overcome by rage. The slab of skin and blood writhed as Joseph tried to force it into McIntosh’s mouth, but in his state of awe the narrow slit of skin that had been made when his face was amputated wasn’t wide enough.
“I’LL FUCKING CUT YOUR FACE OPEN IF YOU DON’T EAT IT, MCINTOSH! I FUCKING WILL AND YOU KNOW IT!! NOW EAT IT!! EAT IT!! EAT… ”
In an involuntary motion opened McIntosh’s mouth and as it did Fay punched the already cold length of skin into the opening. The pain in his leg and the pain in his face trembled as the pain in McIntosh’s mind shut down his ability to think. Stuck in opened position, his jaw stayed ajar and this enraged Joseph Fay even further.
“CHEW IT YOU FUCK! CHEW IT! DON’T JUST LAY THERE LOOKING AT ME, CHEW IT!! NOW!! I’LL FUCKING CAVE YOU FACE IN!! CHEW! CHEW!! NOW!!”
Still unable to think, McIntosh watched as Fay reared up and then came down on his face with an elbow so hard that it split open the flat, stretched skin where his nose used to be. The force of it rang in McIntosh’s ears.
Another blow came down and caused an audible crash of the bones in McIntosh’s cheeks.
Somehow McIntosh’s brain made the connection and his jaw came up and his teeth tried to chew the leather-like slithering of his own shin. It was cold and tough and so large that breathing with it in his mouth was almost impossible. Pink saliva gushed from McIntosh’s mouth as tears flowed from his eyes and blood seeped from the open wound where his nose had been.
Another elbow came down, accompanied by a tight hand around his throat, choking out what little air he could take into his lungs. As the hand on his throat tightened another elbow came down on his stomach and winded him. The asphyxiation and the pain and the blood in his eyes made McIntosh inhale blood and as he was about to spit out the clump of skin Joseph’s palms came down over his mouth. Unable then to breath without a nose, McIntosh felt the cold hands of death run themselves up his leg and over his stomach, then up to his throat, and just as he began to pray for death Fay released him and rolled him onto his front and slapped him on his back to help him cough and breath and live.
“Easy now, Eli. Easy. You’ll be ok. I’ll make you some pancakes. You rest now. Don’t overexert yourself.”
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey