“What the hell are you doing?!”
I heard him struggle against the leather straps holding him to the shiny silver table I used to dissect my specimens. He shouldn’t have woken up at all. I must have miscalculated his weight.
“What the hell are you doing!” I leaned in smiling, mocking him. The ends of my long blonde curls brushed his cheeks, his neck, and lips.
He spat at my hair, unable to brush it away. His hands and feet were bound to the table so tightly I could see the leather cutting into his skin.
“Shit, Monica, I thought this was a hook-up. What the hell kind of freaky shit is this?” He wailed and whined like a child. Pleading, but with a measure of hope that I was into some kind of sick role-play.
“Stop bawling. It’s pathetic,” I snapped and grabbed the anesthesia mask, forcing it over his mouth and nose. “Now, breathe like a good boy and it will be over before you know it.”
He hyperventilated at first, then his breathing slowed and his eyes rolled back toward his forehead. I closed his eyelids and reached for my glistening freshly opened scalpel.
* * *
I sat in Dr. O’Leary’s waiting room listening to the soothing sounds of whatever rainforest cd she had playing over her sound system. Soft echoes of birds and frogs chirped under rain falling through thick leaves. I hated them. I squirmed in the pink leather chair and it squeaked under my dark jeans. I rubbed at my arms, covered in goosebumps, because the office was always freezing. The clock on the wall began to tick louder and louder. One minute, then two, passed by like lifetimes. I curled and stretched the fingers on my left hand, forgetting. A shock of searing pain radiated up my forearm and I winced automatically. With my palm outstretched, I examined the white gauze bandages wrapped delicately around the base of my index and middle fingers. Like an apparition revealing itself, a pool of scarlet blood appeared on the fabric. I gazed at it as it grew larger, hoping I hadn’t done any major damage.
“Monica,” Dr. O’Leary said with her bright voice from the doorway.
My head shot up with a forced smile plastered across my lips, and I curled the fingers on my bandaged hand to conceal the fresh blood. I hoisted my little leather satchel onto my shoulder and stood up.
“Hi, Dr. O’Leary.” I mumbled as I walked through the door and down the hallway to her office.
Dr. O’Leary’s office was painted a comforting shade of periwinkle, a therapist’s calming tactic. She had an overstuffed slate gray couch and two matching chairs in a little sitting area complimented by convenient end tables adorned with brightly colored boxes of Kleenex. In the back of her office was a vintage mahogany desk with an open laptop computer, over which hung several shelves of psychology books. I never tired of studying the various degrees that hung like trophies on the wall.
“How are you feeling today, Monica?” She asked as she took her usual seat in one of the armchairs.
“The usual, I guess.” I said as I sat with my arms folded across me on the couch.
“Still feeling a little lost, then?”
“I guess,” I shrugged. I stared right through her thinking about the warm sensation of the blood at the base of my fingers.
“Have you tried any of my recommendations? The local theatre just had auditions. Did you go?”
“Monica, are you with me today?” She pressed, “Did you audition for the local theatre? Have you attempted to make any new friends? Go on a date, maybe?”
“Yes. I mean, no. I mean, I didn’t audition. I did have a date. It didn’t work out.”
“Well, I’m disappointed you didn’t audition. From what you’ve told me acting and theatre were always a big part of what made you, you. But going on a date is a big step. Why didn’t it work out?”
“Oh, well. He wasn’t a very good match.” I said waiving my hand in the air.
“What happened to your hand?” Dr. O’Leary asked.
“Kitchen accident,” I said pulling my hand back, “I can be such klutz.”
“I see. So, what else is going on?”
“I don’t know doctor. I just feel so restless. Since the accident, I feel like the whole world looks and sounds and feels different. I can’t wrap my head around it, ya know? Like, if I could somehow switch out my eyes for new ones, my tongue for someone else’s, my heart for one that was never damaged…”
“Monica, everyone experiences loss. You nearly died in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t stop that man from drunk driving. You had no way of preventing what happened to you. You survived, though. We just need to get you living again.”
“Living a brand-new life…” I murmured.
* * *
I stood over the white porcelain sink in my bathroom. The cold black and white tile under my feet kept me grounded as I unraveled the gauze around my index and middle finger and searing pain shot through my left hand. The once blanched gauze was now crimson and heavy. I tossed it into the wastebasket. Tiny droplets of blood fell from my new fingers and landed with tiny splashes in the sink. I had torn my stitches. The flesh at the base of my fingers was stretched and splitting. Red muscle beneath it bulged as if it were attempting an escape. I sighed in frustration and opened the medicine cabinet above the sink where I kept my small medical kit. I sat it on the faucet and removed the suturing materials. Carefully, I cut through my already angry flesh and reattached the two new fingers I had harvested from Jake a few days ago. I smiled as I recalled how easily I had found a man with such dainty hands. Still, I needed to take care that these new fingers of mine took. I didn’t want to have to hunt down another feminine-handed fellow.
Freshly sutured and wrapped, I would be sure to be gentler with my hand until my fingers healed. I plopped down on my couch cradling my phone in my right hand. I logged into my Winker app to check out any potential matches.
The thing about Winker was that no one on it was really looking for love, and everyone on it was looking for a quick hook-up. Married men used it to cheat on their wives, with women or with men, men and women used it to explore their sexuality, and everyone used it to get laid when they were having a dry spell or when they just didn’t feel like putting real effort into an actual relationship. The script generally went something like; converse via chat for a period of time, exchange scandalous photos, arrange a time, hook-up, never speak again. Except in my case, the script changed to harvest, bury the body, go on with your life. What I looked for wasn’t a good personality, or great looks; all I really cared about was whether or not the part I was harvesting could pass as my own. If my doctor couldn’t fix me, I would fix myself. Replace the eyes I couldn’t bare to look at the world through, replace the fingers that had touched the faces of everyone who hurt me…you get the idea.
As I scrolled through my gallery of potential matches I discarded all the ones that didn’t meet my requirements; zooming in and examining their eyes with a microscopic lens. Too green, too many golden flecks, too dull and gray. Then, Lucas appeared. Brown hair, an innocent smile, perfect sky-blue eyes with a few green sparkles around the iris. I leaned my head from side-to-side and cracked the vertebrae in my neck, stretched out my new index finger and pushed the hot pink “connect” button on my screen.
I was in the kitchen working on using my new fingers to separate coffee filters, admiring how well my stitches were healing, when my phone emitted a high-pitched ding. I placed the filter in the machine, filled it with grounds, and pushed the brew button. Then, I walked to the couch and propped my feet on the coffee table while I checked my phone. Lucas.
Hey gorgeous. Can’t wait
to get our groove on
Can’t wait to finally meet you
and look into those beautiful
blue eyes of yours.
Oh, you’ll get to see
a lot more than those.
Sure you don’t want a
Let’s keep it a surprise.
Your place at 9?
See you then, handsome.
Men were always so easy. These guys would bend over backward for a pretty girl and the promise of an easy hook-up. I, personally, hated the song and dance process of getting them to my house, but it had to be done here. This was where my work room was, where my tools were, where it was safest. My house was on a little dirt road in the country. My closest neighbors were five acres away. It was quiet, peaceful, and the deer in the back didn’t ask questions.
I stood in my bedroom admiring myself in the antique full-length mirror that stood on the floor. I had put on a tight black dress that hugged my curves, accentuated my petite waist and gave the illusion my bust was larger than the universe had gifted me. My long hair hung in curls that transitioned from chestnut brown to honey blonde where it ended at my breasts. I wore only a hint of makeup except the lipstick that would match Lucas’ dripping blood. Nude heels completed my ensemble, forcing the perception that my already long legs were like the Empire State building. I tilted my head and practiced a few dimwitted smiles in the mirror; giggled stupidly. Lucas would disarm himself immediately, and if he didn’t, I had extra help.
Just before nine o’clock my doorbell chimed, and I scurried to the front door, took a deep breath, plastered a grin across my face, and flung the door open. Lucas stood there in the dim light with a bouquet of daisies in his hand. He was a little taller than I had expected, slightly more muscular too. His arms and chest pulled at the tight black t-shirt he was wearing, and his jeans hugged his thighs telling me he definitely hit the gym regularly.
“Lucas,” I said grinning.
“Hi, Monica. Wow! You look great. Way better than your picture.”
He was clearly a smooth one. I stepped to the side and waved my arm, motioning for him to come in.
“It’s great to finally meet you.” I said.
“I have really been looking forward to tonight,” he stepped in and hugged me tight.
I pulled back a little too quickly, which made him seem uncomfortable. I tried to recover.
“Don’t want to smash these,” I said taking the flowers from his hand. “They’re so pretty.” His sky-blue eyes glittered in the light from my entrance way. It was so peculiar staring into them, like looking into a mirror. “Perfect,” I breathed.
“Sorry, I said perfect. The flowers are perfect. Let me go put them in water. Why don’t you get comfortable on the couch? Do you want a drink?”
“That would be great,” he said rubbing his neck, “I’d love a beer.”
“I make a mean whisky and Coke. Fresh out of beer.”
I went to the kitchen and ran water into a circular glass vase for the daisies. I held them gingerly with my new working fingers, the stitches still in place, and cut with my good right hand. Then, I made Lucas his drink. I always offered my male guests whiskey because its bitterness masked the taste of the Rohypnol that I used to subdue them and transport them to my basement. The drug worked quickly, so once they were eagerly compliant they were happy to follow me wherever I asked. Lucas was pretty big, I threw in a little extra. I didn’t want him waking up like Jake had. That seemed cruel.
“One whiskey and Coke,” I chimed as I walked around the couch and sat next to Lucas.
“Hey, thanks doll,” he raised his glass for a toast. “To an adventurous evening?” He lifted an eyebrow.
“To an adventurous evening,” I clinked my wineglass.
Fifteen minutes later Lucas’ head dangled from the back of my couch and his arms hung limp at his sides. I had clearly given him too much Rohypnol. He should have been awake, but groggy. Now, I’d have to figure out a way to transport his giant frame to my basement.
I went to my hallway closet and dug out an old sheet I didn’t mind parting with. It was pink paisley, kind of adding insult to injury for poor Lucas, good thing he’d never see it. I laid it out on the living room floor and heaved and rolled his unconscious body onto it. Leaving my heels in the living room, bare feet made for better traction, I pulled Lucas like an ox pulls a cart to my basement door. I opened it and studied the wooden staircase. I could’ve laid down some flat pieces of wood to build a makeshift ramp, but why eat up the time? My good friend, Lucas, wouldn’t feel a quick tumble down a few or ten steps. So, I grabbed the end of the sheet, shimmied him to the edge, and stood to the side as he rolled like a log down the stair case. Once he was in my makeshift operating room, I just had to get him on my work table. That took a strong back on my part, but I got him positioned and strapped in. I placed the anesthesia mask I bought online over his face as a precautionary measure.
When I harvest, it doesn’t matter much how I treat the donor, but I need to be sanitary for my own sake. After all, I am the recipient.
I pulled on a pair of latex gloves and sanitized everything in the room. Threw them out. Replaced them. Then, retrieved a fresh set of tools for the procedure.
With the utmost care I scooped Lucas’ eye from the orbital bone and muscles holding it in place, leaving the optic nerve intact so that I could fuse it with my own. I held it like a fragile piece of ancient glass in my palm as the nerves dangled dripping blood from my palm into the cavernous hole in Lucas’ face. I placed the beautiful piece of him into a cooler to preserve it for my own operation. Increasing the amount of anesthesia Lucas sucked into his lungs would let him die slowly, painlessly.
When his heart stopped, I rolled him into a wheelbarrow and took him out the backdoor and deep into my pasture. The moon was brilliant; an iridescent white globe that lit the countryside. I could see deer leap across the meadow as I trudged along. Near some high weeds, I had dug a makeshift grave; ready to receive my donor. I dumped him in and filled the hole.
“Thanks, Lucas. Sorry about the whole killing you thing. I’ll take good care of it.” I said in memorial. “Oh well, time for surgery.”
* * *
“I’m concerned that we haven’t seen each other in two months,” Dr. O’Leary half scolded.
“I know,” I said, “I have just been so busy.”
“Journaling.” I lied.
“I went on another date. I have also been going hiking a lot, and gardening.”
“How did the date go?”
“He was nice, but I don’t think I’ll see him again.” I stifled a smile.
“He reminded me of my brother.”
“You’re an only child.”
“If I had a brother, I mean.”
“We’re coming up on the five-year anniversary of your accident. How do you feel about that?” Dr. O’Leary asked, her pencil hovering over her legal pad.
“Ok, I guess. I think I’m starting to see things from a new perspective.” I blinked my eyes. The transplanted right one had taken wonderfully. It healed quickly, and I was left with only a mild blurriness as the optic nerve continued to fuse. Soon, I would see the world differently. Through the lens of someone who hadn’t suffered as horrifically as I had.
“Do you think you’re ready to forgive him?”
“No.” I grimaced. “I’ll never forgive him. My heart will never feel anything but hate for that awful man. He should have suffered the way I did. The way I still do.”
“Alright, Monica. I see we aren’t there yet. If you never get there, that’s ok. Someday, forgiveness might set you free, though. Think about it when you’re ready.” She looked at her watch. “I think we’re good for today. Let’s see you back in two weeks.”
My phone dinged later that night. It was unexpected. I hadn’t attempted to match with anyone as my eye continued to heal. I checked my Winked app and saw a message from Todd Reading.
Hey sexy. I hesitated messaging,
you’re way out of my league,
but those eyes!
Those eyes indeed. Ok, I’d play along.
Haha. Thanks. You aren’t so
What are you wearing?
I shook my head and laughed under my breath. Oh, Todd. Let’s dance. I was sure he could donate something.
* * *
September 26th, the five-year anniversary of my near fatal accident. I prepared in my bedroom for a date with Todd Reading, who just happened to find me on Winked. He seemed like a pretty decent guy on paper. He volunteered at a no-kill animal shelter, he had four dogs of his own, he even distributed care packages to the homeless once a month. I was reluctant to harvest from someone that active in the community, honestly, but I had decided Todd would be my last. The final piece to the puzzle, if you will.
He arrived right on time, nine o’clock, just like the others. He laughed and smiled as I winked at him with my right eye. I didn’t do it intentionally, I was still trying to get the damn thing to cooperate, but I played if off and ushered him inside.
“Can I get you a drink?”
“Just a soda would be great.”
“I make a mean whiskey and Coke.”
“I don’t drink.” He said a little embarrassed.
Weird. I hoped he had enough manners not to complain about a strange tasting Coke.
I went into the kitchen and opened two glass bottles, dumping the Rohypnol into Todd’s. Then sat next to him on the couch. He took a sip and contorted his face. I smiled and quickly tried to distract him.
“Cheers to meeting new people!”
“Cheers to that,” he said and took another sip.
I reached out and tipped the bottle back forcing him to drink more. I got about half the bottle in him before he put it down.
“So, what made you want to work with animals?” I asked.
“I have always just really loved them. Dogs especially,” he said. “They can really be your best friend when you’ve got no one else, ya know?”
I was in the kitchen getting a bowl of tortilla chips and spicy salsa.
“Yeah, I’m allergic.”
“That sucks,” he said.
I brought the chips and salsa in and sat them in front of him. Then, I gave him a coy smile as if to say, “here eat,” and he did. Between the salt and the heat, he drank the rest of the Coke.
Within 30 minutes Todd was feeling pretty good. I stood up and smiled at him wiggling my finger in a “come hither” motion. He stood up, leaned right, left, fell over, caught himself on the couch, straightened up, and started stumbling like Frankenstein after me.
“Come on, Toddy. I have a surprise down here.” I cooed.
“In the basement?” He slurred.
“Mmmmm hmmmmm. Come on.”
He followed me down the stairs and gaped around the room with wide-eyed wonder like a kid in a candy store. He was delirious, confused, and suddenly found himself in the middle of an O.R. with a girl he met online.
“Lie down on this table, Todd. You look tired.”
“Why?” He asked suspiciously.
“It’s a fun game I like to play. You want to have fun, don’t you?”
“Yesh.” He stumbled and hopped onto the table.
I strapped his arms and legs down with the leather cuffs and made sure they were totally secure. Todd wasn’t going anywhere.
“What now?” He asked.
“Now, Todd, I have a question for you.”
“What’s that?” He giggled.
“Look at my face, Todd. Do I look familiar to you?”
“Yeah, you’re Monica.”
“Guess again, pumpkin.” I said in a sickly-sweet voice.
“Maybe I’d look more familiar if I was covered in blood. Would that help? If I was in a car bleeding to death? Maybe if I was on a stretcher?” I was nose-to-nose with him now. Breathing my hot breath right into his eyes. “Any of this ringing a bell, Todd!”
“Holy shit,” he breathed.
“Holy shit! Holy shit, indeed! How about that? What a small world. You almost killed me, and then you tried to screw me!”
“I didn’t know.”
“Now, you do.” I breathed deep and sighed. “And I finally get to make you hurt like I did.”
“Monica, I did my time for that, please.” He pleaded through thick sticky saliva and a tongue that wasn’t working quite right.
“Three years. The justice system is broken, Todd. I’m going to fix it.”
I went to my cabinet and picked out an old rusty scalpel that I kept from a collection of antique medical equipment I purchased from an estate sale. I held it in the bright white overhead light above the table where Todd attempted to fight, fruitlessly. He wouldn’t get the benefit of anesthesia, I couldn’t be anesthetized for the rest of my life. He screamed and begged when he saw the red-orange rust that dulled the silver blade. It no longer shined for the deep tarnish that ate away at its body. He knew it wouldn’t be pleasant.
“Probably grit your teeth for this,” I whispered in Todd’s ear.
I walked around the stainless-steel table and placed the blade in the center of Todd’s chest pressing it into his skin. He whimpered and cried, tears streaming down his reddened cheeks when the dull blade punctured his skin. When I drug it down he screamed like a banshee. He passed out as I burrowed my ungloved hands deep inside his chest, blood streaming down his body, the table, and onto the floor. When I held his beating heart in my hands, I held redemption. My suffering was finally over.
#HumpdayHorror #StressCracks #KiraMcKinney Copyright KiraMcKinney
Welcome to my blog. Sit back and enjoy a short story, a poem, or some flash fiction--whatever I have recently cooked up. I will post a new piece as often as possible. Check back once a week to see what's new.