An excerpt from an in-progress horror project.
|The stink of decaying flesh permeated the entire floor, a sickly sweet smell immediately accompanied by a revolting garbage rot. A smell Maximillian Milani had come to know too well. He opened the trunk of his car and set to work carrying the plastic bags containing Raul Hernandez to the mass grave he had cultivated over the past few months. He was a little unsure of the location his employer had ended up choosing for this particular territory, but Galterio himself had assured Max that they had bought off every cop on the beat for a good square four miles of this dumping zone. Still, Max covered his tracks well, if not out of necessity then out of habit.
Raul Hernandez had been a heavyset fellow. Max would have passed up the job if he didn't need to secure himself to this area. He sighed as he tossed two of the twenty plastic parcels containing the separated remains of Raul Hernandez into the dumpster swimming with flies, lye, maggots, and twenty some odd other bodies that had crossed his current employer. Max didn't know what this man had done to warrant Galterio's annoyance, but he hoped it was something downright terrible to put Max through all the trouble of dissecting and transporting 350 pounds of fatty flesh. As he swatted away the hordes of disturbed flies from his path back to the vehicle, Max considered asking for twice the pay for twice the typical man on this job.
“What a father will do for his children,” he said to himself warily, taking a moment to appreciate the sheer mass of plastic bags awaiting him in the air conditioned trunk before resuming the chore.
Despite the butchering of her name, Reika raised her hand to mark her presence for third period English.
Her brother Kenji, however, did not share her dismissive attitude to the erroneous pronunciation.
“It's Kenji Hisakawa-Milani,” he said, not bothering to mask the displeasure in his tone. “And you can leave out the Milani.”
Mrs. Billings glanced up from her roster and addressed her new pupil, also not bothering to mask the displeasure in her tone. “I'll keep that in mind, His-a-ka-wa. And you would do well to remember to raise your hand if you wish to speak during my class.”
Reika glanced over at her twin, seeing a sour frown briefly mar his features before returning to the apathetic mask. As the solemn tone of Mrs. Billings continued down the roster, Reika took a moment to assess the students around her. The privileged offspring of the upper middle class to the very well to do citizens of peaceful Arc Village, she wondered what breed of burden these bland suburbanites brandished. She recognized the social castes these people categorized each other into: the post-era jocks that affiliated themselves with the media-generated hip-hop class of macho posturing thugs, the make-up clad wonderbra clans of pop princess-aspiring females that wielded their sexuality in defense of their otherwise bland personalities, the creatively-bound future failing art majors that shielded their own bland personalities behind their torment and angst, the social stragglers that were left behind in these castes and thereby forming a caste of their own by assigning themselves the role of outcast... Reika had seen several other variations of these adolescent sub-cultures within sub-cultures, but something about Arc had a different feel to the whole game. She couldn't identify just what that difference was, but it seemed to crawl into them from the atmosphere and disrupt the social systems in almost imperceptible ways.
“... turn your books to 24-B, paragraph 12...”
Reika removed her textbook amidst the clamor of papers that gently erupted throughout the small class and turned to the latest assignment, her eyes following the instructed paragraph while her thoughts continued working on their own pursuits. Ever since she had entered the small town, she had witnessed this disruption of the usual social mechanics. People scurrying in an unnecessary hurry through the town, no one causing an unusual distraction to themselves in public, no one gabbing away noisily on their cell phones as they walked down the block... The unusual silence was not as pleasant as Reika had thought the absence of so much sound pollution would be.
But lately, nothing about her life had seemed quite normal. The suddenness of change had caught her entirely off-guard. At least her life in Arizona with her mother had been comfortably homogeneous and controllable. Here, in this chilly semi-rural town with its lush topiary and proudly mowed vastness of lawns leading up to mini-mansions and quaint bed and breakfast inns, everything was foreign and unmanageable to her. The desertion of her brother had left a sour taste in her mouth to top it off. As the remaining force of familiarity, Kenji had decided to carve a new life in this town, much to Reika's dismay. She knew she should feel happy for her brother's pursuit of social success after a lifetime of being at odds with his peers, but she couldn't swallow her resentment towards him for deciding to exclude her from his life in the process. She thought she would be thankful when the day came when he stopped constantly forcing his will upon her, but more than ever she felt as though she needed someone to tell her what to do. Especially with the current dilemma surrounding her father.
She swallowed hard, trying to focus on the teacher reciting whatever Shakespearian verse the class was to identify instead of thinking about the difficult feelings she found herself developing for the strange man that her father was. She'd had crushes in the past, simple but passionate spells of maddening devotion and secret affection, but this wasn't something she could giggle about to a friend at lunch period or relinquish in embarrassed admission through a game of truth or dare. This was an unspeakable taboo that she had to quell before it could possibly approach fully fledged sin. And, in the back of her mind, she knew how much she risked in the heart-fluttering encounters with her biological father, how the innocent bit of flirting that so readily ignited between them could destroy them. Shame flooded her mind as she glanced once again at her brother, who lately never seemed to be paying any attention past the dark fringe of bangs that hung over his eyes. What would he think of her, panting over her own father?
But she couldn't help the electric surge of sensation that occurred in each casual brush of contact with her father, couldn't stop the shy smiles and adoring glances she fell into displaying during simple conversation with the older man, couldn't stop dreaming of his strong arms embracing her in a passionate abandon of morals and social boundaries...
“Reika!” Mrs. Billings sharp tone snapped Reika out of her shameful reverie.
“Y-Yes, Mrs. Billings?” the small girl asked, her eyes nervously darting to her neighboring students' textbooks for a clue of where the lesson had progressed.
“Please read from where I left off,” the teacher ordered.
“Uhh...” Reika shrunk in her seat slightly. “Pass?”
Mrs. Billings frowned deeply.