This story gives new meaning to someone who has a “mind of their own.”
Stories about parts of our bodies taking on lives of their own can be interesting. Is it an obvious story idea for writers…or is it more symptomatic of something else? A lack of trust in ourselves? Our perceived “dueling nature”? I don’t know. All I wonder is how heinous (I use this word a lot) would it be if something inside us…that was so a part of us…was trying to get out…?
This story was actually published in the Czech magazine, Ikarie—and even had a cool “pulp” illustration you can see at the end of the story (the illustration isn’t exactly as it should be, you’ll understand after reading it, but it’s still so dang cool—someone created an interpretation of something I wrote!—which is why I love having cover artists come up with their own ideas about my work)! The illustrator was Renatá Fučíková. It was also translated into Czech, which I also thought was extremely cool, my title translated into “Mozky.” The translator was Jan Kantůrek. And how cool (did I mention?) that I found some links to these two after all these years! I’d also received payment for the story, and no, I no longer remember how much it was, but the thrill of it was priceless! People in another land were reading my words in another language!
This was published in the July 1992 issue of Ikarie : Měsíčník science fiction.
© F. P. Dorchak, 1991
What causes them? Why do people get them? What makes them so painful? There are many different trains of thought, but I know what really causes them and why they’re so painful.
Something’s trying to get out.
I get them all the time now and have seen their end results. I will be an end result.
It all started—hell, I don’t even know how long it’s been anymore—these damned headaches—migraines—have begun to distort so much of what we call reality I’m beginning to wonder what is truth and what is reality! God, how it hurts! The pain, here it comes! It knows what I’m saying, of course, so there is little respite in what I do, but I have to get it all down before I, like the others, have my turn at death. Shit, it hurts.
It began, well…when it began.
I was taking a walk down a beach one night, by myself as I usually do anymore since the divorce, and I came upon this body in the darkness. At first I thought it was the usual variety of beach bum that inhabit these shores, but something was different about this one, even in its death as I soon discovered it was. It seemed more than vacated; ravaged. I know that the prime directive of discovering bodies (besides calling the authorities) is to leave things as they are, but I felt there was something I should see, something more than the husk that lay before me, curled up on its side, water just barely lapping beside it. Picking up a stick, I poked around, then brought out the mini flashlight I carry with me on such nightly excursions. It was then that I found that ghastly opening.
In the head.
God, the memory of that still fills me with such unutterable dread!
I should have turned away and gone for the phone immediately, should not have indulged my curiosity and dilly-dallied one second longer! Oh, that god, Hindsight!
But I did and here I am, cursed by that decision that the day holds so many of.
I took my stick—and flashlight riding shotgun—did a most fiendish thing. I stuck it inside.
I felt it tapping the hard edges of the skull…inside…I felt it disturb the violated air…inside…air that shouldn’t have been in there. And I felt yet another blasphemous thing, something I should not have felt, but did.
I felt nothing inside that skull. It was totally devoid of any so-called gray matter. This was probably the most heinous instance of the entire encounter that made my blood run cold. What was such a large opening doing there, inside this poor dead man’s head? What or who had done such a thing?
I didn’t stay any longer at that point, tossing the stick aside and sprinting to the nearest phone booth. Fear added the speed as I am not one prone to the current fitness craze, and it drove me madly indeed! But in my initial haste, my feet nearly fell upon something in the sand not far from the body. I know now what that thing was—but not then. I thought it a jelly fish and just narrowly was able to avoid it. I didn’t see where it went off to, but as it turned out, didn’t have to worry about it. They…would find me soon enough—
Pain, more pain.
God, I think it does this to tease me! It has no intentions of killing me just yet, I think. If it had wanted to, it could surely have a long time ago. It’s playing with me, the bastard. I think it wants me to do this.
Anyway, I finally called the cops and gave them all the information they wanted and, naturally, they kept me away from the scene once they got there. They were just as flabbergasted as I was when they found…that hole. But after grilling me for what seemed like weeks, nothing more came of it. I found the incident reported in the papers sometime later, but, curiously so, there was nothing mentioned of the hole in the head. The lack of a brain….
So my life went on as usual for a while and I continued to take my nightly strolls—ever careful to avoid that one particular spot. Glancing at it occasionally from afar, I wondered if the surf from the sea could ever adequately wash the lingering abomination from those sands.
Well, one night, a moonlit one, I found myself walking behind a fairly amorous couple, up ahead from me some hundred feet. There was lots of the usual hugging and handholding, all of which made me surprisingly angry. My divorce was barely a year old and I didn’t need the memories that now flooded my…my mind.
As the lot of us continued up the beach, I noticed the couple suddenly part, the screams from the woman brutally assaulting my ears. I stopped, initially wondering if they were horseplaying, but soon noticed that wasn’t the case. Then the girl turned in my direction and saw my silhouette. Help, she screamed, it’s attacking him, she cried! That’s when fear again made me sprint. I began wondering if maybe I should have gotten caught up in this fitness thing….
When I got up to them I found the girl kicking at the thing that was on her boyfriend.
I stopped in horror, I couldn’t believe what it was I was seeing!
It looked like a gigantic spider, its spindly legs gripping the guy’s back as he thrashed around in the sand. The thing’s body was about the size of a cantaloupe, or melon, and it seemed dark in color, its legs shooting out like unwieldy sticks. It was most horrendous to look at…to touch…to…grab it was unthinkable.
The girl continued screaming and pleading for me to do something, quickly pulling me out of my daze. So I began kicking at it. A few of my kicks missed their mark and I hit her boyfriend, but I’m sure he didn’t mind all that much. Shortly I was able to loosen it and watched it tumble off and roll along the sand, its legs curled up like a spider’s would, but it quickly rolled around and got back up on its legs—and scurried back for the guy. I intercepted it, but it then tried to get me. It was almost like trying to swat an annoying insect buzzing about your head. And the thing seemed ungainly swift for all its awkwardness. Looking for the couple, I saw the girl desperately pulling her boyfriend to his feet and dragging him away. He appeared hurt. The thing had hurt him. That was a mistake, looking away, and before I knew what was happening, the thing was upon me.
It climbed steadily up my legs…my chest…and I became almost as helpless as the man I had been trying to save was!
I felt its spindly legs grappling my body, felt its sustained movement up my body like nausea—then I felt it.
I was closer to it than I had ever wanted to be—and just moments ago I was so afraid of touching it! Now I was fighting for my life, valiantly trying to push all my repulsion aside. I grabbed for the thing and felt its legs fight me. In the moonlight I finally got a good look at it. A good look.
It was no spider.
This thing had implications a mind as mine couldn’t begin to comprehend, let alone want to. It was something worse than any spider I’d ever seen or heard of—it was…it was
(oh, the pain is so terrible!)
I’m no anatomy expert, no spider-ologist or whatever the term is, but this thing looked exactly like a human brain, grooves, ridges and all.
Except for the spider legs which transported it.
I think I vomited at that point, but I don’t remember…all I knew was that I had to get this abomination off me!
The couple had long ago run off, and I was left alone to fend for myself, wrestling with this demon-thing. I grabbed it with both my hands….
The feeling was as one would expect from handling a brain, except for its pulsating movements. It was alive in more than the intellectual sense. I could feel life surging through its form, contracting against my hold, fighting. I gripped tighter and tried to pry it from my chest. It was easier to do then I had thought, especially after having had seen such a large amount of horror movies showing things like this as hard to remove. Holding the slimy thing away from my body I took a moment to inspect what this…brain…was. Its legs curled and continuing to fight, the whole of the brain pulsated, but underneath I saw something else. Where this one part of the brain tapers down and has the connection with the spinal cord—I’m not sure what it’s called, the medulla or something—was a scene so utterly horrid and vile I could stand it no longer. This…medulla…was undulating in a most revolting and sickening fashion. The only thing that came to mind was a man’s actions during copulation…and this I know forced more vomit from me. I cast it away from me…the ocean I thought…I had hoped the salt would have an effect on it, a wholly negative one I prayed….
Collapsed and exhausted on the sand, I tried catching my breath.
What manner of beast was that?
What…what could cause a human brain to transform itself into as such a vile nightmare?
I was numb. I momentarily forgot about the thing as I wallowed in my own contempt and vertigo and disgust…became suddenly hateful of life—of myself, of my brain. That that thing could take such a beautiful act of love-making and make a hideous mockery of it—a travesty beyond all description!
That was when I felt it clamp down on my neck from behind.
It had hopped back up on me and lay straddled there, legs wrapped around my neck!
I could feel the horribleness of its pulpy sponginess—like someone had laid a sloppy internal organ on the back of my neck. I could feel the salt water dripping down around my neck and into my chest.
Then I felt it copulating me!
Oh, God, the repulsion!
I felt the forceful insertion of its medulla into the base of my skull as easily as a man inserts his organ into a woman, then felt with shocked, childlike helplessness as I was raped, brain-semen pumped into me. The violation was far too intense for my conscious mind to bear and my body—my mind—was frozen…locked…in fear. I was utterly unable to move. The only thing I was able to do to combat the rape was to close my eyes and try not to think about it.
It seemed to take forever. I lost consciousness before it was over.
I woke up early that next morning with an acute migraine, dry heaves my only breakfast.
Rolling over, I felt a crunching sound and spastically pushed myself away. I saw the brain’s legs smashed, its body desiccated and shrunk. Trying to stand, a pain stabbed me in the base of my neck. Managing to get to my feet I looked around me…the world reeled and spun. Bringing my hand to my neck I felt the hole of insertion now closed…remnants of some God forsaken violation still spent about my neck. Its stickiness and repugnance drove me to the sea where I tried to cleanse myself and again and again I vomited dry heaves….
I brought myself in to the doctor’s later that day, under the ruse I had been out swimming and was stung by a jelly fish, but all the doctor could say was that I was indeed having migraines and prescribed me medication—which, by the way didn’t even begin to help—and sent me on my way. As he walked out, I noticed how he clenched his teeth and rubbed his own neck.
God, won’t this pain ever stop?
Right now the pain is a dull, throbbing ache deep within my head—my brain. I can feel it trying to get out—it wants out, damn it! It knows what I know, knows it must rally with the others! It is a squeeze worse than any diver’s squeeze I’ve ever experienced, but in the reverse.
I’ve since terminated my nightly walks along the beach…the pain too great…the-the implications too great…not to mention the thought of finding others like what I found terrifying. I don’t know what their purpose is…other than to kill and reproduce…but I do know they are multiplying.
It’s like I can feel them…feel their forces growing….
Maybe there is a psychic link or something between them, maybe they already know I’m on to them…why people are getting migraines…why they are so unbearable. I only wish there was more that I could do! The thought of something coming to life inside my head…trying to get out is unbearable…but the thought that countless other demon spawn are doing the same thing all over this country—maybe the world—is much worse. I don’t know if I have the strength to do what needs to be done, but hope I do. How else will others believe me? These things are somehow growing in strength and they need to be stopped. I don’t know how they’re doing it without most people knowing about it—in people’s sleep maybe—but maybe just by pure out-and-out attacks. Maybe…maybe they’re getting bolder. I have pictures in my mind—
I don’t have…much…time!
Oh, dear God, it hurts!
I-I have pictures in my mind of…multitudes…of these things running loose. They’re…getting smarter. More daring….
It’s time…I can last no longer.
I’m going to let it come, let the world see its coming and hopefully somebody—somebody stronger than I—can put an end to this. To them. Good bye, and…and…God bless. I’m so scared…God bless us, everyone….
Doctor Filbert hit “pause.”
“Are you sure you want to see the rest of this?” he asked.
Doctor Stevens “He is clearly having a mental breakdown of some kind…,” she said, unconsciously played with the box the video had come in.
“It’s not a very pretty sight,” Filbert said, with a slight grin. “In fact it’s pretty gross…even for me.”
Tina could’ve sworn there was a slight grin at the corners of his mouth. She never did like the man, but he was a decent surgeon.
If this poor man in the video was telling the truth, she hadn’t any idea what was going to happen next. She again looked to the note that he had left beside the video cam: “If anybody finds me, get this video to the medical authorities as if your life depends on it, for in truth it does. And be careful for your brains. You can’t trust them—especially those of you with migraines. Beware migraines! Beware brains!”
“Okay, here it goes.”
Filbert hit “play” and the screen came back to life.
The man was no longer talking, but crying. Huge tears poured out of his eyes as he struggled and pleaded with an unseen something in his seat.
But he’d done a good job of securing himself with Velcro and rope.
Then he screamed, and Filbert quickly lowered the volume. They were screams unlike any Tina had ever heard, the tortured screams of a dying man. Tina couldn’t turn away.
The man’s tears gave way to blood.
Tina watched as the man’s head bulged and swelled…his voice grew so strained she heard it crack…and finally die, as the man finally slumped.
Out from his head legs sprouted.
The legs were followed by a silent explosion of gore from the side of the head, some of which landed on the camera lens—
And out from the head crawled the brain—his brain—just as the man had described. It scampered down his lifeless form and across the floor somewhere…out of camera view. Filbert shut it off. Tina sat stunned.
“What a show, eh?” Filbert said.
“How—how can that be real?”
“What, you think that’s real? C’mon, Tina, it’s the product of a crazed—”
“I don’t believe so. This was too real. Too intense.”
“Well if you believe that, you’re not much better off than the whack job who made it. I’m trashing it—”
“No! Not until we look into it!”
“Right, who’s going to believe you?”
“Me. And that’s where it all starts. This guy gave his life to get…this…to us and I think we owe him, owe ourselves, no matter how outrageous it must sound, to look into it! How did you get this?”
Filbert looked to her. The lights were still off in the x-ray room where Doctor Filbert had dragged her into, to watch this.
“Thomas, let me ask you something. Why did you show it to me if you don’t believe it then?”
Filbert stood silently for a moment, casually placing the video on the patient slab. He paced the room.
“Because I wanted to get you in here, alone with me. Wanted to share it with someone before I trashed it.”
Tina suddenly realized where the video was and where Filbert was standing. He was by the power panel.
He just smiled. “Tell me you wouldn’t—”
“Oops,” he said, smiling, and Tina heard the power switch on just as she got up to snatch the tape. She heard him laughing behind her as the x-rays poured out of the instrument and into the tape.
“Jesus, Tina, it was just a joke I was playing on you, God! I made the whole thing up! It’s a practical joke—you know! I wanted to get you alone so we could go out tonight. What do you say? Date?”
Tina looked up at him from the slab as she leaned over it. Hate filled her eyes.
“Never. In a million years. Would I ever…go out with you.”
Filbert laughed and he continued laughing.
He laughed as she stormed out of the room.
“Oh, I don’t think so, Tina!” he shouted out after her, “I’ll get you, one way or the other, I will get you, Doctor Stevens!”
The door swung in her wake as Filbert went over to the slab and picked up the video.
“Yes, Tina, we will get you,” he said, stuffing an errant leg back into his left ear.
- The Ballad of fReD BeAn (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Spirit of Hope (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Fear (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Rainy Nights and Christmas Lights (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Ice Gods (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Tick, Tick, Tick, Tock (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Dark Was The Hour (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Coming of Light (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The World’s Greatest Writer (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Death of Me (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Tail Gunner (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Do The Dead Dream? (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Short Stories (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Voice (amazon.com)
- Psychic (amazon.com)
- ERO (amazon.com)
- The Uninvited (amazon.com)
- Sleepwalkers (bookstore.authorhouse.com)