Soul Shells (A Short, Dark Story)

22 Jul
Crab Hides In Gastropod Shell

Crab Hides In Gastropod Shell (Photo credit: Maitri)

He was dead.

I knew it.  Deep in my bones, where you know things.  He was dead and I knew it.  I still couldn’t believe it, because sometimes the mind cannot accept what the bones just seem to know, but my brain accepting it or not didn’t change the facts.

I didn’t want to look, but I couldn’t seem to help myself.  I’d never seen a corpse before, outside of a funeral parlor, and a morbid curiosity I hadn’t known I possessed seemed to draw me closer.  Closer, and closer still.  The whole time I was inching forward, I watched him.  Looking , searching for something.  What, I’m not sure.  Perhaps a shallow rise and fall of his back, or a whisper of breath, enough to move the scraggly hair that had fallen over his face.  Something, anything my disbelieving brain could use to tell my bones that they didn’t know quite as much as they claimed.  I hoped for a sign of life.  I would have prayed for it if I still believed in God, but I did hope.    Once, I thought I did see something, but my mind recognized the illusion for what it was.

When I was close enough to touch the body I stopped, unsure.  I’d seen enough crime dramas to know you weren’t supposed to disturb a crime scene, and I had the type of luck that I could be pretty sure that right about the time I touched something, someone would come along, and I’d end up taking the rap for killing the guy myself.

Standing there beneath the bridge, I stared at the body lying there in the sandy gravel, struck by a jolt of familiarity,  and thought that it wasn’t dissimilar to a conch or snail shell found empty once the resident had moved on.  I was staring at a soul shell, its occupant no longer in residence, but something about him terrified me, and I would have given anything I owned to be far away from that place at that moment.

I was suddenly sure that I did not want to know who lay there at my feet.  I didn’t want to see the face behind that greasy, unkempt hank of hair; but despite my fear I found myself crouching down beside him, trying to see his face.

I reached out my hand to brush away the hair that was hiding his features, but stopped mid-gesture, telling myself that I didn’t really need to see his face; didn’t need to know who he was.  Despite this self-lecture, my hand continued moving closer, trembling, and I wanted to shout in frustration.

As my hand was mere inches from his face, a great gust of wind came from behind, scattering the debris that littered the ground.  Shuffling paper, and the clank of a lone aluminum can on the rough ground, not yet picked up by some homeless person for its deposit, startled me.  I looked up, heart pounding, then mocked myself for my jumpiness.  Still smiling, I looked back toward the man on the ground and, for a moment, the smile was frozen on my face.  The smile fell, replaced by shock and horror.

While I had been distracted by rattling detritus, the wind had blown the hair back from the face of the dead man.

The vague familiarity of his form and my own innate fear made sudden horrible sense to me now, as I stood locked in a silent scream, staring at my own eyes, staring lifelessly back at me.

Sometimes the mind can’t accept what the bones just seem to know.

 

* * * * * * * *

~A

Please let me know what you think about my short story… I’ve never posted this particular one before, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on it… were you surprised by the ending, or was it too much foreshadowing?  LOVE to hear reviews/critique on my work, so, fire away! 🙂  Thanks for reading!

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12 Responses to “Soul Shells (A Short, Dark Story)”

  1. spiritchild1972S July 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Hiya, well done for writing a story. It’s not easy. Firstly, I don’t know why you felt the need to tell me it wasn’t spooky or had sex in it etc…lol I read James Herbert novels and see the dead for a living lol There is nothing I haven’t seen or heard with my own eyes and ears including real life dead people lol I did guess the end, the way you describe things made it obvious, it was you but I liked towards the end you seemed to get into the flow of it. You do describe being in shock in a lot of different ways though BUT this is a first draft and there is no reason you can’t work on that. BUT I am interested to know how you got killed. You always want to leave your readers wanting to know more and you did that. I liked it. It might just be me, but it will be interesting to see what your other followers say.

    Like

    • KraftedKhaos July 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      I wrote it a long time ago… hadn’t shared it with anyone else, though, so there’s been no one to tell me what to fix, lol. Some famous writer said that to write, one must be willing to ‘kill your darlings’, and I’m not experienced enough yet to know which of the little darlings should get the axe and which ones should stay, 😉 So your critique is very helpful! Hopefully others will chime in, too… not that the story will amount to anything, but it’s always good to look for improvement whenever one can!

      Like

      • spiritchild1972S July 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

        Who was it that said ‘Always want them leaving more’ You left me wanting more. SO more please. Maybe do weekly installments lol or just write a book and publish it online like my pal did lol You could make some money from it.
        If you hadn’t of over described your sock it wouldn’t have been obvious it was you. I do like how you used different words though, words that aren’t every day use words. It shows intelligence and confidence in the writing.

        Like

        • KraftedKhaos July 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

          LOL… I’ve tried writing books… I get about 3 chapters in, and splutter to a standstill. I even started one about a clairvoyant. I believe that one made it through two chapters, before I had no idea where to go…

          Like

  2. astraltravler August 12, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Dear KraftedKhaos,
    I really enjoyed this story. I welcome and encourage new and different. You gave me a methodical, detailed visualization of what the lead character was experiencing. I really like that. Looking forward to your next installment.
    Your Friend,
    Anastasia

    Like

  3. vozey August 16, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Although I had a good suspicion from the start that the dead person was the narrator, I kind of also thought it might be someone they knew.

    Even in spite of that, the story is told very well. Your details make it easy to visualize. The tension and suspense is immediate.

    Honestly, I think I’ll try to do my first reblog on this short story.

    Like

  4. vozey August 16, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    You can find one of my short stories here http://vozey.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/slug-the-blue-dragon/

    Like

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