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I pull out Dad’s Colt automatic, insert the loaded magazine, cycle receiver. Bullet in chamber, and hammer cocked, the safety left on. Good to go. Check the gun case. The note is in it asking the finder to send the case, the ribbons and medals inside it and the Colt 1911 to my father. I set the ready to use Colt in the case. Glance at the vinyl shower curtain draped over the couch. No one can say Alexander James Monroe leaves a mess. Good to go, once I clean up and get dressed. I hear the Meadowlark sing outside the window.
Tonight I finish it. I should have died seventeen months ago, in that back alley in Tikrit when I failed those two boys. Instead, patched up and overmedicated, I have eked out an existence. A front must be coming in. The fragment lodged near L4 backbone is acting up again. One last look in the mirror, right side still droops, emphasizing the scar from the mouth to the eye. They never got those nerves connected. When I smile, I look like a bad makeup day in a Horror Flick.
Next, I lay out on the couch freshly shined shoes, laundered and starched shirt, suit and tie. I wish I hadn’t left my combat uniform with my parents. Starched and creased, it would make a strong statement. Toss my work clothes—maroon polo shirt, grey slacks, and name tag—from my hated job, into the corner for the final time. Finish my shower and dry myself with the towel. Final step, Shave. Cologne, and get dressed in my best. I bought some cologne at my hated job. Final employee discount. Still in the satchel. It’s time to get this show on the road.
I reach in, feel around. Not cologne — something cold, smooth and shifting like a snake. What the eff? Ouch, left hip bone throbs where I fell back on it A flesh colored thing stretches from my right ring finger, extending back to my he satchel. My muscles quiver at the hand and up to my shoulder. It’s not a snake. I wish it were. I killed plenty in Iraq.
I try to shake it off, but with a schlurbing sound, flesh-thing slides out of the bag. It envelopes my elbow and squesches toward the shoulder. I jump to my feet, “Stop it!”
Shouting doesn’t help. It keeps coming. Bite, pull, kick, squeeze, nothing works. Can’t reach the Colt. How do I stop it?
Fleshthing surrounds my arm up to the shoulder. At the shoulder, it forms a thick band, leaving behind an enveloped hand that forms into a — a hand? A thin feminine hand. I’m hallucinating again from the VA meds.
My arm forms into a thinner, hairless arm. I can’t move it. Fleshthing thins as it moves around my back, then down the left arm to the fingertips. My trembling halts as soon as it covers the muscle and up the arm encasing it, leaving another feminine looking hand and arm. I feel numb and energized at the same time. My arms can’t move. I can’t do anything to stop it.
Down my back, past my hips, and down both legs, numbing my skin as it moves. Fleshthing envelopes from the toes, up my legs, crotch, and starts on my hips. Toes look smaller, and legs look “real”, if oddly shaped. My legs and hips stiffen and I can’t move them either. No leg hair? From both sides of the back, it encloses the hips, abdomen, and chest, leaving a gap from groin to neck.
Please, stop now.
Damn. Fleshthing pulls my head back as it encloses the back of my neck over the top of my head, then forward into ears, mouth. The last I see in the mirror is the front gap close as it covers my eyes. NO! I fall backwards.
I never blacked out before. Damn, hip hurts. I lightly touch it and it feels already swollen. Good, nothing likely broke. I can finish my suicide. It would be ironic to have a broken hip and not be able to get to the Colt.
Get up, slowly. Staggering to my feet, hanging onto the sink. Dizzy. Mold. I smell mold. Never noticed that before. The meadowlark’s song floats through the crack in the window. Everything I see seems to be more vivid, with deeper hues. The pink tile looks almost puce. Now I get it; the pink and grey is intended to provide a feminine feel. The bathroom is somehow brighter. The sink wobbles as I pull up. Too fast, the blood rushes out of my head. I tip forward, and hit my chest on the edge of the sink.
Yahhh. That hurt!
“Who is that? Is someone here?” I jerk up, still dizzy. No witnesses. Got to get rid of them. I take a towel, knot it around my waist, and look into the efficiency. No one there. My chest hurts. I rub the pain. Soft, firm … Huh? I look down. Breasts? When did I get breasts? Vision narrowing — losing control.