Bryan Beal


What would you do if you woke up in hospital able to see two different universes at the same time? If you're honest and anything like me, you'd fill your pants in a heart beat. See how that endears you to the monos around you.

A singular motorbike crash after a singularly bad day at work just crowned a wonderful Monday. Commuting home, I was confronted by an SUV stopped in the middle of the lane. The drive just gawped at me as the magnitude of his error started firing his synapses. It was a pity that they didn't fire any faster. I hit the skids, the front shocks compressed and the whole thing locked up. It was only a fraction of a second before the bone crunching impact and my brief flight across the SUV's bonnet. Somehow, the windscreen collapsed just before I arrived and my right foot got caught in the frame. Exit stage right, right foot and my boot. They never found the foot or the boot.

I remember nothing of the ride to the hospital. They operated, apparently, and waited until I regained consciousness. That was when the first soiling happened. I was still groggy and half out of it, so I wasn't too sure about how real things were. But then, questions of reality take a back seat when your doctor is talking to you with a huge, amorphous mass of bubbles standing over her left shoulder. I was even more freaked out when I noticed six eyes peering at me though the black, gelatinous goo-bubbles. That was when my bowels let go. Doctor Sarah Turner was not a happy camper, but she soon had nurses taking care of my mess. Monos don't really get it.

Having still been doped up, there was at least that hopeful explanation. You see stuff. But even that possibility was wrenched away two nights later. I awoke in the middle of the night, about three o'clock. The other patients in the ward were sound asleep, one of them snoring like a band-saw. I must have gasped when I saw him...or it...or her...whatever it was. Bent over my amputated right foot, a stump just above where the ankle should have been, was a skinny person, dressed in that same clothes I had seen on the Lost Treasures of Egypt show. The person's skin was completely black, like it had been burnt to charcoal. Even its eyes were pitch black, inky wells of horror in its face. When I gasped, the thing turned to me.

“Does this still cause you pain?”, it asked.

I think I passed out without answering.

When I came to, the nurses and Doctor Turner were around the end of my bed. Turner looked furious. The nurses looked chagrined. I looked. The doctor pointed at my right leg in angry pokes of her finger. I saw that the dressings had been removed and there were marks in my skin, like someone had been scraping at the wound.

“Where are the dressings?”, Turner asked me, menace in her voice.

I screamed. This was getting ridiculous. Turner and the nurses spun around, but they could not see what horror stood behind them. The charcoal Egyptian was back, this time it was sucking the dressings from my leg, sucking them clean of any fluids or stained.

“Mind if I indulge?”, it asked me, quite cheerfully, before slurping away on its snack.

If I thought I was getting discharged any time soon, I learned that I was mistaken. I now write this from Arkham Asylum, an institution that specialises in ailments such as my own. The staff here have surmised that I am no harm to myself or others, so they allow me to write on pen and paper.

I don't sleep much. Even other night, I find gelatinous bulges of eyes peering at me or I have to endure the questions and comments of the charcoal pharaoh, as I now call it. The next time you see someone on the street talking to themselves or screaming, just remember. You see nothing. You are blind to everything.

#Horror #Lovecraftian #ShortStory

© 2022, Bryan Kēhua

Photo by Linus Belanger on Unsplash