This wasn’t right. Something had gone horribly wrong and he didn’t know how
to rectify the situation. Was this truly all there was? When he’d signed on the
dotted line, he hadn’t known he was promising mind, body, and soul. In it for
the long haul was one thing…but this…this was nothing short of hell on earth.
His girlfriend stood in front of him, more well put together than
she’d been the last time he’d seen her. Her lips were lined with
blood red, contrasting nicely with her stark white teeth. A single tear fell
down her cheek. He longed to reach out and wipe it away, but could not. He
recalled the skin being torn from his fingertips. They’d touch nothing.
“I miss you so much already, Toby,” she said, stepping aside to
make room for his brother.
Wait. Charlotte…I made a terrible mistake!
“You care if I play your video games?” he asked, not looking Toby
in the eyes.
Are you bloody kidding me? You have the audacity to stand there,
in front of me, like this, and ask me about freakin’ video
His mother’s face slid between Charlotte and Henry. He felt instant relief.
His mother was always available for some sort of comfort, be it a warm smile,
or a loving hug. He braced himself for the love of a mother to her child. “I
can’t believe you did this!” was what he heard instead. “It’s an affront to all
that is holy. I reared you better than this, Tobias. I taught you better!”
Mama! Come on! Please don’t do this to me! I didn’t know! I swear to God if I’d known, I never would have…
“Millie,” his father’s silky smooth voice sounded out loud and
clear. It was the voice of a storyteller – deep, Southern, soothing. His mother
looked behind her as his father patted her shoulder. Henry and Charlotte both
stepped back, away from Toby’s sight.
Dad! Tell her, man. Tell her to pray for me! Tell her not to give
up on me!
“It’s what he wanted, Millie. You saw the paper he signed. It was
his decision to donate his body to science. How were we supposed to know this
was what he meant?” His dad threw his hand up toward him, as if his mom
couldn’t see. She didn’t want to, it was obvious. She covered her face. Toby
tried to look down but couldn’t stand to see himself – insides out. “You can’t
stay angry with him forever. Forgive and forget, that’s what I say…even if he
does look like he took one too many dips in the hot tub.”
“Dad!” Henry said, hiding his smile with his hand. It was still
there in his eyes though, and Toby wished he could punch Henry one last time.
His father chuckled, tilting his head to look closer at Toby. He shrugged
and turned away, placing a comforting arm around Toby’s mom.
“Come on, Millie. It’s time to say goodbye. Every time he comes into town, you
drag all of us out here, and I’m not sure it’s good for you to see him this
way. It’s not exactly how he’d like to be remembered by us, I’m sure.
Don’t leave me here! Please! I made a mistake, Dad, and I need your
help…or Mama’s prayers. Something! Anything, just please God don’t leave me
here like this! I can’t stand eternity stuck in here.
Millie sighed, dabbing the corner of her eye with the monogrammed
handkerchief she pulled from inside her shirtsleeve. “I know
you’re right, George.” She leaned in; close enough that Toby could smell her
floral perfume. “It’s just that he shouldn’t have done it. I told him not to. I
told him this was a monstrosity, and look at him, sitting on a block like
Rodin’s Thinker, paraded about like that for the world to see. It’s not
natural, George, it’s just not.”
Mom…please. Help me!
He watched as his family – the people he loved more than anything
in the world – walked away from him. He’d see them again, and again he’d
try to get them to hear him, but of course they wouldn’t. They never did.
Souls were supposed to go to heaven or hell …not be
stuck as an attraction in a mobile museum where people came to gawk and point
at the subjects insides…or maybe they were. Maybe this was hell. Either way, he
was pretty sure someone made a mistake, be it God, for forgetting all about
him, or himself, for signing the piece of paper donating his body to the most
disturbing exhibit he’d ever seen in his life.
“How can I not, Mom? This cancer is gonna kill
me anyway, what difference does it make what happens to my body after I die?”
he remembered telling his mother the day the sign-up paper came in. He proudly
showed her the paper. “It’s not like I’m gonna be here anyway…right?”
Beth and Jordan are the presenters of 13 Stories ’Til Halloween and they have six-year-old bios with mostly outdated info in the about section, if you’re interested. HOWEVER they do want you to know they are so happy to have such amazing friends and family who have taken time out of their busy schedules to write something just for the 13 Stories readers, so if you to get in touch with any of the 13 Stories writers, past or present, just shoot an email to email@example.com and Beth and Jordan will be happy to get your message where it needs to go.
Thank you for reading 13 Stories and letting us share our stories with you.