Utopia

I beg to have this morsel of bread, my knees on cold stone. The clean hand which gives does so with apathy. This weary skeleton is not worthy. It shakes and rattles as it moves away in contorted gestures. Shame used to have meaning, now it is only the infinite permanency of a worn soul.

They know what’s best for me. They always have.

I’ve no coin or cloth; blood is the only currency I have to give. And so my debt is paid by suffering. The countless ways in which they thrill their hearts baffles the mind. No imaginings of one man could conjure how many ways there are to inflict pain. Never has it been said that they lacked creativity.

I once viewed a piece of art. I suppose this is theirs.

Feeble, frail, am I. No longer do I recoil at the thought of the black hood coming to take me. I’ve eaten my share and lived long years. Time is precious, gifted by the keepers of this world by keeping us unworthy alive. And greed has never been my vice.

I’ll see the reaper soon. And gladly give my head to his axe.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Pieces of Me

It began with a finger. I relished the pain from the first slice. Warm blood ran down my palm as I pushed the blade deeper. Soon the digit left my body. I watched it fall with a pulsing vision of loss through waves of pain. But it invigorated me. Inspired me. I had to keep going.

Each additional cut gave me strength to endure the agony until it became pleasure. What I identified as a compulsion quickly became addiction. I couldn’t have stopped if I wanted to.

With few fingers and toes left, I went for more non-vital parts. The feeling of sawing through the cartilage of my nose roused heavenly sensation. Both ears undone felt divine. With each new loss of flesh, I felt more free, more alive. With each peel of the surface from my limbs, a burden was lifted.

It took time and effort, but eventually I severed one foot. As I started on its counterpart, the front door opened and in walked my wife. She wasn’t due home until late. I thought surprise would have been our matched reactions. But my eyes looked to hers, and hers to mine. We spoke no words—none were necessary.

She gently took the razor-sharp tool from my hand and began to work on herself.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

The Change

One arm lay in a pool of blood. My blood. The other grasps for it, reaches with needing fingers. They want to keep what is part of them. Part of me.

I know I’m in shock. The ping in my ears and lack of pain brings a strange clarity. Time slows. I see the carnage around me and watch, not in awe or disgust, but indifference. With calm I walk to the first person I see and beat him to death with my own severed arm. I whip his bruising face with the bloodied stump. I shove my radial bone down his throat and break his ribs with my boots.

I know I’ll bleed out if I don’t do something. That knowledge sits at the forefront of my mind, but emotion refuses to connect, urgency has been halted by whatever has changed inside. I know things weren’t always this way. But I don’t remember what they were before. And it doesn’t matter.

I walk past the crunched metal and burning rubber. Screams surround me but I pay no mind. My eyes are fixed ahead. I drop my severed arm. Blood no longer flows. Consciousness has not faded. I am alive.

Veins extend from my stump. They grow and lengthen, intertwine and stretch. They are as alive as I. A wide-eyed man in the street attracts my attention. I reach for him, take hold. His struggle is futile. I taste his insides as he’s torn apart and consumed. I hunger for more.

~ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Sweet Youth

From within my gut it was born, its birthing chamber no more than a stew of endless glutton and rot. I felt life within, a tumor suckling my innards with indifference to a father’s suffering. This child would feel no mother’s loving embrace, for none existed. I alone would be its burden, and it, mine. Pain thumped in tune with its gestation. Bile coated my throat. As it thrust its way up my gullet, a worm-like head peeked out from between my lips. It heaved its way further into the world, inch by inch, until it hit the floor with a wet slap of carnage. I took in a long-awaited breath and gazed upon my newborn. It wiggled its tail and screeched, calling out against the agony of existence, the horror of birth. I lifted it with both hands and cradled it against my chest. Its black eyes stared into mine. I knew then it would grow up fast, and that I’d be wise to cherish the sweet youth while it lasted.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.03

No Gods Here

Pale water rose and fell against the hull of my boat. The lonely ocean longed for color; all was gray, from the sky to the cold sea. Though my destination was said to be only two miles from the coast, fog wrapped around my solitary vessel—I had the sensation of getting nowhere but lost. If not for my compass, and faith that this land mass existed against the advice of all maps, I would have been.

I was glad to have left the company of the native tribe. The way their eyes stared, the knowing in them—too harsh for my subconscious to ignore. Though I knew they only followed lore and superstition, second guessing the risk of going where no one else would clouded my enthusiasm.

A dark mass appeared in the haze. It seemed my money and troubles had been worthwhile. This tiny rock in the sea was before me. I was there.

Jagged volcanic rock populated the landscape. No signs of life, plant or otherwise. The great chapel didn’t take long to find. Its oversized entrance was built tall enough for the gods to walk through unhindered. Inside, its vaulted ceiling reached into darkness above. Faint illumination entered the structure, no glass saints adorned its design. Only a stone block altar featured any symbolism of worship. A great triangle hung in thin air. No chains suspended it, nothing rested beneath to hold its weight. Magic, I’d heard. But I knew better.

Dust clouded around my boots as I approached. Each footfall shortened my journey, brought me closer to the mystifying object. My palms moistened. After all the knowledge I’d gained throughout my hunt, I still had no revelation as to its purpose. I reached out and put my hand against it. Unlike its cold stone surroundings, it radiated heat. My lips curled in anticipation of discovering its function.

Then a strange feeling arrested my entire body. Both feet lifted from the floor and I rose, weightless, hovered in the air alongside the object. Elation inspired endless possibilities, countless prospects. What power I would have.

White light brighter than the sun beamed from above. Even with both eyes closed, it relentlessly entered my retinas. The air around me boiled. I barely heard my own screams over the hiss of burning flesh.

Before life escaped my meaty shell, darkness returned to the chamber. My wrecked frame dropped to the floor. No longer alone, I looked up to the beings who emerged from the dark. As my limbs twitched with pain beyond pain, I understood the legends and rumors, the fears of the island natives. It all made sense. But these were not gods.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Butcher’s Choice

My lips whistle a tune as I lay strips over the rack. It’s fresh, clean; my product is made with loving care, always has been. The meat must dry, absorb the homemade smoke flavor. I’d claim its delectable wonders as my own, but the recipe has passed many generations. Only one ingredient comes at a price. My customers are picky, have been for ages. Beef, chicken, pork; none of what my storefront holds is proper to their taste. I must hunt the most taboo prey. Though I do this not in pleasure. The hungry things which come each month would surely satisfy their bellies elsewhere—upon the innocent, I fear. So I take what flesh is needed to keep them at bay.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Cold Hours

In the cold hours, among low fog, something walks. Despite image obscured by shadow, intent is clear with each stride. Unclear to low eyes over flicker of flame, it passes unnoticed in malice form. It stops short before what it seeks, its coat of shade swims in the wind. The thin skeleton of life before it raises both eyes—a meek figure in comparison. A picture shows not what it is, not what it could be, but all it allows itself to be witnessed as. This moving image of something unknown can’t be defined by the meager puppet it seeks. Eyes lock. Flesh knows death, no matter the form. Before a cry of desperation can be released, the dark figure penetrates a soft, defenseless body. Red fills the cracks of the stone street. The fresh corpse falls limp. That which cannot be understood moves on to find the next.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Service

I hear them coming, calling in their hunger-strained voices. They’ve sung for so long, a tune which brings melancholy drops to my eyes. I feel their inhuman pain, their longing for daylight. Though I am blessed by the sun, darkness is my only true embrace.

I know they suffer, for I was one of them. I’ve been above so long I wonder who truly accepts the burden of agony we all feel. They, who have suffered the same for ages, or I, who pains above, glimpsing the world we long for. I exist between. Not quite human, but no longer a monster.

My existence is sole to the needs of my original kind—to hunt beneath the moon and bring them sustenance. A gift in their eyes, for I get to see heaven; a curse in mine, as I witness it alone.

~ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Skittering

It crawls along my ivory frame, skitters from limb to limb. The clicking is maddening. I’ve seen the lump as it moves; it has even come to meet my hand. Where it hides from prying doctors, I doubt I’d like to know. So on it goes, on it travels. It has explored all of me. I’ve looked upon the kitchen block and considered removing it myself. Every day, every hour, that option is increasingly appealing. But so far as I know, no harm has come to me, no illness or ailment have I suffered except for the horrible click-clack of its tiny feet upon my bones. For a moment, I consider that it and I might live in relative peace. Then a second clicking begins.

~ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.

Insemination

Nicolette rubbed her hands along her naked belly and knew her barren insides held no place for new souls. Her eyes peered into the mirror. Not to view her meager shell, but to converse with the only soul her body would hold: her own. There existed a question she must both ask and answer. Something dubious and unknown. Possibly dangerous. The doctor who gave her the news explained there was a way, though she may not like it.

As time fell short she realized the debate was only an illusion. Only one choice existed. She’d do what her doctor suggested. Nicolette never believed in alternative medicine, but her want for motherhood not only sent her heart to dark places, but her body as well.

The crumpled address in her pocket led her to an old brick structure, what might have been a factory back when they were a thriving industry. Doubt sunk into heavy feet as she approached a steel door. Her body wanted to hesitate as she reached for the handle, but she knew she’d go through with it anyway.

Beyond sat a makeshift operating table in an otherwise dark open space. A few stand-up curtains lined the back side of it. A construction lamp lit the area. One man stood in the light, both hands at his sides, unmoving, waiting. Nicolette held her breath as she approached. The man motioned his hands toward the workspace without a word.

Her body supine on the metal table, she focused on the dark above. She projected herself into it, a void where there was no pain, no fear, no sorrow.

The procedure felt like nothing more than a moment; a strange dream shrouded in fogged sounds and colors. When she sat upright she watched the doctor remove his gloves. They were covered in inky, black fluid. He tossed them into a waste bin and took leave into the darkness of the old factory.

Nicolette did the only thing she could. She went home.

When she looked into the mirror by the light of the morning sun, her once empty place grew and writhed with life. Nicolette rubbed her hands along her naked belly and knew by the three fingered hand pressed against hers, that what lived there wasn’t human.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.