A Child’s Introduction to Space – Second Runner up in the Crimson Skull Contest

Lesson 1:

She can’t see them anymore. Her autopsy kit is rusty. They told her all about it, but the flesh is cold. A refrigerator is hiding inside, slowly crawling to a stop. Freon leaking. Music is playing from a Bakelite radio caked with blood.

Children knocking at the door, trick or treating, but she won’t answer. The horror movie marathon is playing on the television, her only comfort in the past but not working at the moment. Outside it was Halloween and she remembered what she used to do as a child – but they had forgotten. Leaves were burning and the tree branches scratched and etched the window glass.

She ground her teeth in silence. The deep hole in her stomach got bigger.  It had started out as a small pinhole this morning but as the day unfolded it grew and grew eventually morphing into the huge cavern that she felt at the moment.

The twisted noise that had been growing in her belly catapulted out of her stomach through her esophagus over her tongue and out her open mouth, it was preceded by a wail that she had never expelled before, a scream that seemed to last forever, but no one heard it, not one of the shadows noticed. Then it happened again, she expelled a form from her mouth and it took shape in front of her. She looked around frantically. The creature, silvery and shadowy, translucent, looked at her with its huge round eyes and made a small noise. It seemed frightened. She couldn’t make out its features but it seemed to be a fusion of male/female sticky and beautiful, radiant in its own disguise. It froze for a moment then bolted out the open fire escape window into the night. She thought that she must be in shock, she was experiencing a feeling of euphoria, of a giddiness which she couldn’t explain. In a way she felt somewhat fulfilled as if at the end of a magnificent accomplishment  She should give that thing she birthed a name. That could be done later when all the clocks had stopped.

Another knock on the door. She ignored it, but it continued incessantly, torturing her, a grey worm entering one ear and eating its way slowly through her brain. Finally she relented and answered the door.  Her eyes were streaming tears and she was ready to spit bile at whoever was on the other side of the door.

Door opened:

A 13 year old translucent child in a harlequin costume was standing in the empty hallway.  He held a dead rabbit that dripped black fluid to the floor.

“Don’t you get tired of spitting out kids every week?” he asked.


“Don’t you remember? You coughed up another creature last week. It tore apart a nice old couple that lived around here. They were good people, never hurt anyone. The cops said that their bedroom was covered in blood and pieces of flesh. A stray kidney was thrown around the room also. Some body parts were never recovered”

His words were accusatory, but the tone of his voice was nonchalant, almost bored.

He looked at her blankly.   He looked once more then burst into flames. No screams, no noise, just a flicker like flash paper in a silent movie. After a few seconds, only the shadows were left. She walked over to the outline etched into the hallway vinyl and touched what looked like a shadow with the toe of her boot. She slammed the door shut. The boy’s words were very troubling.  She thought back to last week, trying to reconstruct the past, but she had no recollection of any even remotely similar events happening. But… it seemed to her that in the recesses of her memories, kicking around, trying to get out that something had happened.   

Lesson 2:

She had to get lost, had to leave. She left her apartment, made her way down the hallway while tiny palsied hands grabbed at her and wetness touched her repeatedly. It was Halloween, she should go out and watch the trick-or-treaters or the parade.

It was a wet night – not raining, just damp and it cleansed her face of the tear stains.

The street was painted red, black and orange. A whore was under a street light fingering herself because no one was buying. A head was between her legs gazing up – pickled eyes – no reaction. The black dog slowly limped away from her, a hand clutching a switchblade in its mouth.

People passed by, some adults in full costume on their way to a party, some children with bags of candy.

People passed by never watching.

She stared for awhile, not knowing what to do, half expecting them to start a conversation with her. There was a slight squeal. It was about a foot away from her. She could see that a rat was staring at her. It didn’t move as she grabbed it and sunk her teeth into it, cracking its neck. Slowly she inserted its head into her mouth and clamped down: bone, flesh and its squeals satisfied her for now. After spitting the head out, she used the bloody stump as a paintbrush and painted her eyelids and her mouth with the gore. 

“That was before this….”

The black dog is after me. She made it up the stairs. The squeaky creatures peered thru the banister at her as she made her way painfully up the stairs. Her head screamed, pulsed with pain. The  front door closed behind her, so slowly in fact that she worried that someone may have snuck in behind her. She turned around ignoring her audience at the banister and walked down the stairs to the front door. She pulled on it hard – it was locked. She turned and again made her way up the stairs. The squeaky creatures snickered at her. At the door of her apartment she stopped and retrieved her keys.

Once the door was open, she stuck her hand inside and felt for the wall switch. The light flickered on and she stepped into her apartment, into the kitchen. It was the same, nothing had changed. It was just like she left it. The walls were still flecked with blood. There was a pool of red/purple on the floor. The blood was getting old now, so it was well into coagulation. Amazingly, no flies were present. The pumpkin she had bought hoping to make an artistic jack-o-lantern like those depicted in the Life Style Magazine she had purchased, remained on the dining room table, uncut – unused. 

With a slightly sickening plop, the heart she had left on the dining room table fell to the floor. Fuck!   Moving quickly, she wiped up the slop since blood is a real bitch to remove once it’s dried; then again there is also that DNA forensic problem, so she would have to bleach it out and test the area with the ultraviolet sensor.  

Lesson 3:

A ball of fluid was situated above her pineal gland.

The noises from the Werewolf Biker Clubhouse across the street were gathering in a plastic way – the bikers clad in leather were parking their Harleys by the curb, drinking beer, fondling their old ladies, and talking about crime and engaging in other small talk. The men were drooling; their rancid eyes were glowing at the prizes the females had brought home: a m/f executive 30ish couple in full costume – snatched on their way to the parade. He was dressed as Raggedy Ann, she as Raggedy Andy. They were both freshly killed – so fresh that their bodies still twitched. The costumes were removed and burned – the smoke carried an odor of cloth and blood and drifted in tickling her nostrils and causing her to salivate. The heads had been removed and thrown into the street; the bodies hung upside down to enable the females to drain the blood for their keg party. Link Wray was on the boom box. A good time was being had by all. 

It got her hot and tingly just hearing it and smelling it; the taste carried itself down the back of her throat etching a path, raising her awareness, causing her to walk a little bit unsteadily.  

Lesson 4:

She had removed all her clothing and the morphing creatures told her where to go. In the center of the room, on a mahogany slab, the victims lay on their backs situated for easy access.

She was naked except for her patent leather stiletto heels circa 1958. Her buttocks swayed gently. The heels echoed and reverberated as she walked, since the walls and floor were constructed of iron plates. She carried the lit jack-o-lantern that she had finally finished. She hurled the jack-o-lantern at the wall and delighted in the sound of the splattering rind and skin as the flame sizzled out. The Theremin short circuited and the windows cried.

 Her mouth became a wet ferrous swamp upon seeing the moist throbbing erectile machines. She walked towards them slowly. Haunting murmurs of the vascular system cloaked in steam tickled her nostrils. It was an earthy-medical smell and it made her salivary glands switch into overdrive. The rods were organic pleasure attached to things that were once human on the slab.

She had been dead, now she was flesh. As she walked towards them, fluid dripped from her and each drop exploded – humanoid poppers, like the little red boxes of Pop Pop Snappers she used to buy in Chinatown for the New Year. Little red boxes covered with Chinese writing and happy children – “POP! POP! SNAPPERS! A Novel Trick Item! Trick Noise Makers! Bang drop it! Throw it! Step on it! Snap It! For outdoor fun. Come 50 individual pieces per box.”

She stood over them, lowered herself slowly and inserted each tube into each lower orifice. She was kneeling now. This action caused her to shake, but she didn’t scream, didn’t want them to know her pain. The victims stared blankly; occasionally tears would drip from their eyes. After 30 minutes (as she could see by the wall clock) she didn’t want them to know her pleasure. In front of her was an oozing mirror: full length, accusing, watching her face contort and it couldn’t understand. She was being stretched wider than ever before, pleasure becoming a counterpoint to her pain, pleasure in search of a collision.

Control. Alternate rhythm. Fast to excruciatingly slow. Except for her mewing and moans and the sound of her pale flesh sweating there was no sound or noise in the room. She craved a melody, but couldn’t remember any, couldn’t recall memories. As long as she controlled them the silence would remain. “I know, you ache, but this is critical,” she sighed. As the words were uttered, fluid exploded from her vagina, drenching her toys in clear hot sauce.

She extricated herself, lurching forward, causing the mirror to fall forward. She had removed herself too quickly causing damage to the figures on the floor. They spurted blood; slow red streams painted the iron floor mixing with the silvery glass, turning into mercury. She felt cramps in her legs as she unsteadily walked towards the audience, her knees were raw. The morphing creatures commenced a silent clapping, a slow clapping. Afterwards the brains were weighed and the bodies were filed away.

Lesson 5:

The horror movie marathon continued.

The blood smelled tangy and full. She smiled to herself and walked into the dining room, being careful not to step into the puddle. Her life was so full of blood lately, she thought to herself.

this stuff – my clothes – my face are caked with it- the blood and smack of that junky who was always so nice to me i shouldn’t have done that, i shouldn’t have done this. why can’t it get better, why do i feel it why the white noise the crackle the masturbating idiot sound i always hear in here. the drummers will start again soon. the final clump clump darrump bumpo that throb that robot voice…tap-dancing…all sweaty smell death she…she went back to the kitchen and stuck her index finger gently into the puddle…a ripple in the pool also gentle…oh so gently it tastes like pain and salt..he suffered a long time i made him beg and then i finished him..they always pay..and i always make them beg..are you listening mommy and daddy..??

Lesson 6:

Goddess of narcotics. Exhausted, she made her way to the bed near the slightly open window. On the night table she adjusted her photograph of Raggedy Ann and Andy. It was a childhood memento – the only one that her parents hadn’t destroyed. The bed was cool and she stretched out languidly, placing a portion of the sheets between her legs, cooling her slowly. As she started to drift off – she noticed a smell of saliva and vaginal fluid. The window creaked as it was slowly opened from the outside. She had her back to the window but didn’t turn her head. She knew who or what it was – sticky wet hands and a sticky wet body – now grown full size, caressed her gently from behind as it whispered into her ear – “Mommy I’m back. My trick or treat bag is full.”  Finally, sleep.

By Peter Marra

Peter Marra is from Williamsburg Brooklyn. Born in Gravesend, Brooklyn, he lived in the East Village, New York from 1979-1987 at the height of the punk – no wave rebellion.  Peter has had a lifelong fascination with Surrealism, Dadaism, and Symbolism, some of his favorite writers being Paul Eluard, Arthur Rimbaud, Tristan Tzara, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Miller. His favorite artists are Salvador Dali, Felicien Rops, Dante Rossetti and Amedeo Modigliani. He has had approximately 50 poems published in the past year.
His earliest recollection of the writing process is constructing a children’s book with illustrations in the 1st grade. The only memory he has of this project is a page that contained an illustration of an airplane, drawn in crayon, caught in a storm. The caption read: “The people are on a plane. It is going to crash. They are very scared.” 
His poems and stories explore alienation, love, addiction, the havoc that secrets can wreak and obsessions often recounted in an oneiric filmic haze. He wishes to find new methods of description and language manipulation wrapped in a frenzy.
He is currently constructing his first collection of poems. Peter’s published work may be viewed at:


4 responses to “A Child’s Introduction to Space – Second Runner up in the Crimson Skull Contest

Leave a Reply to Richard Cody Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s