At first, it was an accident. A simple happenstance, a clumsy foot, a harsh scrap through the skin deep
into the flesh. It was so dark down there in the basement and there were so many sharp edges. It
fascinated him, this wound on his calf. Leaving it open, watching it fester, poking at its edges to feel the
lovely sensations. It wasn’t until they came that he truly felt wonder. At first, just little dots in the
deepening red flesh, then slight movements, until finally life had sprung there against his own skin and
muscle and bone.
He had never brought life into the world before. Taken it? Oh yes, and that had its glorious appeal, but
this was something new. From there, things simply took what he could only imagine were the natural
course. A cut here, a slash there. After all, he had plenty of space on his body, plenty of flesh available
for his new tenants. Always waiting, always watching for new life to spring forth. The writhing maggots
fascinated him like nothing else. He’d made men and women move like that, their dying breath and
panic causing them to spasm and flip around. It was nice to watch, it was calming and satisfying.
It wasn’t the same as this. New babies brought into the world to eat away the rotting bits of him,
rejuvenating his soul. His mother hadn’t understood, even when he showed her. Cutting away at her,
shaking his babies into the wound and still she didn’t understand. In the end, she too had writhed and
spasmed just the same.
Since then, everyday, sometimes for hours at end, he would stare at her body. Through him, she had
become transcendent. Once she was merely a pointless sack of flesh with no purpose or direction. Now,
it was a garden, a bounty of new life. Finally, she had found a purpose. True, not of her own doing, but
he felt absolutely certain that, free of the burden of fear and loathing, she would appreciate what he
In truth, he was jealous of her. It was eating away at him too, that sense of emptiness, of no true
purpose. The outside had no place for him. It scorned and hurt him, so he had lashed back from the
depths of shadows, but any satisfaction he’d felt was fleeting. It was too quickly he was back to the
hollow shell of his existence, twitching and aimless with no idea of why he was there.
Each new cut brought him out of the dull and the dark now. Each new egg, new buzzing fly, new chubby
tiny baby gave him a sense of elation that felt more real than anything he’d know. The cuts covered his
body and soon, he knew, he’d have to either stop or take one final cut for his new family. The thought of
stopping was too much. He couldn’t. The compulsion… no, the complete need to give homes to his
brood was overwhelming.
Besides, he knew soon enough he’d be too weak to care for them, and then what good was he? What
kind of father trudged onward in mediocrity when with one single, elegant sacrifice, he could assure the
life of generations?
So, sitting there in the chair, in the vague darkness, he relaxed completely. His one working arm held the
knife steadily and confidently. He smiled widely, as he brought the stained blade to his neck. Slowly, he
arched it across the skin, so that the cut mirrored his expression of pure elation.
Yes, he thought, as the blood flowed. This feels right.
This feels like home.
By Jason D’Aprile
Jason D’Aprile has been writing stories as long as he can remember and writing professionally since the early 90’s. He apparently has a novel due out later this year and messes about with short fiction way too much.