Saturday, January 14, 2006


The Neckrofyle: a cautionary tale (II)

The tall man was wearing a long black coat, and he took something out of his pocket and held it out to the terrified Oliver. It was a paper bag. With his spindly fingers the man spread open the bag and tipped it so that Oliver could look inside. The man spoke with a whisper that reminded Oliver of the sea washing back through the pebbles on a winter beach.
"Would you like a sweetie?"
Inside the bag were small queer wrinkled pink things which looked crunchy. Oliver had seen one before; his friend Julian had brought one to school when he had come back from being circumscribed, and had proudly called it his ‘fourthskin’. Oliver tried to twitch away but still couldn’t move. The man laughed softly and bent forward so that his face was almost against Oliver’s. His tongue unwound itself from his mouth (which didn’t seem to have any lips) and reared up like one of those spitting snakes.
Oliver felt a sudden burst of energy somewhere inside him and rolled on his side, tumbling off the bed (which wasn’t really a bed but more of a trolley) and crashing on the floor, though he didn’t feel any pain, more like a very hard thump. The Neckrofyle hissed. Oliver stood up and got tangled in the plastic cover and fell and stood up again, his arms and legs flopping around like Daddy’s did when he came home late at night. He had to lift his feet high to make them land properly on the ground and his head was rolling about on his neck. He could hear the man behind him and he ran in a stumble towards a door on the other side of the room. The Neckrofyle was laughing again. Oliver grabbed the door handle with fingers that felt like fat clumsy sausages (and were sickly pale, he saw, like the rest of him) when he felt something warm and wet touch the back of his neck. He turned his head and stared at the long pink tongue that was flicking at his cheek, even though the man was still on the other side of the room. He pushed the door as hard as he could and lurched through and heaved it shut, and the tongue withdrew before it was caught.

It was a tiny room and very dark but Oliver grabbed around him desperately and found a small cupboard in a corner. He could hear footsteps approaching through the door and he pulled open the cupboard and crawled in awkwardly, realising too late that it was a fridge. He drew the door shut and sat in the dark. A moment passed; then he thought he heard the creak of a door. In a few seconds the Neckrofyle would open the fridge and he would be caught.
His hand brushed something and he grabbed it and held it up to his face. It was a Tupperware dish with a note stuck on the lid. He couldn’t read the note because of the darkness (and, in truth, his eyesight wasn’t much good anyway after years of playing with his whatsit), but what it in fact said was: Any of you fuckers touch this and you’re deader than the customers – Lorraine. Oliver opened the box and felt wet crunchiness inside. He felt sick – well, as sick as a dead boy can feel – but he knew what he had to do. As the door of the fridge opened slowly and the light came on, he stuffed the horrible salad leaves into his mouth. The Neckrofyle’s white face at the opening of the fridge shrank back and it made a noise like an angry cat –

- and he was sitting up in the bed, screaming for broccoli, runner beans, kale. The nurses came running, the reverend raised his eyes to heaven in silent thanks, and Mummy, who was having it off with a young doctor in a nearby linen cupboard, got such a fright her period started embarrassingly early.


For the rest of his life, Oliver stayed in his room and ate nothing but green vegetables. Deprived of sunlight, fats, protein and essential minerals, he developed rickets, kwashiorkor and iron-deficiency anaemia. At the age of 43, stunted, pot-bellied and flatulent, he died of congestive heart failure. Through his years of shovelling in the greens, he never lost the fear that it was too late to avoid the fate he had dreamed of during his delirium, and so when it became clear he was dying, he gave strict instructions that his corpse not be left unattended for a single second until he was safe in the ground.

He had a good death, and as far as he could tell from inside his coffin, the funeral was a capital affair, even though his father wasn’t there (he had died of liver cirrhosis years earlier) and his mother was there physically but not mentally (she had contracted neurosyphilis as a result of what his father had called her ‘hooring around’). Lying snug in the satin-lined oak box, he listened contentedly to the earth being packed on top of him and waited for the first riffs of the heavenly host.
The passage of time was difficult to judge but he estimated that he had been buried for about twelve hours, when he heard a scratching noise. He took this to be small animals and insects burrowing about, or perhaps mole-angels sent to escort him to and through the Pearly Gates. He delighted in the musical, scrabbling sound.

Then a harsh thud struck the lid of the coffin, the unmistakeable chop of a spade.


Another dig at Lorraine, this time in a dream of one of your characters. Hmm. Still, she deserves it for not eating her salad when its fresh. How long does she normally leave it in the fridge? Oliver, of course, should have supplemented his diet with insects.
Its not fair is it Footsie,you pour your little heart out using all your wit and experience in a two part horror story for two poxy comments and get 18/19 comments for a few lines on word association.
Bastards, the lot of them. Not you two.
Nice ending, Footsie! The suspense was killing me... hah no pun intended.
With all that greenery his colon must have been in great nick, pristine really. “He’da had an asshole like a rabbit’s pink nostril.” (Bill Hicks)
His colon would have been spotless but I'm not sure his ringpiece would have been anything other than bog-standard brown. Plus, it might have had a few rips what with all the fibre passing through it.
OK Footeater, here's your chance for fame and fortune, or infamy and infortune. I've decided to include you in my new project - a new online comic strip – Blunt Cogs – is underway and could star you, if you want to create a cartoon version of yourself and/or fancy writing a strip or 2. Visit for more details
Ace fucking concept, Barbudo - will give it a go.
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