Once again, I've neglected my blog. So, I thought, why not throw up a not very well written short horror story from the old slush pile. That pile, by the way is massive, consisting of several reams in print. But, this particular one, 'A Bed of Ice', I have a fondness for, even though it needs far more editing work. I wrote this as a kind of joke between a friend and I (Names changed to protect the severely demented, twisted souls), as ourselves as the characters as teenagers and bored one winter break. Ironically, seeing as it's the two of us, I'm not certain as to how these events didn't actually come to unfold in reality, minus the snow, of course. Anyhow, Maybe you'll enjoy this and maybe you won't.
A Bed of Ice
by Guy Medley
Artwork borrowed illegaly
Rob sat slumped in an overstuffed chair in Eric’s dad’s den, a bag of stale cheese puff crumbs teetering on the edge of the end table between them, as they both sat staring lifeless at the television half watching some played-out sitcom drone on in the background. Winter break from the sixth grade meant little more than long days of boredom and wishes for warmer weather. Both Rob’s and Eric’s parents worked during the week, leaving the two at the mercy of their imaginations and their limited kitchen skills.
“This town sucks, man,” Eric said, his gaze somewhere between the ceiling and Neptune. “There’s never anything to do around here.”
“Yeah,” Rob replied, the laugh track of the corny eighties sitcom almost lulling him into a hypnotic state.
“Four more years,” Eric said. “Then I’ll be getting my driver’s license and I’ll be so outta here. Screw this place.”
Both boys sat in the darkness of the den and imagined their lives away from small town living, where big dreams would come true every day. Where they could be free to do anything they wanted and be anyone they chose to be.
Rob’s meditative trance was broken as the television clicked off. He looked over at Eric who held the remote in his hand.
“I know where there’s a dead body,” Eric said, looking at Rob. “Wanna see it?”
“Where?” Rob asked, sitting up straight as his attention came back to focus.
“It’s out in the woods behind our houses. I found it the other day. It was all blue and frozen solid. Its eyes were open, staring straight up, the color of frozen mud.”
Rob couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It was like the plot to a horror movie. “And you didn’t tell anyone?” he asked.
“No,” Eric said. “I wanted to show you first. Before the cops and CSI and everyone came and took it away.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?”
“I was afraid you might not be ready to see a dead guy yet. Besides, I was scared whoever killed him might be watching the area or might come back for the body.”
“He was killed?” Rob almost yelled, jumping to his feet. “Awesome! I’ve never seen a real-life dead body before. Except for my grandpa, but he was just lying asleep-like in bed, not murdered or anything. Is it all chopped-up and gross? Does it smell real bad?”
“No,” Eric said. “He’s just dead. That’s all.”
Rob walked circles in the dark room. “Man, I wonder who killed him, and why?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Eric said. “Some people are just born to be killed while others are born to do the killing. That’s just the way it is.”
Eric threw on his favorite yellow jacket; its sleeves frayed with use, and motioned for Rob to follow. The boys walked through the rusty gate in the fence that separated the back yard from the woods beyond. A chorus of neighborhood dogs barked in their wake as they crunched over the brittle snow toward the skeletal trees.
Eric admired the dazzling glitter of the sunlight playing off of the snow crystals. They were as brilliant and flashy as any Las Vegas hotel marquee lighting up the strip, but clean; pure. A suitable place to rest eternally, unlike any place Vegas could offer.
He stopped under a large old oak, Rob almost running into him. “This is it. This is where he’s at,” he said, pointing to the snow covered ground. “It snowed yesterday, so he’s buried now. We’ll have to dig him up.”
The boys got down on their hands and knees and began digging through the snow, scooping up handfuls at a furious rate, excited about the prospects of digging up a real-life murder victim. The hole grew deeper and deeper, but with no sign of the body.
“Shouldn’t we have seen something by now? We’ve dug down pretty deep already,” Rob said, wiping sweat from his brow with a slush covered glove.
“We’re close,” Eric said. “Just a bit more is all.”
Before long the pit was too deep to work from the top, so both boys crawled inside and worked from the bottom, digging even deeper. Finally Rob stood and stretched, looking at their work thus far.
“I need a break for a second.”
“That’s fine,” Eric said. “We’re there.”
As Rob took a second look into the pit they stood chest deep within to see what he had missed, Eric grabbed ahold of his hair from behind and pulled Rob’s head back as the flash of a blade appeared in his other hand and swept smoothly across his exposed throat in a graceful clean motion.
Eric had gone out to the garage and used his dad’s good stone sharpener on the blade until it was so sharp it had repeatedly threatened to cut through its own leather sheath. Now he took that precision blade and cut until he felt the edge of the steel grind musically against bone. Rob made a series of sickly gurgling noises as his thickening essence filled his throat and lungs, as it flowed from his gaping neck like a steaming geyser. Thick drops of blood fanned out fantastically upon the snow like a million rubies glittering atop sugar. So delightful. So delicious looking, he thought with wonder.
Eric lowered Rob gently into the hole they had dug and watched as his remaining life ate crimson wormholes into the snow. When the flow at last came to a halt, he tucked his friend in and under the snow; into his bed of ice, gently folding the covering over his cold body like jeweled sheets of diamond. A fitting shroud of ice for him to rest beneath.
He happily walked back home, the setting sun coloring the snow pink and lavender, and whatever wonderful colors Rob was seeing from beneath.