Sunken Skin

I haven’t told this story to anyone. Not even my wife, Dayna. I figured everybody would think I was crazy or that I was just seeing things.

But I’m here to finally tell my story. If not for me, then maybe for the others who have suffered the same tragic fate, because there were some that did not live to tell the tale.

I grew up in a quaint suburban neighborhood of Clarkson, Ontario. The apartment I lived in, more like a condominium, was a two-story, and thankfully my brother and I didn’t have to share a room.

I had shared a room for the first quarter of my life with Charlie, so when the time came to move, I was ecstatic that I would finally get a room to myself.

I was also worried about making new friends in this neighborhood. We lived a few minutes down the road from a lot of industrials, smokestacks and various truck stops so I would hear a lot of truck driving going on outside my window.

But one night, I had heard a very strange noise. It was almost like a squishing sound, followed by heavy breathing and moaning.

Of course, I could also make out muffled crying through this, but the squishing noise was much more prevalent.

It made me want to hurl, but it also drove my curiosity, so much so that I decided to investigate the sound one night.

I left through the back door of my apartment, which also backed out onto the street. There was construction going on during the day in the underground parking unit, so they had cordoned off everyone’s backyards with a tall blue fence, as a precaution of course.

I felt like an animal trapped behind a cage in a petting zoo; it wasn’t ideal.

Anyway, there was a small opening between where the fence pivoted 90 degrees to wrap around the tall pine tree in our backyard, and the wall.

I managed to slide myself between the crack of the wall and fence, and I was free to continue following the sound. It was very close by, in fact it sounded like it was coming from our neighbor’s condominium.

We were pretty close friends with the next door neighbor now, and since we were part of the neighborhood watch, everybody sort of looked out for one another.

The back door to our neighbor’s condominium seemed to be open slightly, and the screen door had a gaping hole in the center of it.

Whatever had made that hole should have been large enough to leave a wider opening in the back door when they entered, but the door was left open only a foot.

The squishing sound continued from the upstairs bedroom. I opened the back door all the way, and let myself in.

I called out gently to the darkness, but no answer. Instead, the squishing sound got even louder, as I realized I was now directly below the source of the sound.

I looked up, but there was no trace of a wet substance or a leak. There were no footprints or spills. I went to turn on the lamp, but the light wouldn’t turn on. The power had been cut completely from my neighbor’s apartment.

Thankfully I came prepared with a flashlight, in the case that this happened.

I began to guide the light around the room, listening closely for any new sounds. If there was a burglary in our neighbor’s apartment, the culprit couldn’t have gone too far. I had to stay vigilant; he or she could have cut the power and hid in the shadows, and may try to get the jump on me.

It was just me, the flashlight, and the darkness of the apartment.

I made my way across the room to the staircase, and proceeded to climb the stairs, when all of a sudden something caught my eye.

The staircase was wet and sticky with a viscosity akin to maple syrup, but the liquid that coated the railing had no color. I leaned in to smell the liquid, and the smell was atrocious.

It smelled like a year’s worth of garbage tossed in sweat, puke and every other imaginable grossness.

I had to lean back and hold the wall in order to maintain my composure. I sucked back the fresher air that still purified the downstairs of the apartment unit. Women’s clothes were scattered along the staircase proceeding up towards the apartment’s bedroom units.

Our neighbor had two sons of her own and no husband in the picture, however it seemed like everyone flew the coop.

I avoided touching the hand rail, and proceeded up the stairs, being careful not to step on any loose clothes on my way up.

The main bedroom sat at the end of the hallway. The two sons’ rooms were littered with papers, LEGOs, video games, DVDs, clothes and posters that were covered in the same putrid, sticky liquid that coated the railing.

The smell of the entire upstairs unit was unbelievably toxic. It was like walking into a zero oxygen environment, I just couldn’t handle it.

I ran downstairs and scurried through the neighbor’s medicine cabinet. I found an oxygen mask with elastic that weaved through the outermost sides of the mask, and placed it over my face.

I proceeded back up the stairs, following the squishing sound. Whatever was making that sound was present in the master bedroom.

I stood in the frame of the doorway of the mother’s abandoned bedroom, shining the flashlight all around the room.

A dark, sticky puddle was present around the base of the bed. The sheets were tossed and scattered all across the room. The walls were in complete disarray. Portraits of the two young boys with broken frames littered the bed, and the television that seemed to once be perched atop a dresser was now face down on the carpet floor, with glass shards buried on the inside.

The overhead fan was still spinning, rather violently actually. It was spinning the smell all around the room, and made me feel rather dizzy just looking at it.

It was the only thing in the room that seemed to have life.

The moaning and heavy breathing sounds came next, and they came from the same place as the squishing sound; underneath the bed.

My heart beat a thousand times a minute. I felt every orifice of my body begin to sweat. My head felt dizzy and my lips were chapped.

The smell was starting to take its toll on me, but something told me I needed to find out what was making that sound.

When I bent down and shone the flashlight under the bed…I-I could not fathom what I was seeing.

My jaw dropped, and my heartbeat tripled. I felt a sudden panic, and my body froze in place.

A large patch of pure, sunken flesh moved ever so subtly under the beam of the flashlight. Gaping eyes emerged from beneath two folds of dirty, sticky skin, as a child’s hand began to protrude from the sack of living flesh.

“H-Help m-me.”

The somber voice seemed to quiver from the large pile of decaying flesh and the words made me shudder from ear to ear.

Two larger arms emerged from either end of the bed, and in a swift motion, outstretched and wrapped around my right ankle, pulling me to the ground.

I hit the carpet floor with a thud, banging my head against the open bedroom doorway. I was seeing stars.

A third arm reached out and removed the oxygen mask from my face, as my world was shaken by another sinister, mysterious call.

“J-Join u-us.”

I staggered to my feet, freeing myself from the grasp of this fleshy beast, and ran back across the hallway to the top of the stairs.

I turned back to see if it was following me, and the creature had managed to grow two legs, and limber its way out of the bedroom toward me.

It had no face, only two sunken brown eyes. One of the eyeballs began to sink back into the flesh, as the other began to slide down the creature’s body.

Its mouth, nose and ears were all somewhere beneath the multitudes of sticky folds of flesh. The child’s arm was now protruding from its backside, and eventually fell off, writhing on the floor behind the creature, which quickly proceeded to turn around and retrieve it’s lost limb.

I took that moment to race home through the crack of the fence, and lock all the doors and windows.

I was certain the creature would come and find me, but to my surprise, it never did.

I spent many restless nights lying awake, listening to the sounds of squishing flesh from my neighbor’s apartment.

My mother and brother never believed me; they told me I had a very detailed nightmare.

A very detailed nightmare, indeed.

I moved out as quickly as I could, but I never forgot about that night in Clarkson. I now know that the mother and her two sons had never abandoned their home, but I never understood what happened to them.

Those are questions I am still trying to get answers for, and I haven’t had a lot of luck. But maybe now that I am telling this story, somebody will come forward and help me to understand what I saw.

I still hear the squishing sounds at night though. I still hear the sons’ cries for help. I don’t think I will ever shake that.

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