Prompt Day # 92: A man walks into a convenience store, a body organ in his hand (whether it’s attached to him or not is up to you). Write the scene from the perspective of the clerk behind the counter.
Don’t any of you dare try to tell me that the placenta isn’t an organ, because it is! It is the most amazing organ there is, you know why? Because our body (ours as in all us girls, you guys can’t do anything nearly this cool) makes an organ when it needs it, it uses it for 9 months and then, when we’re done with it, we just eject it, like it’s nothing! Any other organ has to be surgically removed. Not the placenta. So I better not hear anyone argue that I cheated on this one. Because you know what people? Even horror writers add a little autobiography into each story…wanna guess which character in here is me? Lol, kidding, I would never stab someone in the neck with a needle. 😉
Working in the Quick Stop by the hospital, I have seen many strange and disturbing things but today took the cake. I had an hour left before I was out of there for the entire weekend. It was dead so the hour dragged on second by excruciating second. I took my cell phone out even though it is strictly forbidden when we’re on the clock, and checked my Facebook. I heard the electronic bell chime and looked up to see who had walked in.
A man stood there cradling a bloody mass of something in his arms, a long vine-like piece of something hung down dripping blood on the floor. He held it tightly to his chest and looked around the store suspiciously. I watched him behind the safety of the counter for a moment but I couldn’t ignore the blood dripping all over the floor beneath him. Blood that I would have to clean up before I could close up for the night.
“Excuse me, Sir” I ventured “Can I help you with something? Your…uh…stuff is bleeding.” I said. He whipped around to face me. I saw the piece that I suspected was entrails swing around and slap his leg. I realized then that what he was carrying was a placenta with an umbilical cord attached. The man looked down and gathered the cord up into his arms too. He didn’t say a word to me, just started pacing around the store as if he was in a hurry and needed something fast.
“Where’s your microwave?” he said, looking around frantically, the umbilical cord dropping to the floor again.
“Sir, are you purchasing something?” I asked. He looked at me and pursed his lips together. He marched over to the counter and plopped the placenta onto it and then piled the cord on top of that. He wiped his hands down the front of his jeans. And mumbling incoherently, he went back to his frantic search for the microwave.
“Sir! You can’t leave that here. Please, sir, I am going to have to ask you to leave.” I said getting nauseated just looking at the violaceous birth remnant. He ignored me. He began grabbing random things off the shelf; a jar of salsa, a can of soup, roasted sunflower seeds, and a coke all the while mumbling about stealing the power. He carried his finds up to the counter and put them down beside the placenta which had started to congeal to the wood.
“I’ll take this.” He grunted. I rang it up.
“Ok, that will be 11.94” I told the man, both of us acting as if there wasn’t a cold, bloody organ sitting between us. He handed me a sticky, crumpled twenty dollar bill.
“Keep the change.” He said looking out the window expectantly into the parking lot. “Now, can I use the microwave?” I didn’t dare ask why. I just wanted him out of there so I could clean up the blood and get the hell out of there. I pointed to the back corner. He swept up the placenta into his arms again and headed to the back of the store. I watched him, horrified but what I assumed he was about to do.
He opened the microwave and set the placenta in, again coiling the cord on top of it. He shut the door and set it for two minutes. Oh, my friends, if I could find the words to adequately describe the odor wafting through the store. A metallic, old meat that has been fished out of the ocean smell permeated the air. I gagged. The microwave bell pinged and the man opened it up releasing the foul stench of 40 weeks of confinement.
He pulled the steaming thing out. The cord in those two minutes had shriveled up dry and twisted. He turned around holding the blackened flesh soufflé and bit into it. He ripped a chunk off with his teeth and began to furiously chew it up. He swallowed and immediately refilled his mouth with more. He looked like a wild animal. His eyes rolled around uncontrolled while he gnashed into the uterine patty. I threw up in my mouth a little but managed to swallow it down. I mindlessly packed his random purchases into a plastic bag.
Just then the door swung open and a nurse stomped in accompanied by a hospital security guard. They both stopped just short of the man covered in cooked delivery jus.
“Oh God! Call the guys from crisis.” She said to the guard. He turned and headed right back out the door, thankful to get away I guessed. The nurse inched closer to the wild man
“Mr. Richter, Jason. Are you feeling alright? Your wife is very worried about you.” He chewed silently, staring at her. I listened in, starting to put the pieces of this strange puzzle together but there was still a big chunk of the middle missing.
“Jason, your baby is fine, completely normal. His feet can be put in braces and they’ll turn out just fine.” She said inching closer. Meanwhile the birth cannibal just kept on munching away. He swallowed and opened his mouth to speak. I leaned over the counter straining to hear his guttural mutterings.
“He’s the devil. I’ve suspected it for some time, but I saw his hooves and I knew it for sure.” He said and took another bite.
“Mr. Richter, they aren’t hooves. He is an innocent little baby who needs his father.” She said in a calming voice. She took a full step towards him and held out a hand meaning to lay it on his shoulder. He pulled back away.
“He is Satan incarnate! He has come to drag us all to Hell! But not me, because I have this!” His fingers curled and dug into the flesh of what was left of the placenta and shook it at her. “With this, I have power over him. This represents his life force and I am absorbing it into my being as we speak. He can’t hurt me.” He tore another chunk out of it and swallowed it whole. “When I have all the power inside me, I will kill the beast.” He buried his face into the handful of tissue left in his fist. The dried cord swung madly from his shaking hand. He crouched down and lunged at his son’s nurse. “No one can stop me! Not you” he shoved her and lunged towards me “or you” he forced the rest of the organ into his mouth and used his incisors to severe the cord from it. His mouth was much too full to allow him to speak. The nurse had gotten up and made eye contact with me. She communicated that I needed to keep him distracted. I nodded. And faced the crazy new father.
“So, Jason, how exactly do you kill Satan?” I said, trying to make conversation and choosing a topic I figured he’d be in to.
He smiled, a mad, creepy smile and shook the dried up cord at me.
“With this!” he yelled and shook it in my face then stretched it between his two fists like a garrote. “I kill the little demon with his own life-giving vessel!” He screamed and leaned towards me as if he was about to demonstrate the technique on me. That’s when the nurse plunged the needle into his neck and he slid in the blood he’d dripped onto the floor when he first came in and slumped against the check-out counter. Just then, the guard returned with police back up and a couple brutish looking male nurses pushing a gurney affixed with a myriad of restraining devices. They picked Jason up, and securely attached him to the bed and wheeled him away without a word to any of us.
The police had already started putting up their yellow tape when the nurse walked up to me and shook my hand.
“Thanks for your help there. That could have gone a lot worse.” I nodded, I had no idea what to say.
“What was wrong with him?” I asked hating how juvenile I sounded. She peeked down into the bag of groceries the man had purchased just to use the microwave.
“Worst case of postpartum psychosis I’ve ever seen” she said pocketing the sunflower seeds. She opened the coke, took a sip and walked out as if it had been just another shift.