Excerpt for The Corpse by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



John Dodsworth

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2018 by John Wiber

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"Hey babe, can you grab the plates?"

"Sure thing, babe."

Sarah makes her way through the crowd on the porch, smiling and nodding as she passes Frank's colleagues who were over for Donny's retirement party. There were over a dozen of them, mostly white middle aged overweight men, those with wives (whom hadn't left yet), accompanying them, standing there with glasses of white wine clutched between their weathered fingers. Lots of beige pants and tucked in polo shirts. She had been a little pissed when Frank told her they were hosting the party, since he didn't so much as mention it to her beforehand. But it was his house and all (how could she forget?). 

She pulls the sliding door and braces herself for it to jam halfway. She had done it enough times now to remember. Frank kept saying he was going to fix it, but he worked nights and all, and he slept most of the day so, it was tough... plus the Jets were in the playoffs and the Blue Jays were having a really good season so far...

Sarah didn't like sports so much, but she would sit on the couch beside him with the iPad (his iPad) and watch Gray's Anatomy, or Jeopardy. They used to watch Jeopardy together, but Frank would get frustrated when he couldn't get any answers.

Ever since she'd been laid off from the insurance company, things had been... tough, to say the least. It'd been over six months now, and she still was no closer to finding anything. The job market was saturated with over educated professionals, and in the end, it came down to who you knew... and she didn't know anyone. Frank knew people, but they were all from the plant so, she didn't have any of the relevant qualifications to match. And the more time that went by, she found herself resentful and frustrated with the entire system to the point where she wondered if there was even a point anymore... She hated sitting at home all day, watching Ellen at 11am with her glass of red wine, and she knew it wasn't healthy, but it was the only way she could make it through the day without bursting into abrupt sobs.

She finds herself standing over the kitchen sink looking out onto the porch, where all these employed adults congregated, drinks clasped between their pallid palms, smiling and laughing and talking of all those things for which professional adults talk about. Spreadsheets, power-points, board meetings and corporate travel.

Better make sure it has water...

So, Sarah fills up a bowl in the kitchen sink and moves towards the basement door. She always had to take a deep breath before heading down. Steadying her resolve, she opens it and descends the stairs, doing her best not to breathe through her nose. The basement was still unfinished, which was probably for the best since it often left giant black stains upon the grey concrete floor. It liked to cower mostly in the corners, but still managed to startle her 90% of the time.

"Come here," she calls out, lightly tapping the bowl against one of the exposed wooden beams. 


The beast comes lurching from the faraway corner and into the light, it's belly sliding across the floor with a grotesque squishing sound, a trail of slime following in its wake. It had clumps of hair growing sporadically upon it's back, it's flesh a pale pinkish colour. Sarah often wondered if it had started as a dog... it walked on all fours, but it's face was not the right proportion to its lumpy and misshapen body. It was tiny and round, and the mouth hole was always open, revealing a set of crooked fangs which grew in all directions, one of which protruded from a hole in its lip... and the eyes... the eyes were black. 

Sarah sets the bowl upon the concrete floor and backs away as the beast savagely laps up the water. Sarah's best friend growing up lived on a pig farm in Peterborough, and the sound of it drinking water reminded her of the pigs at the trough. 


"I'll be back down later with dinner," she tells the beast. 


Ascending the stairs quickly, she takes one quick peak back behind her shoulder to catch the beast looking at her with its mouth hanging open dumbly, and its eyes... all watery from the tears... the fucking thing was always crying. And despite how much she wanted to get rid of it, she couldn't even begin to think of how to do it...

"See the tits on Donny's wife?"

"Lucky bastard," Frank says. 

He was standing with Rick and JP over the barbecue, the three of them drinking from half-warm bottles of Bud Light, as the rows of townhouses stretched across the horizon like a shingled rainbow of suburbia. The sun was high in the sky on this Saturday afternoon in Oshawa, the start of summer finally upon them, and the three men steal quick glances back at Donny's new wife, a thirty-two year old Russian gal he met online. Donny was fifty-nine, but had been working at the plant for over thirty years so... basically... he was set. And certainly, seemed quite rich to some Eastern European slut. 

"How much you reckon he paid to get her shipped here?"

"Oh god, I wonder what sort of packaging she came in."

The three men laugh heartily while Frank flips the burgers, the grease dripping into the flames causing a flare of the orange-reddish fire to shoot-up between the grill. 

"Those babies look done."

Frank nods and survey's the porch. "Where the hell is Sarah with those plates?"

"Sarah!" he calls out.

"Coming babe!" 

"Has she gotten a job yet?" JP asks. 

"No," Frank sighs. "We've been working on her resume, hoping something will come up soon."

JP and Rick nod and share a quick glance, which Frank cannot help but notice, the bitter taste of embarrassment foul upon the tip of his tongue. 

Sarah emerges from the sliding kitchen doors with an armful of cardboard plates. Frank still found her beautiful, despite the weight gain and wrinkles... nothing you can do... and inside his head, a sinister whisper; you're no prized pig anymore either, bud. Instinctively, Frank peers down at his protruding belly hanging over the waistline of his jeans. He had meant to start running... but he was always so tired when he got home from work... and besides, god forbid you cut into your drinking beer time by going for a stupid run

Sarah comes over and sets the plates on the table beside the barbecue. Instantly, the top plate gets caught in a gust of wind and goes flying across the yard. 

"Goddamnit, Sarah. You need to weigh them down with something."

JP and Rick snicker as Sarah marches across the yard to retrieve the renegade plate. As she bends over to scoop it up from the dirt patch were grass used to grow, Donny exclaims, "that right there is why my dick gets hard every night!" 

An eruption of laughter reverberates across the porch. Even Donny's little Russian wife laughs. And Frank shakes his head, shrugging and turning back to the grill. He begins placing the burgers upon the top plate, stacking the patties in neat little towers, and Sarah comes over by his side, butting her way between Rick and JP, who are at least quick enough to read the expression of disdain tattooed upon her face. 

"Can you believe that fucking asshole?" she whispers in Frank's ear. 

"Don't make a scene." 

"Did you hear what he said? Do you even care?"

"Not now Sarah," he says, hissing her name in that way that she hated. 

"What number is that?" she asks, gesturing at the empty beer in his hand. "Twelve?"

"Eight," he responds matter of factually. 

"Fucking fantastic," she says, turning to help herself to a burger.

"Babe, what are you doing?"

"Having a burger, if that's alright with you?"

"I thought you said you were going on a diet?"

"Jesus fucking Christ."

Sarah tosses the burger down on the plate so that is spills onto the glass patio table, pushing past Rick and JP towards the kitchen.

"Where are you going babe?" 

"I'm going to feed the monster in our fucking basement."

And with that, she was gone. Frank sighs and looks down at the empty grill, the flames licking at the cast-iron bars hungrily. 

Rick comes up from behind and places his hand on his shoulder. His colleagues resume their conversations which had been so rudely interrupted by Sarah’s little outburst, which seemed to be occurring more frequently with each passing week.

"Sorry about that," Frank says. 

"All good brother," Rick says, laughing. "Women, right?"

"Yes... women." 

Sarah brings the bowl of old meat down to the beast. The filthy creature is cowering in the same corner as before, it's stench permeating the entire basement. 

"Here you go you disgusting pig," she says, throwing the bowl down with disregard. "You make me sick, do you know that?"


Waddling over with its hanging belly and pink flesh glinting in the dim light. Drool drips from its open mouth in a thick line running down it's chin. 

"I am so ashamed of you," she tells it. "Every day. I wake up and think of you, and it breaks my fucking heart. Because I’m sure you used to be quite cute. Maybe even beautiful. But you've changed. You've become a cancer upon this house. I hate you. I fucking... hate... you." 

She reaches out to pet the creature as it devours its meal consisting of spoiled meat. Just as her hand caresses the top of its head, the beast lashes out in a startled and frantic storm, snapping at her exposed fingers.

“Ow! You fuck!” she screams, wrenching her hand back to see blood spilling from the tip of her finger. Before she can stop herself, her foot is swinging towards the beast’s torso, connecting with a sickening thump.

Reaaaaaaaaay!” it bellows, shuffling backwards in a shameful sway.

She retreats up the stairs before the tears can stain her cheeks, while the creature hovers over the bowl of spoiled meat, begging to be noticed... for recognition.

Frank finishes his burger and takes a swig from his beer (number ten), burping and rubbing his belly. I'll go for a run tomorrow. Rick and JP are talking to Donny and Ron, undoubtedly trying to fish out information regarding who was in line for Donny's job. Part of Frank hoped it was him. He was certain that he deserved it, but deep down he knew that he hadn't made the same inroads as Rick, or JP for that matter. It was frustrating... trying to maneuver between the office politics and personal genuinity. He seemed to always go too far one way or another... 

"...it's like Nietzsche said; it is not lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages..." 

Frank found Anastasia's Russian accent oddly erotic, and she did seem to be quite smart... mail order whore...

(Frankly, it was simply easier for men to write Anastasia off as a whore out for money to admit or acknowledge the fact that perhaps Donny had met the love of his life... jealousy had a way of surfacing in the most blunt and obtuse ways...)

Together they stand, leaning against the railing, Donny's arm wrapped around her back, and they did seem to fit well together, despite the age difference... enjoy it while it lasts... new love was like a pair of new shoes... all shiny and slick, until that mold sets in and the stench begins to rise... 

Sarah comes out of the kitchen in a barrage of sliding doors and swishing red wine. She bumps into Derek, Frank's superior, and laughs in his face. Fuck, she's been into the whiskey again...

It broke his heart, seeing her like this. And despite that fact, he couldn't help but feel ashamed of her. Ashamed of every passing day that goes by without her getting a fucking job. And it seemed the more he pushed her, the less she seemed to try. 

Frank feels something splat against his neck, and peering upwards, he is met with a billowing grey sky, the clouds swirling in from the east in a tidal wave of bulbous grey mass. The low rumble of thunder crawls above them from over the horizon, and in an instant, rain is pelting down upon the dozen or so colleagues and spouses gathered on their back porch. Frank quickly closes the barbecue and snatches the plate of uneaten burgers from off the patio table.

“Oh no!” Ana says, using one of the paper plates to cover her hair.

Frank is dismayed to see Sarah standing in the middle of the porch while their guests filter around her like a brook in a stream, and she has her arms out and is twirling around with her mouth gaping open trying to catch raindrops on her tongue.

“Ouch!” Ana cries as Sarah’s arm comes crashing into her chest. “Watch it, you silly woman.”

Sarah stops then, turning to Ana with flames in her eyes. “What did you say to me, bitch?”

“I call you a silly woman,” Ana says, holding Donny’s arm and staring back in defiance.

“Yeah, I may be silly, but at least I’m not some mail-order whore!”

“Sarah!” Frank calls, coming beside her and taking her by the arm.

“Don’t fucking touch me!” she shrieks, and storms inside, brushing past Ana again who stares after he in sheer bewilderment.

Frank apologizes to Donny and the rest of the guests, and Donny assures him it’s fine, no harm done. Everyone mumbles about having to leave, thanking Frank for the fun night. Sarah has retreated to their bedroom upstairs, and Frank sighs as he gathers up the condiments, cups and other miscellaneous party clutter.

May as well go check on it….

Frank snags one of the soggy burger patty’s in his palm and descends the stairs. The stench hits his nose in a foul swoop, and he whistles softly, beckoning the creature from the shadows.


Lurching forth from the corner, it looked like a deformed monkey… an overweight monkey with the face of a bat… it’s patchy flesh appeared to have been burned severely, the pinkish hue all shiny in the light, and despite how much Frank was disgusted by it, he couldn’t help but have a sort of unexplained affection for the creature. Stooping down, he lets it eat the burger from his hand, the sound of its mouth squishing together causing him to cringe. The creature almost chokes on a chunk of burger and begins sputtering and coughing, green bile shooting from its enlarged nostrils.

He wanted to hate it. Part of him even wanted the thing dead. But that was not how he was raised….

The creature finishes the patty and Frank pats it twice on its misshapen head before returning upstairs to the kitchen. He hears a clatter in the garage and goes to find Sarah having a cigarette, dancing around with her eyes closed and headphones placed firmly in her ears. The garage was a cluttered mess, various boxes with random items still half unpacked from when they moved in over two years ago. Back then, when they first bought the place, everything seemed so different. It seemed like a very long time ago…

“Hey,” he says, waving at her.

She continues dancing, oblivious.

“HEY!” Frank hollers, grabbing her shoulder.

“Ah!’ Sarah gasp. “Jesus,” she says, “you scared me.”

“Did you have to get so drunk tonight?’

“Do you always have to be such an asshole/”

Frank sighs and returns inside. He knew it was pointless to argue with her in this state. She would not remember any of it in the morning. Frank enters the living room and goes over to the minifridge below the flat screen television, grabbing a bottle of beer and twisting off the cap.

You hypocrite…

And he knew it. He knew it well. Although, granted… he never got so drunk that he couldn’t remember things….

That’s not exactly true either is it…


Oh god. He hoped the creature would keep it down tonight. It always infuriated Sarah when the thing made noises from the basement, especially when she was this hammered.

The sound of the garage door slamming follows, and he watches her feet go stomping up the stairs.

The sound of rushing water erupts from overhead. Great… she’s taking another fucking bath. She had been having three or four a day these past few months, and it wasn’t just the fact that his hydro bill was way up, but her skin was rashy and dehydrated which only made it harder to look at her… and Frank gets up to grab another beer from the mini fridge, all the while wondering what his life would be like if Sarah happened to drown in the bathtub….

Love me love me love me love me... I’m sorry... why... please... fuck fuck fuck fuck... hungry... he hates me.... she does... disappoint... failed... failure... why? Help me help me help me... I want you... I hate you... I love you... forever... always... so angry... hurt... inside... need it... I need it... I FUCKING need it... give it to me... now now now... no... because... waaaaaaahhhhhharrrrrggggggg! 

Sarah sips red wine in the bathtub. The warm water soothed her. Helped her forget…

What has become of you? That sinister voice echoes inside her skull. You have a fucking university degree! Yeah, a lot of good that’s done me… debt. That was all she could think of when it came to what university had given her. She felt betrayed. Betrayed by her parents, who assured her that everything would work out fine so long as she went university. Betrayed by her teachers, who assured her that all those textbooks on sociology and intellectual knowledge would be useful in a capitalistic driven society fueled by construction and resource development. Betrayed by her friends for pretending to care about her problems and ridiculing her behind her back… and worse yet… forgetting about her… and most of all, she felt betrayed by herself. I’m my own worst enemy. She knew it, and yet, could not help herself from continuing to spiral… it was a vicious cycle…

She finishes her glass of red wine and rises from the tub. The water had lost its heat anyways. Sighing, she dries herself off and heads for the bedroom, tossing on an old pair of Frank’s shorts and an old t-shirt to match. Clothes were strewn all about the bedroom, hanging from chairs, poking out of dresser drawers, and covering the carpet. I’ll clean them tomorrow, she thinks to herself. Yeah… you said that yesterday.

She felt somewhat sobered and decided it was time to go downstairs and face the music. Frank would undoubtedly be upset with her for her behavior at the barbeque… to be honest, she was upset with herself… but there was no hitting rewind in this life, a tough lesson for anyone to learn.

She descends the stairs but pauses halfway down… she can hear Frank swearing drunkenly at the TV… which meant whatever sports team he was rooting for had evidently lost.

“Hey!” he yells. “I see you there.”

Sarah continues down and goes to stand in the doorway of the living room. Frank is slouched on the couch looking down at his beer. He looks up at her suddenly, his eyes all red and glazed.

“Jays just lost in extra innings.”

“That’s too bad.”

“You don’t care.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Thanks for getting smashed at my work party, by the way… and flipping out on Donny’s wife… it’s not like it was his retirement or anything…”

“I’m sorry.”

Frank throws his empty beer down on the coffee table with such force that it flips over and rolls off, clattering upon the floor.


“God, it’s making those fucking noises again.”

“It’s what it does,” Frank says, shrugging.

“Can’t you make it stop?”

“Can’t you get a fucking job?”

“Frank, don’t… please.”

“You’ve got that fancy university degree and all… and apparently all the brains in this relationship…. And yet I’m the only one with a fucking job.”

“I’m…. sorry.”

“If you were sorry, you’d be trying harder.”

And his words pierce through her like the winter winds as she turns her back on him, heading for the solace of the bedroom. She can feel the emotional icicles smashing to tiny shards of crystal inside her, and in her heart… that steady beat… that soft whisper… there’s no escape… you will never do any better than this….


That night, Sarah rolls restlessly beside Frank in bed.

“Can you stop?” he says drunkenly. “I have to work tomorrow.”

“Why didn’t you defend me?” she asks in a whisper.

“What are you talking about?” he groans, rubbing at his forehead with both hands.

“When Donny made that comment about my ass…why didn’t you say anything?”

“That’s just how Donny is, it’s no big deal.”

“It hurt me, though.”

“Well, it hurts me having to introduce you to people as my unemployed wife.”

She turns from him then, rolling onto her side and facing the wall, and then Frank gets up from the bed and lurches towards the door.

“Where are you going?”

“Beer,” he mumbles.


“Fucksakes,” she sighs, getting up from the bed herself.

She descends the stairs to the main floor and watches Frank struggle to open the minifridge. Sighing, she continues to the kitchen and pours a bowl of water for the beast. She can hear it making noises down in the basement still, and as she descents the stairs towards it, she sees the beast has evacuated itself all over the middle of the concrete floor, a disgusting brown mess.

“You piece of shit,” she snarls.


“Did you just growl at me?”

She moves closer to the deformed little monster, and as it hunches it’s back and bares it fangs, she sets the bowl down quickly, backing away as it lunches at her, and in that moment, something snaps, like an elastic band that has been stretched too far…

She rushes to the corner of the room for the toolbox as she hears the pig-dog lapping up the water in grotesque gulps.

“Come here you little shit,” she hisses, and in her hand, the handle of the hammer clutched so tightly that her knuckles begin to whiten.

Sensing her fury, it scampers from corner to corner, trying to stay in the shadows… but not tonight. Not anymore. She grabs its side and pulls the beast close, bringing the hammer down upon its head in a foul swooping whooshing sound. THUMP! A yellowish ooze comes sobbing from the top of its head, a crater now embedded within, and the creature wails in a high-pitched and horrifying cry as Sarah brings the hammer down upon it again, smashing the hole wider atop the pathetic creature’s head.

“You fucking piece of shit,” she snarls. “Die. Just fucking die already.”

But the thing won’t seem to expire… creeping across the floor upon it’s disjointed limbs… a disgusting sort of gurgle escaping form it’s battered face…

Frank appears at the top of the stairs, peering down with drunken eyes in disbelief. “Sarah!” he cries, “what are you doing?”

“I’m killing it!” she screams back, bringing the hammer down again in a sickening thud. The beast lies dead upon the unfinished concrete basement floor, it’s torso motionless and orange liquid leaking from its head…

“Now,” Sarah says, satisfied, hammer still in her palm, smiling in a way she hadn’t in a long time, “will you help me bury the body?”

THE End.

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