It’s safe to say that I’ve been a fan of hardcore and punk for almost ten years now. I’ve listened to countless bands, been to countless shows, bought countless shirts and CDs, and met various people who I consider to be my friends.
However, there was this one guy that I usually met at our local shows, who called himself “Johnny Necrosis”. Johnny was different from the other guys in that he, in a scene that almost everyone wears (or have a few articles of black clothing) black, he managed to outdo them in wearing his all-black outfit of black jeans, polished black boots, black shirt, black jacket, and dyed black hair, and a fixation for anything to do with horror, from urban legends and online stories, down to novels, slasher films, and of course, horror punk.
Safe to say, Johnny and I bonded over our mutual interests, especially over horror movies. I’d go over to his place, with his bedroom covered wall-to-wall with movie and band posters, and watch horror movies till I’ve had my fill, and he seemed to enjoy my company, since there weren’t many people around where he lived that appreciated his interests.
It wasn’t long before I realized something about Johnny, though. He had an almost myopic obsession with horror punk, and I only realized it when I took the opportunity to look through his music collection, and was surprised on how focused he was towards the genre, which was pretty odd, since almost everyone I knew had various albums from various bands of various genres, but Johnny’s music collection was a who’s who of horror punk.
“Say, Johnny,” I asked as I held a copy of The Misfit’s ‘Static Age’, “Don’t you have anything else other than horror stuff, man?”
“Nuh, I don’t,” he shook his head, and looked at me cautiously, probably worried that I might drop and break it. “Put it back, man.”
I cautiously put it back in its place, and sat down next to him. “It just seems odd, man. Most guys I know have lots of albums, you know, some hardcore here, some skate stuff there, some pop punk there…”
“Yeah, well,” he said nervously, “I’m not like most people,”
“Hey, that’s cool,” I said, “I’m just curious, that’s all. If you like this stuff it’s cool by me,”
“Yeah, yeah,” he nodded, before he turned to me. “You know something?”
“These guys,” he stood up and waved a hand at his music collection, “sing out of nothing more than what they see on horror movies and books or simply make stuff up,”
“Yeah, that’s what most people do. What’s your point?”
He turned around and looked at me intently. “My point is, is that these guys are simply faking it, man. All they ever do is make this stuff out of thin air. I want realism, you know. I want these guys to tell me something from experience, you know. Some real horror. Have you wondered if their lyrics would improve if they actually did it in person and then write down exactly what they felt?"
I shifted uncomfortably on my spot on the floor, and said, “Dude, you’re freaking me out right now. Are you kidding me, man? The reason they don’t go out and do that kind of thing is because they know doing things like killing people, desecrating graves and all that kind of crap is just plain wrong in a moral sense, not to mention that you’ll get into trouble for doing that kind of thing.”
I sat down, huffing at the inanity of his statement. “Besides, that’s the point of the whole thing, man. They’re just doing it for fun, to shock and terrify people by coming up with these songs about murder and wear face paint and nail polish and pretend to be madmen and demons just for kicks, man. It’s just entertainment.”
Johnny sat down, defeated. “Yeah, I guess so,” he said, “But you know how great it would be if they were singing from experience?”
“I guess,” I shrugged. Everything else went on as usual: we watched Evil Dead for the umpteenth time, raided the kitchen, hung out for a few hours, before I went home for the night.
In the following weeks, I heard and read a series of rather distressing news around town. The first news I received was that someone had broken into Allison’s grave. Allison was a childhood friend of mine, beautiful on the inside and outside, and had died just the previous day from a bad heart.
Her funeral was attended by almost everyone who knew her. The short period between her funeral and the break-in and the theft of her body made it especially jarring for everyone.
A week later, they found her body again at her grave. It was exactly like the way they had left her, but it was obvious that she had been violated. Despite the requests from her friends to have the police to look into it, her parents had had enough of it, and she was buried as quickly as possible, trying to forget the misfortunes that had befallen her.
A fortnight later, there were reports of people’s pets being kidnapped, before they found their corpses again, and it was obvious that whoever did it had beaten them up so badly that they had succumbed to their injuries. Many pet owners were outraged by what’s going on, that many took to arming themselves and locking their pets indoors, and some even requested for increased police patrols to find the suspect.
All while this was happening, I was wondering what Johnny would make out of this. Part of me wondered if he was actually responsible for it, but I quickly dismissed it. Sure, Johnny might have an almost unhealthy obsession with horror, sometimes he got a bit too immersed in his fantasy and talked about wanting to do this-and-that horrible thing, but that was just empty talk, if you ask me. Everyone had that kind of thing in their mind, but they’re smart and reasonable enough to know not to do it. Johnny’s no different than the rest of them.
The unnerving part, though, was that every time I called him during that period, it would simply go to voicemail, which was unlike him. Usually he would answer or return my calls. I even tried visiting him a few times, but each time, he was either away or wouldn’t open the door. I even asked his parents about it, (he moved out a few years ago) and they admitted they had trouble getting in touch with him lately.
Although confused and worried by what was going on, nothing prepared us for what happened next. One morning, as I turned on my computer and checked Facebook, I learned that someone had been stabbed and disemboweled. From what I can gather, he was leaving a pub after closing hours, was lead to a dark, isolated part of town, was stabbed a few times, and after he had died, the perpetrator then got to work, disemboweling the corpse and removed the guts.
Some of them claimed they have pictures of the dead body, but I hesitated and decided not to view them. I’ve had enough of horror and madness in this town. I couldn’t even deal with more bad news, let alone seeing pictures of a disemboweled corpse.
A few days after that, as I was checking my mail, I noticed an A4-sized enveloped jammed into my inbox, and retrieved it. All it said was that it was for me, with no stamps or any return address, so the mailer might have simply jammed it into my inbox and left.
I took the envelope to my room, set it on my desk, and opened it. Inside the envelope was several pages’ worth of paper, with doodles of skulls and tombstones and death scenarios by the sides of the pages. The first page was a black piece of paper (typical, I know) with some cut-and paste collage of blood and skeletons by the sides of the page, and the words, “Plan Nine: Descent into Darkness”, which confirmed two things.
First, this was definitely Johnny’s handiwork, and secondly, he probably has some material ready for an EP or something, hence the cover art and pages. And the fact that everything was hand-made confirmed who it was, since he was never big on using a computer for any of his artistic endeavors; he said it felt fake and not as sincere as something one would do with their own hands.
I picked up the first handwritten page and read through it. It was titled, “Liberation”, and had lyrics like:
As I stood by the corner, watching them leave, watching them, who claimed they loved you, but when you needed them the most, they left you, one at a time, until there’s the two of us left. As I stood over your earthen prison, I can hear you beckoning, beckoning for me, begging to be saved…
Well, shit. Johnny did have some talent as a lyricist, apparently. Who knew? As I read the whole thing, I felt a strange feeling of déjà vu with what I was reading here. Hadn’t I heard of this before?: The digging into the grave, the breaking of the coffin with a crowbar, and carrying off her body into the night…it’s almost like what happened to Allison, but I was just over-thinking things. It was possible that he had heard what had happened and simply imagined doing it himself.
I then read the next page, titled “Embrace”. It appeared to be the sequel to “Liberation”, where the eponymous character embraced his dead lover. I don’t feel like going into full detail, but basically in this song…well, the character had sex with the body he had “liberated” from the grave, and had lyrics like how beautiful her pale skin was, how smooth it felt, how different his warmth of his skin felt against the coldness or her skin, and it got rather graphic at moments.
I then noticed something else. In the lyrics, it mentioned biting her in the inner thighs and ears, and how, when he knew the time was up, he took a lock of her hair, and reluctantly returned her back to her grave. I’ve heard rumors that when they examined Allison’s body, they found bite marks on her ears and inner thighs, and someone had taken a lock of her hair. Despite my growing level of unease, I quickly dismissed it, reasoning that Johnny might have heard of the same rumors himself and thought it would go well with the story.
I then read the next page, “Cries of The Small Ones”. It was basically a story about how the protagonist took out his wrath on small, innocent creatures. The lyrics were basically something like this:
As I entered the encasement, I looked at the creature’s eyes, the look of innocence, looking for mercy. Oh, how I hated that. As I stamped on their frail bodies, and hearing their cries, bought a rush of blood to my head. Oh, how dizzy I felt, dizzy with elation, dizzy with joy, and I wanted more.
Okay, this was quickly becoming unnerving. I felt like excusing myself and saying he probably imagined himself as Godzilla attacking some Japanese town or something, but I'd be lying to myself. These lyrics were basically what Johnny had aspired to achieve: To write the perfect horror lyrics, based on true experience. All those crimes, he did it, just so he could see what it felt like.
At this point, I was not sure whether I should just send the whole thing to the police or to continue. To my surprise, I chose the latter. This page, titled, “The Hunt”, basically described the murder of a man he had been tracking for a few days, before taking his chance and murdering and disemboweling him.
The lyrics, were of course, hair-raising. It detailed how he watched as the man got around his daily routine, finding that one spot that he could use to take advantage of. And once he found it, he took it, with the lyrics describing how it felt doing it:
The blade slid through the ribs, nice and smooth. Crimson blood started spurting out of him, his life ending at every single drop. His voice was gone, but his eyes begged for mercy. I cut through his skin, saw his life leaving his body, the sounds from his throat simply made me smile, and as his eyes turned white, I savored his blood from the wound…
I put the page down. Fucking hell, Johnny, you lunatic, I thought to myself. All this effort for a five-song EP.
As I rubbed my face, I noticed there was another page left inside the package.
I wondered what it might be. Maybe it’s an explanation, like he was basically telling me that he got the lyrics from rumors and the news and that he hoped that I liked it.
Turned out it was another page full of lyrics, called “The Proposal”. As I read through it, a chill ran through my spine. It told, in perfect detail, about how he had sent a “beautiful proposal to a prospective partner”, and waited in the darkness as “the partner went through my carefully worded letters”, and seeing “how moved he was from the beauty of my creation,” but still, “he remained unconvinced, but I shall persuade him about the beauty of our potential partnership”.
As I put the page down, unnerved by the content, I heard someone walking up the stairs, towards my room. I tried to move, but I sat on the floor, frozen in terror.
Johnny emerged by my bedroom door, carrying a kitchen knife with one hand and a crazed smile on his face.
“So, buddy,” he asked. “Do you wanna start a band with me? You could play guitar.”