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Stretched Skin

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On that day, I woke up. I ate breakfast. I went to my job at the guitar factory, working the night shift. It was a normal day. A day like any other day.

But things started going wrong when my wife, Stacey, called.

"Don't come home," she sobbed.

"What?" I asked.

"Don't... do-" she let out a bloodcurdling scream. I heard a cruel, harsh laugh. Then the phone rang out a tone. It had been disconnected.

I frantically dialed her number. There was no answer. I tried again and again. On my fifth try, something picked up.

"Hello? Oh god are you alright?!" I asked with panic in my voice.

I heard more laughing.

"Who is this? Where is my wife?" My mind was racing, I could think of a thousand possibilities and none of them were good.

There was no answer. Only a loud beep as the phone disconnected.

I slammed down the phone, what was happening? I needed to get home as soon as possible. Without a word to my boss, I ran to my car. It was an old, clunky, thing. In desperate need of a replacement. I silently prayed it would start. It had broken down only a few days previous. I briefly considered getting it fixed, but the car was on its last leg anyway and I couldn't justify spending the money when I should be saving for a new car.

Nervously, I climbed into the driver's seat and turned the key. The engine sputtered and failed. I turned it again. fingers crossed. It let out a horrible choking noise before roaring to life.

About halfway to my house, I noticed that there were no other cars on the road. I always took the back way home, but usually saw at least a few other people. Now I was getting even more nervous. I increased my speed, eager to get home.

The streetlights ahead flickered. I quickly switched on the radio, not caring which station was on, as long as I could hear someone's voice. There was nothing but static.

This was enough to make anyone panic. I pushed the pedal to the floor, and sped toward my house.

After what felt like hours I turned onto my street. No lights came from the other houses. What was going on?

Dread welled inside of me as I pulled into my driveway. As eager as I had been to get home, I was scared to find out what was inside. Hesitantly, I cut the engine and stepped out of the car. The house shouldn't be so dark with my wife home. Had there been a power outage? Was that all?

My hopes were dashed when I saw the door was open. Stacey was a nervous woman and always kept the doors shut and locked.

I walked inside. It was dark, but I always kept a flashlight near the door. "Stacy, are you alright?" No answer. I grabbed the flashlight.

Where do I start? She could be anywhere in the house. Or possibly not in the house at all. I decided to look in the bedroom. Maybe she was asleep? I knew that was wishful thinking, but I harbored the thought anyway.

My hands were shaking and the light was dim as I walked up the stairs. I called out for her again. Nothing. Everything looked normal. Like nothing had ever gone wrong. The stairs, the hallway. They were just as I left them.

Her bed was empty and unmade, sheets falling onto the floor. "Stacey?" I asked. I looked around the room with my flashlight. Nothing else seemed out of place. I considered moving on to the next room, but decided to check the bathroom first. I couldn't imagine why she would be in there but something was telling me to check.

Blood covered the floor. The shower curtain was drawn. I have to look, I told myself, I have to know. I pulled the curtain back.

The tub was filled with bloody flesh. It was vaguely human in shape, crumpled and broken. Sitting a top the gory pile was a human skull. Muscle and eyes still in place. I knew those eyes.

I wretched, dropping the flashlight and fleeing the room. I had to leave. To get as far away as possible. I reached for the cellphone in my pocket, only to realize I must have left it in the car.

I bounded down the stairs. There was a figure standing in the doorway. I froze, stricken with terror. At that moment the lights flashed on, revealing the grim sight that lay before me.

The naked figure was masculine, but stretched across him was a woman's bloodied skin. The suit was torn in places allowing some of the wearer's own skin to poke through. Long brown hair cascaded from its headpiece, worn like a Halloween mask. Clutched in his hand were a bloody pair of scissors. It was undoubtedly my wife's, cut and hastily placed back together.

The man let out a cruel, harsh laugh.


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