Shattering The Meat Tunnel
(appears in Mirages)
Release Date: August 30, 2012
Something illusory, without substance or reality. The sticky threads that communicate the meaningless in a thousand different ways. Collected here are 17 tales of darkness and dread, teetering on the edge of reality and unreality, nightmares and dreams, brought to you by some of the best voices in dark fiction. Tom Piccirilli, Jeffrey Thomas, Barb Lien-Cooper & Park Cooper Lee Allen Howard, Tina Swain, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Gerald Hausman, Billie Sue Mosiman, Scott Bradley & Peter Giglio, Kealan Patrick Burke, Lori R. Lopez, Jason S. Ridler, Leigh M. Lane, Joe R. Lansdale, Curt Jarrell, E. A. Black, Edward Morris
I can't sleep at night. My mind races so much I doze off for only an hour at a time, and when I wake up my heart is racing so hard I can't breathe. It's scary. I don't know what's wrong. I felt so great yesterday! Can you have panic attacks when you're asleep? I've tried everything – warm milk (and I hate warm milk), a hot bath, choking myself with a belt, reading, soft music, pot, masturbating, cutting my arms and thighs, sleeping pills, booze. Nothing works.
And I itch.
I've scratched my hands and fingers so hard I've scraped my skin off, and my arms sting. It's like something is squirming beneath my skin, and I can't get to it, but it's not bugs. I'm not crazy. I wish my husband were here. He used to stay up all night with me when I felt like this. Then the baby came and everything changed. I know he still loves me because he wanted me in the hospital instead of a jail. And I got better. I just have to prove it to him. Once I do he'll take me back. I know he will.
Something's scraped the dirt by my back sliding door, trying to get into my apartment. The puppy dug up some of the herbs I planted next to my living room window. Little bastard keeps interfering with my cable reception. I don't know how it's doing it. Every time it runs by the TV blinks out. I had to reboot the cable box three times before I could get the signal to work properly. I try watching TV to calm myself but it doesn't work. Some woman in full bondage leather regalia was spanking a fat white dude wearing a diaper on Springer when the phone rang.
Nothing except for that familiar breathing.
"I found her."
I'm glad he called. I needed to hear a familiar voice, that way I wouldn't feel so nervous. I wanted to keep him on the phone long enough to help me calm down.
"Ah, you used Scope_Me." I swear that search engine can find information on anyone, even people who are dead and moved on. My husband moved four times trying to hide from me, and I used Scope_Me to find him. That same web site introduced me to his new wife. I wasn't going to let that woman replace me. He belonged with me.