17 June 2010

"The Casket Crew: Folds" #Fridayflash






Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com

They called us the Casket Crew in college, but we were something better than that. Janie was only seventeen, but she was a genius in biology. Thad was a brilliant surgeon in another life. I was just curious. I blame my dad for letting me get as far as I did. He’d slaughter the calves, and leave me the brains. Brains are mushy unless you do something to harden them. Like unset gelatin. Like cottage cheese.

We weren’t sure how long we’d have the formaldehyde so I conserved it the best I could. I boiled the brains, just like I did as a kid. We had to find the one person that wasn’t missing half his folds. Folds make you smarter. It’s like another ring in a growing tree. The ones we split had few folds. Opening them up felt like cauliflower. Pluck that glistening thing right out of the pod. If I cut wrong, the eyes would come out with it and I’d feel guilty in their dead stare.

Janie wore a lab coat. It had stains that looked like rust but it was blood. I think we all had permanent blood caked under our fingernails. It was part of the undertaking, only there was nowhere to take them to. They just kept going somehow, organic and melding with nature. Like a coma walking. They said nothing, ate nothing, and died after a few weeks as the body exhausted all resources.

It was like a death camp, but we weren’t responsible. We had to figure out why. We needed to find out how. I kept cutting brains, and Thad would toss the husks outside. We had to think of them as husks, not people. The only part that looked like people lay hardened in my hands:

Smooth and grey with no folds at all.

27 comments:

Mari said...

This is weird. I like it! heh

J.C. Montgomery said...

I kept re-reading this. Seeing something every time I did. Perhaps I didn't want to, but my subconscious nagged me until I got my fill, whether I like it or not.

And I like it. :-)

Laura Eno said...

So many unanswered questions here... Great story! (I'm glad it's not dark yet)

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool. All the gruesome descriptions really make this one shine. I enjoyed it a TON!

Icy Sedgwick said...

I like it!

"Husks, not people".

Chilling.

Laurita said...

I like this tight little picture. I would love to see the wider focus.

Linda said...

Deliciously chilling. Love the focus on the brain, liike Chinese tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. Peace...

Dana said...

Ooo -- I really liked this one. A little weird and creepy but also quite funny!

Draco Torre said...

Yummy!
Feels like a good start to something bigger.

ellecee said...

I agree that this reads like an awesome start to a great story. I hope there is a part two!

Pamila Payne said...

Well, it's not Friday yet...
This is a glorious slice of implied story. A whole world of background details just slither right into place without any effort at all. I love it.

John Wiswell said...

Carrie, what is your recipe for hardening cottage cheese?

The lack of disgust in her tone may disturb some people. It's comforting to me. Makes sense that a person would be desensitized in order to become capable, and she's helping find a solution to something far nastier than cadaver work.

Curious about the ending. If their brains have no folds anymore, wouldn't that indicate the nature of what's going wrong in the zombies? Unless that's from the boiling, which I know nothing about.

(Potential jaggy in third paragraph "It had stains that looked like rust but it was blood." - could be "they were blood," as you refer to plural stains. Could sidestep it entirely with "It had stains that looked like rust but were actually blood.")

http://bit.ly/b1eBC7

Pavitra .... said...

Hey...this is nice!
"Husks, not people"
Lovely line!!
keep writing!!

Diandra said...

Wow, I love it!

Tony Noland said...

This was cool, like a close zoom in on a much, much larger picture.

Whatever it is they're dealing with, I hope it isn't contagious.

Sulci Collective said...

Love it and the picture you used is testament to humankind's miserable attempts to get to grips with the origins of its own consciousness...

marc nash

Jim Bronyaur said...

Yea, this one is fun. I'm a sucker for this kind of shit so it hits the spot. I like how it's written in such a small space - leaves the reader wondering what's happening outside... do I smell a serial story here? ;)

Jim.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Carrie, so much to love about this one... You painted such a creepy world with gorgeous imagery. Is that possible. You bet! You did it.

Valerie said...

Gross in a very good way. Will there be more of the Casket Crew? I hope so!

Tomara Armstrong said...

You have my folds working overtime with this one. I have so many questions. Not because I didn't understand what as going on, but because I am curious as to where it's going to go... what's next?

Awesome post!
~2

Sam said...

Excellent! I find myself subconsciously trying to continue the story in a myriad of different directions. I would love to read a follow-up.

G.P. Ching said...

This gave me a headache--in a good way. Wow! beyond creepy. Liked it.

Michael Solender said...

tasty, very choice and not one word too many. exactly why I'll be cremated..

Deanna said...

I'm a bit surprised no one has mentioned the line "It's like another ring in a growing tree." That's such a great metaphor. I like that many different views can be taken away from this.

Sophie said...

Creepy and weird, but enjoyable in an 'I'm glad I don't know the whole story' kind of way.

ganymeder said...

I'm not quite sure where this is going, have several theories, but either way this was very well written. I especially liked the focus on the folds.

~Tim said...

Let's hear it for the casket crew!