I decided to leave hacking the body into pieces until late at night, when my neighbours were most likely to be up and awake and making noise and so less likely to hear me doing whatever turned out to be necessary with the assorted corpse dismantling tools I’d bought from B&Q.
I spent the day drinking and worrying about my racing heart and setting up a new profile on the online meat market where I’d found the dead guy. Fear and depression, I’ve noticed, often combine to make me intensely horny – and this was probably the most fearful and depressed I’d felt for a while. I’d been on the local news website every couple of hours, looking for any news of local perverts who might have gone missing – but nothing. I wondered how long I’d be laid dead under a stranger’s bed before anyone worried about me. I had enough money in my back account to pay another month’s rent – after that, I guessed the landlord would probably send me a few txts but would leave it a further couple of weeks before he actually bothered knocking on my door, probably another couple of weeks after that before he knocked the door down – after that? Nothing, I suppose. I’d be reduced in death to a few bad debts and a bad smell – and, like bad debts and bad smells, nobody would miss me when I was gone. Maybe it would be the case with this guy. Nobody would miss or mourn him, and the world would grind on as always -the clocks wouldn’t stop and I’d be free to go about my pointless and unwholesome business as usual.
At 10 pm I lit some joss sticks, put on some Marigolds, and went into the bedroom. The smell was quite strong in here now and I was feeling more than a little nauseous as I got down on my knees and began reaching around under the bed for the nearest limb. I could feel the coldness of his loosening skin through the gloves. I found what felt like a leg – I couldn’t actually bring myself to look – and started to pull. He was a lot heavier than I’d remembered him being when I’d hastily crammed him under there. I could feel the skin starting to slip under my hands, presumably as the flesh beneath it was beginning to break down, but then, with a soft, sucking sound, the body came away from the damp carpet it was glued to and moved.
It took a good ten minutes to get him out, the smell growing stronger as the mottled corpse was slowly tugged into the light. All but one of the clothes pegs had fallen off. There was still one attached to his withered, blackened scrotum – and I was grateful for the fact that he was still wearing the gimp mask so I couldn’t see what I imagined would be the nightmare sight of him soundlessly screaming at me, rotting lips shrivelling away from his teeth. His skin was damp and waxy, looking like it was starting to froth slightly in places, but overall it was nowhere near as gruesome as I’d expected. I held it under the arms and dragged it into the bathroom, dismayed to see he was leaving a trail of slime behind on the carpet. I dumped him unceremoniously in the shower then went back into the living room for a final cigarette before I got down to the business of dismantling him.
It was going to be alright, I told myself. There’d be a terrible smell, and I was going to see things inside that body that no sane human should have to see. It was going to be a horrible mess and it was going to be hard work but I was just going to have to grit my teeth and get through it, one piece at a time.
I finished my cigarette, took a last deep lungful of putrid air, and strode back into the bathroom with grim purposefulness, slipped on his slime trail, fell backwards and cracked my skull on the toilet and toppled, unconscious, into his naked, blackened body.
And that was that for a few hours.