The Dead Are Coming: The Large Man
(The Dead Are Coming: Simone, will be back soon, as the story needs more work done in the next section. Believe it or not I have some standards. My Top Ten Horror Films will also be within the next week).
The Large Man is a short story from The Dead Are Coming, a sprawling novel (in Utero) about the living and the dead.
Over the radio, two male voices competed at being annoying.
“Yes, yes! And we’re back! That was the latest from Jizzy Jeff, big tune!”
“Love it bruv! Love it! My man and I are spinning until the sun comes up. Don’t go nowhere.”
“We ain’t going nowhere and I am GLUED I mean GLUED to this mic all night. We’ve plenty more coming, too. Hold tight.”
Music with a limited target audience continued to blare from the radio signal unendingly. If only. Everything ends.
Static. Mostly static. Dead air.
Hoarse and whispering.
“Please help us. We have a child. We know this is going out. Please, please help us.”
“It’s too late. It’s too late. They’re outside.”
“Leave it, let's go, we have to move. There’s time.”
“There’s not, listen.”
The voices could be heard, as they had been for a while now, quietly, over and over. Through the radio fuzz of nothingness. By this point there was neither rhyme nor reason to their pleas. If a tree falls in the forest and everyone hears it, the tree has still fallen. What can you do to help? Two male voices, both deep; desperate and bargaining with the ether. One breathed heavily, like a fat man.
“Hello, hello? This is radio Good Timez out of south London. We have stopped broadcasting as a pirate station, this is now an appeal for help. We’re stuck in our estate, our windows are boarded and our phones are out. I have my son with me who is three. My DJ is still here but the others are dead. The gangs seem to have gone now and left us to the others.
We can’t really hear them but …
We can smell them.
They are close. Please, if any police or rescue operators are out there, anyone, please, please search for us, the address is.”
The radio crackle faded out. Until, speaking quietly.
“Please. Please help us. We are in Lewisham, South London. We’ve been hidden for two weeks and are completely out of food and water. I’m almost sure we’re…”
A child’s voice is just audible over the crackle, distant in the background.
“What is it sweetheart? Daddy’s busy. Yes. Yes shh now. Ray. Ray! Take James please.”
The other voice whispers too.
“Come on son. I know, I know. We all are.”
Through sniffs and tears the first man continued. His deep voice quietened with fear.
“We’re surrounded. At least I think we are. We daren’t look through the cardboard. I can hear them shuffling and knocking into things. It’s like they know we’re here. This radio is our last…”
A child screams. The voice raises at the microphone.
“Ray for fuck’s sake keep him away from the windows!”
Ray could be heard shouting from another part of wherever these people were hidden. Whoever was on the microphone runs loudly out of the room. Unsubtle footsteps fading away. Something is happening, but it is impossible to tell precisely what. More distant shouting. Nearer the microphone a squeaking of glass. Glass being pushed and caressed. Glass bending inwards. A louder knock of more force. Then the call. That noise through the glass. They know. The glass starts to split.
Shattering, bodies heard processing over the remnants. Jaws and teeth snapping like dogs without barks. Another scream, adult male. More glass imploding, being waded through, footsteps dull and disorganised. The thud of weight, unrestrained and unkempt. Trampling on hopes and lives.
And then the moan rises above the teeth and glass, reaching for the food, for the life it knows is near. The noise of a microphone being knocked about, breathed into without skill.
“Help! Help! They...rrrrrr.”
Ray’s voice tries to prevail his throat being torn out. All that is heard is the rushing of water. Finally air escapes. Distantly it sounds like the others are still fighting.
“James. James hold on to daddy and don’t look out. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Right then COME ON YOU CUNTS!”
Blows and teeth. Moans and crashing. Flesh whacks into flesh. Liquid sprays and splashes.
Heavy breathing again, the sound of movement, scraping and struggling. Distant but distinguishable. Then a piercing scream. A child’s scream. Fading into a sputtering gurgle. Odd how pain is audible. Two loud snorts, then nothing.
Even the radio crackle seems muted. Nothing will help you now.
“No, no, no baby!”
A breath, a cry let out. Then choked back. Stopped. It is impossible to see what is happening but the fear needs no visuals. They cannot help, they can only listen.
Whatever was transmitting this execution bangs to an unplanned death. That’s all.