Handling the Undead…

Every October I try to read something on the creepy side. This year my selection is perfect: a bit scary, gross at times, and heartbreaking as well. This is on the milder side compared to Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, which had a lot more blood, gore and horrifyingly graffic content…So far…

Get your creep on with An excerpt from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Handling the Undead…

Scene set up: David is visiting his dead wife after her horrific car accident which involved an elk…

“He stared down at the floor. He did not see the white caterpillar that came in through the ceiling, fell, and landed on the yellow institutional blanket draped over Eva, digging its way in.

“My darling,” he whispered and squeezed her hand. “Nothing was going to come between us, don’t you remember?”

Her hand jerked, squeezed back.

David did not scream, did not make a move. He simply stared at her hand, pressed it. Her hand pressed back. His chin fell, his tongue moved to like his lips. Joy was not the word for what he felt, it was more like the disorganization in the seconds after you wake from a nightmare, and at first his legs did not want to obey him when he pulled himself up so he could look at her.

They had cleaned and prepped her as best they could, but half of her face was a gaping wound. The elk, he supposed. It must have had time to turn its head, or make a final desperate attempt to attack the car. Its head, its antlers had been the first thing through the windshield and on of the points had struck her face before she was crushed under the weight of the beast.

“Eva! Can you hear me?”

No reaction. David pulled his hands across his face, his heart was beating wildly.

It was spasm…She can’t be alive. Look at her.

A large bandage covered the right half of her face, but is was clear that it was…too small. That bones, skin and flesh were missing underneath. They had said that she was in bad shape, but only now did he realize the extent of it.

“Eva? It’s me.”

This time there was no spasm. Her arm jerked, hitting against his legs. She sat up without warning. David instinctively backed up. The blanket slid off her, there was a quiet clinking and…no, he had not realized the full extent of it at all.

Her upper body was naked, the clothes had been cut away. The right side of her chest was a gaping hole bordered by ragged skin and clotted blood. From it came the metallic clanking. For a moment, David could not see Eva, he only saw a monster and wanted to run away. But his legs would not carry him and after several seconds he came to his senses. He stepped up to the bed again.

Now he saw what was making the sound. Clamps. A number of metal clamps suspended from broken veins inside her chest cavity. They swayed and hit against each other as she moved. He swallowed dryly. “Eva?”

She turned her head toward the sound of his voice and opened her one eye.

Then he screamed.”

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