Edward Owen – Author

Ray Bradbury Challenge #18 – Road Kill

Inspired by my quest for a good fake blood recipe … and my warped little mind. As always, comments are welcomed and appreciated.

#18 Road Kill

 

There is a certain artistry in the way blood oozes from a small cut. The droplets kiss the blade ever so softly as they push free of the confines of their veins and capillaries. Cut deeper and a crimson torrent rushes from the laceration, responding to both the body’s pressure and the force of gravity. The life fluid inside the human body is not the thick, viscous fluid shown in movies. It’s specific gravity is only slightly more than water, roughly the same as milk. It flows freely, seeking its own level and seeping into cracks and crevices with ease.

To remove all of the blood from the average adult of a hundred and fifty pounds is a painstaking process, especially if one wishes to keep the subject alive for any length of time. A balance must be struck between too much blood loss and wounds clotting shut. Our bodies are wonderfully designed to keep us alive. A true artist like myself respects this and strives maintain life while pushing the boundaries of their craft.

The rate of respiration is dropping. The heart and lungs struggle to oxygenate the tissues but they are fighting a battle that has already been lost. I have successfully removed all four limbs while maintaining the heartbeat. Of course, simple amputation would have been far too easy and not nearly as painful. I ask you, where is the art in such heavy handed tactics? No, I started with the fingers and removed one knuckle at a time. I let only a small amount of blood escape before cauterizing the wounds. When at last the hands were merely stumps, they were taken, tendons and muscles carefully sliced and separated. Forearms at the elbow, then the upper arm at the shoulder. That is quite a challenge, removing a ball and socket joint and making sure all the blood vessels are firmly sealed off. The legs were done the same way. The mere size of the bones and muscles dictates a long, arduous procedure.

My early attempts at art were horrific. Most of my subjects died before I made a dozen incisions. The internet has been a wonderful source of knowledge and my surgical skills have improved by leaps and bounds. Most of my ‘pieces’ survive for three or four days now. Sadly, the end is near for my latest creation and I will need a new, blank canvas on which to paint.

 *****

A lonely stretch of road and a woman with car trouble. This is but one of many situations that aids me in my search for new subject material. When the nice young man in the white van stops to offer assistance, she is far too grateful to be suspicious. His arms are tan and his smile genuine and disarming. A quick peek under the hood reveals a broken fan belt. There is no way it can be fixed here, the nearest parts house is ten miles away. Cell phones are useless as well. Yes, the story plays out nearly the same every time. He is only too happy to drive her into town. She hesitates for a moment, then climbs into the passenger seat. She rummages through her purse as he puts on his seat belt. Before he can put the truck into gear a stinging pain shoots through his neck. His arms and legs go numb. He turns to look at me and I smile. The van is a lucky break for me. He is tall and broad shouldered. Getting him to my studio will be a challenge but the thought of taking that beautiful body apart one piece at a time fills me with boundless energy. He stares at me, his eyes filled with fear and questions. Answers are forthcoming and the fear? More than justified. As I drive toward home, I whistle a happy tune from my youth.

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