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Author's note: A special thanks to NaturesTemper for the narration. Feel free to check out their channel in the link above.


"At My Most Human State" by EmpyrealInvective (Narrated by NaturesTemper)

I gotta type this out. The people out there don’t want to listen to the full story about what happened. They just want to focus on ‘that one part.’ They’re the type of people who flip to the end of a mystery novel to make sure their theory was correct. They’re the type of people who love to talk about what they would do in a situation, but hate to listen to one’s experience. I’m writing this because I want someone to understand. Those people want to condemn me screaming, “How could you?!” and my response, “Only what was necessary,” doesn’t seem to satiate them.

I have to explain myself and be heard; I guess that’s why I’m typing this. I can already see that this is going to take a while. I am only allowed one hour of time with the computers before the guards shove me back in my cell. For the sake of honesty, I will confess that I am typing this from a correctional facility. I am not incarcerated yet. I am waiting to be tried and from the disdainful looks I have been earning from the jury, I have no delusions as to the nature of the verdict. My daily one hour limit on my computer time is really going to prolong this, but after all the trial is going to take a while due to the media circus this case has generated so I do have time.

I am also writing this because I am quite lonely. The guards want nothing to do with me and I have been placed in isolation until the hearing is over. I am alone in here and I am put in solitary when my multimedia time is up. There has been some speculation as to why this is. The court reasoned that it was for my safety. I could believe that if I hadn’t seen the way they look at me. They want me isolated due to their disgust at my appearance and my actions. Ever since the accident, I have had this ghoulish appearance, which I don’t feel much like talking about and since there are no mirrors, I don’t really have to confront the damage done to my body.

I’ll start at the beginning. I wanted a new start. I wanted to get away. I packed my belongings, which was not a whole lot, into two suitcases and hopped a cross-country flight towards Colorado. I was in a rut in my home state. I am going to gloss over the reservation in which I was born. I don’t really consider it all to be part of my heritage. I wanted a fresh start and new experience. I watched the snow fall outside the window and thought of my dreams. I was granted that fresh start and new beginning by laughing and cruel gods. The engine stalled mid-flight, our place fell out of the sky, and collided with a mountain.

The impact should have killed us instantly, but the pilot had attempted a breach landing. We slammed through trees that tore the plane apart and we came to a skidding stop amongst the snow. I had blacked out from the sudden drop in altitude, but the shivering cold revived me within minutes. In a state of shock, I unbuckled my seat belt and tried to stand up. Everything looked blurry and I took my first tentative step. I fell flat on my face and would have broken my nose had something not shielded me from the floor of the plane.

My hazy vision returned to me in increments and I recognized I had collapsed on someone. I began to apologize profusely as my vision cleared and I realized that my apologies were falling on deaf ears. The dead are unable to hear. The man, what remained of him, had been horizontally bisected by his seatbelt and laid in two messy pieces on the cabin floor. His death was a quick one. He bled out in seconds while others filled the air with their moanings and supplications to gods who were no longer listening.

The first thing I did was move around the plane and check on the other passengers. Most were concussed and looked like they would never wake up due to their injuries. I guess I am lucky that I was in the middle of the plane and wasn’t whipped around as badly as the others. Most of the passengers were lost causes. One woman had been lashed forward into the fold down tray, which had pierced her neck and killed her relatively quickly. The sudden impact of the plane crashing had hurled an unrestrained child into the seat in front of him and broke his neck. He gurgled pitifully as I passed by him. Knowing I could do nothing for him, I continued down the aisle.

I saw more carnage, the most gruesome instance that I can recall was the stewardess. She had been helping passengers into their seats while the plane went down. She didn’t have time to get to safety as the food cart bore down on her and smashed her into the cargo door. I could only tell the remains were a stewardess by her nametag that read, “Marge Reed.” She was a red, splattered mess that was splayed against the door to the cargo, her exposed ribcage jutting out of her ruptured abdomen like a macabre spider that sought to ensnare me. I would have thrown up had I not been in such a shocked state. I moved up towards the cockpit checking on any other passengers who might have survived.

I passed by more dying and dead people. One arrested my progress. It was a man. He was dressed in a jacket with a tie, a business type. He groaned in pain. He pawed feebly at the metal protrusion in his chest. Upon closer examination, I learned that it was the metal part of the seat tray that had impaled him to his seat. It must have missed his heart, but judging by his rasping breaths, I knew it had probably pierced and deflated a lung. He was dead, he just didn’t know it yet.

The impaled man pled, “Help me.”

His hands clawed at the metal bar and he coughed up a red substance.

I responded, “You’re dying.”

His eyes dilated and he whimpered, “It hurts.”

I nodded and braced myself. I told him to close his eyes and when he did; I pressed the palm of my hand over his mouth and pinched his nose shut. He shifted in his seat and tore the wound in his chest deeper. My hand held fast to his mouth and nose as I gave him the only mercy that was left to give. It didn’t take long for his struggling to still. I held my hand over his mouth for a few moments longer until I was sure. Once I knew he was dead, I threw up in the aisle.

I continued up the aisle. Most of the other passengers were beyond help, but their end was a fast approaching and merciful thing. They had only minutes left as opposed to the impaled man who might have lived through his injuries for a few agonizing hours before finally giving up the ghost. The door to the cockpit was stuck, I rammed my shoulder into it a few times before it gave way enough for me to look in. I did not like what I saw.

The nose of the plane had collided with the side of the mountain and the cockpit had taken the brunt of the damage. It had crumpled like it had been in the hands of an angry god. Through the wreckage, I could see only a few things to confirm that there had actually been someone in the cockpit. One of which was a hand sticking out of the crumpled metal. It twitched spasmodically and I lied to myself and said that it was the electricity from the sparking equipment galvanizing the body. I returned to the cabin of the plane unwilling to stay as a witness to the gruesome scene before me.

It was as I started down the airplane aisle again that I first became aware of the cold. It cut through to my core and sent me shivering. I looked to my right and noticed that there was a massive ragged hole in the side of the plane where the wing had once been attached. The cold air was blowing in and throwing a few wayward snowflakes into the aisles. A sound snapped my head up towards the back of the plane. Someone was in the lavatory, but the food cart was blocking their exit and trapping them inside.

I pulled the cart aside, wincing as the wheels dragged through the messy remains of Marge. The man hobbled out of the bathroom. He had a few bruises and bumps, but he was going to survive. He walked with a limp, which made me assume that he had pulled something or injured himself in the crash. He introduced himself as Jim Donner and as I was about to give him my name, a shout of surprise interrupted me. There was another survivor.

The other survivor, who only addressed himself as Tamsen, had just regained consciousness next to the corpse of another passenger. We managed to wrestle him out of his seat and Jim slapped some sense back into him. We each rehashed the story of the crash as if re-telling it would change the outcome. Tamsen swore that we had hit something and Jim proposed that the engine had froze over due to the unnatural cold. It was at that suggestion that the thought dawned on us that we would freeze if we didn’t do something about the cold.

We began pulling luggage from the overhead and blocking up the gaping hole in the side of the plane. This helped prevent some of the cold air from blowing into the plane and keep predators out. The sudden onset of adrenaline that we each experienced at the start of the crash had ebbed and we were now just enervated. We spent the first night huddled together for warmth in the aisles, surrounded by the dead; while the wind howled at us through the wreckage of our plane.

That night I dreamt of the pilot’s hand sticking out of the wreckage. It twitched to life and began to beckon me with its fingers as if inviting me somewhere. I didn’t sleep so well for the rest of the night. We raided the food cart for food and ate chips while discussing our plans. I knew that the airport would know something went wrong when we didn’t arrive and they would come for us. Tamsen disagreed and pushed us to leave the wreckage and seek salvation. Jim opposed this and that was when Tamsen became agitated.

Temsen told us that he wasn’t going to stay in this steel coffin to freeze and starve to death and that he was going to leave and find help. I was about to point out the ridiculousness of venturing outside without protection against the elements when Temsen put his plan into motion. He began stripping the dead of their clothes and wrapping them around himself. He made an effective coat against the snow. He wished us luck before venturing outside with nothing, but a bag of airplane chips, a bottle of water and his makeshift coat. I never saw Temsen again after that.

I would later find out why Jim was against the idea of walking to freedom. In the plane crash, he had injured his leg. He had rolled it and dislocated his ankle. By the end of that day, his ankle was swollen to the size of a softball and the slightest movement was agonizing. The shock of yesterday had covered the pain and now that the adrenaline was gone, he was effectively disabled. It all fell on me to care for him and try to survive.

I took advantage of Tamsen’s idea and undressed the rest of the corpses to fashion a make-shift coat for Jim and me. I then began the less-than-pleasant task of moving the corpses back into the cargo hold. The hardest part of that job was dealing with Marge’s corpse. I was almost afraid to touch her body because she looked like one of those monsters from John Carpenter’s The Thing. While I dragged the fifty-seven deceased passengers into the cargo hold, Jim was taking stock of the food and water. When I finished, he told me the news that I already knew. We had enough food for two more days. We crashed after in-flight service and the reserves were depleted. At the end of the third day we were out of food.

During those days, we speculated about how far away our rescue was. Jim told me that they were only a few days away, but I knew better. If they hadn’t found us for three days; they had no clue where we were and the search could take weeks. In my darker moments, I wished I had joined Tamsen and abandoned Jim. It would have been a lot quicker, one way of the other.

After depleting our stock of food, our discussions began to grow darker. He spoke of death and the hopelessness of our situation. I knew that Jim’s ankle had now swollen to the size of a grapefruit and hurt him so badly that he was drinking his way through the plane’s mini-bar to ease the pain. The alcohol self-medicated him, but it made him have to use the lavatory frequently. I had to help him up which hurt his leg and made him want to drink more. It was a vicious cycle.

When he was drunk one night, he told me that we had to survive one way or another. He proceeded to suggest that we eat the corpses of the other deceased passengers. By then a week had passed without food and my stomach was filled with a dull hurt. I told Jim that the thought was insane. I waited until he passed out before I snuck back into the cargo to examine the corpses. They were practically naked save for their underwear and their skin was covered in frost and frozen. They had begun to rot and there was no way we could eat them without getting sick.

The smell of the decomposed bodies was so pungent that I almost threw up in the hold. The cargo hold was not insulated like the main cabin of the plane, which is why we had been able to survive for so long. When I returned to the little nest of clothes I had made, Jim was awake.

He read my expression, “They’re rotten.”

I told him we couldn’t eat them and that we would just have to wait for rescue. He laughed at that. He laughed maniacally for the rest of the day.

Desperation began to set in the next couple of days. Time was a relative thing. I began to lose count of the days we had been stranded out on this mountain range. Jim drifted in and out of delirium as the pain in his dislocated ankle grew greater with every passing moment. He had moments of clarity where he was able to form coherent sentences and befuddled moments where he only laughed or wept for hours. I retreated into myself as the hunger slowly began to eat me from the inside out.

The jury wants to know when I made my fiendish decision and how I came to it. I can’t give an exact time or sentiment. The days had settled into a dull malaise and the nights had contorted into nightmarish phantasms of hands in wreckage and ribcages closing around me like teeth. I felt nothing. I existed in a semi-conscious stupefied state. All I can tell you is that before I did what I did, I lifted up the slat and looked out at the frozen landscape. No one was there and I was all alone.

I made my decision. I drank a tiny bottle of Jack Daniels to steel myself. I slammed the bottle on the armrest and it broke into a sharp edge. I turned to Jim, who had shifted into a state of uncontrollable laughter. I had tried to talk to him for days, but he just kept laughing and shrieking nonsense. I had no other choice. I stabbed him in the throat and the mini-bottle cracked as it pierced him. Blood welled up on the surface, but it hadn’t penetrated deep enough to be a fatal wound. Having lost the weapon, I straddled and began choking him. I had lost a lot of my strength by that point so it took a lot of time to strangle the life out of him. He resisted feebly. His hands beat at me, but I was wrapped in clothes and barely felt it.

I continued to choke him until I was sure he was dead. His eyes rolled back in his head and his struggling stopped. I kept strangling him for a few minutes to be sure. I throttled him and shook him until his neck gave a sickening snap. I placed my head over his chest and listened for his heart. I heard nothing; he was dead. Once I was certain that he was gone, I rolled off of his chest and threw up bile. I was hunched over on the ground, I wept bitter tears into the bile. There was nothing of any substance in my stomach to begin with, but I knew that I was about to fill it in the most macabre way possible.

My hunger overtook me. I knelt to his open wound and placed my lips over it. The feeling of having something warm, after what felt like an eternity of living in the frigid environment, coursing down my throat filled me with such vigor. Once I had quenched myself of the copper and crimson elixir, I set to the grisly task of separating the flesh from bone. I had nothing to aid my task, but my hands and teeth. I tore the flesh of my friend off in hunks with my teeth. I won’t describe it in any more detail as I have already done. I am ashamed of it, but if put in the same situation all over again. I would do the exact same thing.

After eating Jim Donner, who had been my only source of companionship in the desolate ruins of the plane, I lost all semblance of sanity. I drifted; no I divorced myself from reality. I returned to a sort of primal state. I was a feral and fiendish creature. I don’t know how much time had passed while I was in this primordial state. I don’t know if days or weeks had elapsed since I consumed my friend before help finally arrived. I only know the circumstances in which my rescuers found me.

Judging from their witness testimony, they breached the plane through the massive hole in the side. They had to tear out the luggage barricade that we had erected. At first the search and rescue team thought that there were no survivors. They did a search of the aisles and found nothing. It was when they moved into the cargo hold that they found me and the other passengers.

The cargo hold was dark. They couldn’t see anything so they had to use their flashlights. Before they could switch them on; many attested to having heard a sickening crack. When they finally trained their lights on me; I had just broken open the bone of one of my fellow deceased passengers. My mouth was firmly attached to the woman’s fractured femur and I was sucking the marrow out of it.

The light startled me out of my state. At first I thought that the light from their flashlights was a product of my fevered dreams. It was only until I looked up at them and into their faces that I knew I wasn’t hallucinating. They looked at me in a mixture of shock, terror, and disgust at having seen me at my most human state. They weren’t sure if I was a monster or man. I’m still not sure of that myself.

I don’t know how long I had been in the cargo hold, but I am aware of a few things. At some point, I had striped off my make-shift coat. I must have been in the cargo hold for at least a couple of days, feeding off of the marrow of the other passengers’ corpses. The cargo was not insulated; it was so cold in there, but I couldn’t leave. It was nice, dark, and comfortable at the time. They took me back to civilization, a shell of my former self.

My first concrete memory of being back in civilization was when I first caught sight of the monster. They had put me up in a hotel for the night while they decided what to do with me. They wanted to charge me with murder and desecration. I couldn’t think of anything to do so I paced in my room for hours. It was in this boredom that I first caught sight of the monster that plagues me to this very day.

I was still pacing when I first saw it. It was fiendish and grotesque thing. Its nose and fingertips were black and there was a feral, knife-sliced grin plastered across its face. It was gaunt and emaciated. I wanted to scream, but I was paralyzed. It took me a few moments before I realized that the monster I had seen was my reflection. I recall something Elie Wiesel wrote: “From the depths of the mirror a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, have never left me.” I stared at the fiend transfixed for hours. I couldn’t tell who or what had survived that plane crash.

That is my story. This will be my last day in here. Tomorrow morning I will be gone. The image of the jury standing and declaring me innocent of murder is burned into my mind.

He stood and said, “We, the jury, find the defendant, Kaneo- Kaneonus… Mr. Blackwood to be innocent due to extenuating and debilitating circumstances.”

Tomorrow, I will be released back into the world.

To be truthful, I am ambivalent about the verdict. I am not sure if I should be released back into the world. A part of me yearns to be free and another part of me demands that I be caged. Every night, I wake with a scream trapped in my throat and the salty and iron-esque taste of marrow is fresh in my mouth. I don’t know what is worse, the memory, or that when I remember that taste, my stomach growls and I begin to salivate. I experience such a frightful hunger in the pit of my stomach. That sounds crazy right? I know it is crazy. That is why I am going to erase this, all of this. Even if I decided to delete this entire narration, I’m glad I told it. I’m glad to get all of this off of my chest.

After the departure of Kaneonuskatew Blackwood.

The prison guard sank into the chair with an over-exaggerated sigh. He was glad to see that freaky-looking man leave. The trial was over, but the media shit-storm still swirled around them. The news stations were clamoring for information. He glanced back and forth to make sure there were no witnesses before he began. He turned on the computer and began searching for any relevant data Blackwood might have left behind. Anything, a letter or email to family or friends, would fetch a high price with them. The guard found no email, but he did manage to recover a document that had been deleted hours before Blackwood was released back into the world. The prison guard leaned forward and began to read the document with a hungry expression on his face. This would fetch a high price indeed.

Written by EmpyrealInvective
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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