The Walls

The nurse told me to take a seat. There was only a rocking chair in the corner. The room had pink walls. She disappeared behind a metal door that was like the kind you’d find in a submarine. It had a wheel you turned to open and lock it. Next to the rocking chair was a coffin with a small transistor radio. The coffin was made of plywood and shaped like a diamond. When I turned on the radio, it began playing “Song of the Siren.” I thought about how you told me you’d swallowed a bottle of pills while listening to that song. It was going to be the last thing you ever heard. But you didn’t die.

After the song ended, the walls of the room turned red. A low, pulsating hum came from one of them. That wall, in particular, seemed to become flesh. It bulged out, ripe and round, with a dark spot in the middle. It reminded me of a giant breast. A spout seemed to erect itself out of the dark spot. I put my hands on it and squeezed out a marble of some sort, which dropped out of the spout and onto the floor. I picked the marble off the ground and whipped off the strange milky slime from it. The marble felt solid. It felt like some kind of mineral.

There was a small hole in the coffin about the size of the marble, and I inserted it into the hole. It fit perfectly like a coin would into a slot machine. For a few seconds after this, the coffin shook violently. A thick black oil began gushing out of the hole. Afraid I had done something wrong, I inserted my index finger in the hole to plug it. The oil was warm and sticky like a syrup. But when I tried pulling my finger out, it was stuck.

The nurse came back and saw me struggling with my finger in the hole. I felt like I had been caught doing something wrong. She told me to relax and to breathe. Following her instructions, my finger seemed to shrink. I was able to pull it out now, but it was tiny and shriveled. The nurse put the radio on the ground. From her pocket, she pulled out a key, which she used to unlocked the coffin from a keyhole on one of its sides. Before opening the coffin, she took the radio and plugged it into an outlet in the corner of the room.

As she began lifting the lid off the coffin, the smell of vomit permeated from its insides. There was a body of some kind inside, but it was covered by the black oil. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. I couldn’t even tell if it was human or animal. All I could see, shining out of the black ooze, was a set of bright white teeth with the marble clamped between them. Using some large tweezers, the nurse pulled the marble out of the teeth. This caused the liquid to slurp it’s way back into the body through the opening between the teeth. The closer the liquid got to the teeth, the more it formed a texture that was almost brain-like in appearance.

I could see the body more clearly as the sludge re-entered it, but its sex was still undetermined. Its skin was white, and covered in varicose veins. Its body was covered with hair, and it appeared to have claws, at least on its feet. There were large scars and burns on its arms. I couldn’t help but imagine they were self-inflected. The nurse turned the radio on, again playing “Song of the Siren,” and put the radio inside of the coffin. After she closed and locked the lid, she put a piece of scotch tape over the hole.

I looked at the walls and noticed they had turned purple, even the one that looked like a breast. The overhead light began to pulse on and off. The nurse told me the doctor was ready to see me. My body started shaking involuntarily as if it had taken up a mind of its own. Whatever was in control of my body was completely at odds with my own control. The struggle was real. I felt my mind leave my body and into the beating light. Mostly what I remember is the anxiety and my spazzing, revolting body.

Brandon Freels is originally from Portland, Oregon, but currently lives in New Orleans. He graduated with an MS in Writing/Publishing from Portland State University. He has two chapbooks published by Future Tense Books, and has previously appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Exquisite Corpse, Spork, Patricide, and Peculiar Mormyrid. He can be found at

Submit a comment