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THE TRUNK

A horror/thriller. (advisory: does deal with abuse)

By Aaron MorrisonPublished 6 months ago 10 min read
1

The frigid, icy air sweeping across his face wakes the boy.

As the fog drifts from his eyes, he begins to see white gliding beneath him, and, on the outskirts of his vision, a wall of snow-dusted pine trees.

Then he becomes aware of the pain.

An uncaring hand hauls the boy over the ground by his neck, pulling at his skin and hair.

The boy begins to thrash and scream.

The man makes no effort to quiet him.

The only response the boy receives to his cries are the crunching of snow beneath the man’s boots, and the echo of his own screams bouncing off the ever neutral conifers.

The boy continues to struggle as the man ascends the three wooden steps to the porch of the cabin and, with his free hand, opens the unlocked door.

The man’s heavy, unbroken stride brings them both to the Seward trunk looming at the far end of the room.

The lid is swung open. The boy is thrown inside.

The lid slams down, and darkness now surrounds him.

The clacking of latches and then nothing but the smell of pine and piss to accompany the darkness.

The boy screams and kicks and cries out for his mother until he lacks the energy to continue.

He quivers as his cries give way to gasping sobs, and his face is soaked in tears and snot and spit.

The boy begins to feel a deep exhaustion and uncontrollable sleep.

For a moment, he feels arms, similar to his own, around him, and he cries no more.

The noises from the trunk die down, and with it, the voice should be quiet.

For a few days at least.

Seated in the single chair at the small, circular table in the kitchen, the man peels back the cellophane on his meal with his left hand, and watches the steam rise and dissipate in the cold air like a specter.

Left hand rests back on the table, as right hand reaches and pulls the tab on a silver can of beer.

Three gulps of the liquid and the can is placed back in the exact spot from which it came.

He lifts his fork, and presses the edge through the minced meat of the salisbury steak. He pierces the soft chunk, slides it through the gravy, raises it to his mouth, and places it inside.

Chewing slowly and silently, he lowers the fork, and rests his hand on the table.

A forkful of corn.

A forkful of too creamy mashed potatoes that taste better when dragged through gravy.

A sip of beer.

Repeat until the meal is complete,

He replaces the cellophane over the accusing eyes and shouting, frowning mouth of the container.

He takes the final sip of beer, stands, places the can and container in the trash can, and carefully washes the fork.

After placing the fork on the folded towel next the sink, he washes and dries his hands, and turns off the water.

His heavy steps take him to his bedroom, where he sits on the edge of the bed, and removes his boots.

Still fully clothed, he turns and lies down on the bed.

Hands folded across his chest, he waits, open eyed, for time to pass.

Sleep will come if it wants.

Filthy fucker. Like your father.

Left us.

Left me.

Left to fuck Linda from the diner.

You look just like him.

You look just like that filthy fuck.

Get in the trunk.

GETINTHETRUNK!

She slaps and strikes him and shoves him inside.

He wets the bed, and tries to hide his soiled sheets, but of course she finds him.

She shoves them in his face before locking him in the trunk for an hour.

He puts another forkful of food in his mouth before fully finishing the previous one.

He clinks his fork too loudly when setting down.

She shoves handfuls of the food into his face.

Filthy fucking pig! Disgusting fucking animal!

Into the trunk for half an hour.

He’s caught touching himself.

She strikes his hand and offensive member with the thin, wooden rod that she had removed from the laundry rack some time ago.

He’s too big for the trunk, but the closet she put the heavy door and bolts on will do.

Filthy!

Filthy!

Filthy!

Filthy!

Filthy!“Filthy.”

He stands naked in the bathroom and stares at himself in the mirror.

The wooden rod from the laundry rack gripped tightly in his shaking right hand.

He strikes his left hand. His chest. His genitals.

He vomits in the shower.

Ice creaks beneath his boots as he carries an ice saw, and the empty husk of the last boy he put in the trunk, out toward the center of the lake.

The slightly warmer than usual winter makes the ice easier to cut, and soon enough he has a hole just large enough to drop the body down.

The rocks he added to the boy’s pockets help drag his body down into the frigid waters to join the others at the bottom.

The man returns to his cabin as nature already begins to seal the hole behind him.

The detective sits at his desk and looks around to see if anyone is looking at him.

Third shift never pays him any mind when he stays late, but still, he doesn’t want to make it obvious.

He pours whiskey from the flask into his coffee, and quickly hides the thing away again.

An alcoholic fuck. Just like my dad.

He should probably just go home, but what was he going to do there? Get drunk and look at filthy magazines most likely.

At least here, he could get drunk and still work on the case.

I guess I became a detective to try and help people, and prove I was better than my dad. But two failed marriages later, I guess I’m more like him than I’d like to admit.

It was the most honest thing he had shared in his mandatory meetings with the psychologist.

Everything else was just saying what he needed to say to get through his two week suspension, with pay.

He heard screaming and shouting coming from a neighbor’s house, and he walked down to investigate the disturbance.

He had seen the tell tale signs of abuse before, but it had all been aftermath.

This time, he sees her freshly busted lip and her broken, bleeding nose as her husband openly raises his fist in their front yard.

His gun made sure he’d never hurt her again.

I saw my dad’s face on that fucker.

He doesn’t share that part.

His suspension has been up for a week, and he’s been back on the serial kidnapping case.

We will do everything we can. We have our best men on it.

He tells the truth to the parents of the missing boys, as empty as it.

He leaves out the statistics of time passed to likelihood of finding a missing person.

He leaves out that their best man is an alcoholic who skips sleep too often, and when he does sleep, it’s usually in the office rather than in his own bed.

A stack of cases over the years, and not one goddamn lead.

One missing kid after another. No bodies. No notes. No ransom demands.

Just someone preying on the innocent.

Years ago, his second wife asked him why he never went to church with her.

Not sure I believe in anything anymore. Other than in the filth that is humanity.

He didn’t blame Brenda for leaving him three days later.

The man sits in his car, watches and waits.

He needs to silence the voice again.

That one. He looks like a bed wetter. He looks like you. He looks like your filthy, fucking father. He needs to be punished.

He sees no one else around, so he does what he’s always done before.

Pop the trunk.

Car still running.

No convincing or trickery.

Long strides from behind.

Hand over mouth.

Quick injection.

Limp and light body tossed in the trunk.

Back to the cabin.

Voice will be quiet for a few days at least.

Another boy taken.

But finally a break.

A witness.

A convenient spy who saw some of what happened.

The detective enters the room as calmly as he can, and quickly introduces himself to the mother and child.

“Can you tell me what you saw?”

The child looks to their mother for reassurance.

“It’s okay, honey. Tell the nice detective what you saw.”

“A man took Billy. Put him in his car and drove away.”

“Did you see the man’s face?”

A shake of the head.

“What kind of… can you draw the car?” The detective pushes a notepad and pen at the kid.

The kid nods and begins to draw.

“What color was it?”

“Yellow.”

“Draw any numbers or letters you saw on the back of the car.

The kid writes a “B” and a “9”.

“How did the car sound?”

“Kind of loud. Like a growl and it was clicking.”

“Anything else you remember?”

A shake of the head.

“You did great.” The detective takes the picture and, as soon as he is out of the room, runs to the officer manning the computer teletype.

“Get this search to the DMV now,” the detective orders.

“It’s only two…”

“I fucking know. It’s a yellow Chrysler Cordoba, so narrow it down.”

The officer looks incredulously at the kid’s drawing, but starts the search.

“Find me as soon as you have something.”

Police cars race as fast as they dare go on the slushy roads.

The detective’s car fishtails a few times, giving a warning to the following vehicles.

They have a name and an address.

They race past the private property signs and through the pines.

The detective stops as soon as he sees the yellow Chrysler Cordoba outside the cabin.

He leads the officers, hunched and running, to the cabin, and signals for one to start circling toward the back.

His shaking, but determined, hand reaches for the door which, unlocked, opens with ease.

A trunk sits in the far corner of the room.

A man standing in the kitchen looks at the detective, hesitates for a moment, then turns and runs.

The detective chases after him, and is too far away to hear the cry of pure anguish from the officer who opens the trunk.

The man turns to see police entering his cabin and, after a moment of hesitation, turns to run out the back.

He bursts through the back door, stumbles briefly, then continues his sprint as he ignores the shouts of “stop!” and “freeze!” and “we’ll shoot you, you bastard!”

His boots hit the ice of the lake hard, and a sound like the rubbing of styrofoam ripples out from beneath his feet.

As he reaches the middle of the lake, he turns to see the two policemen, guns drawn, slip to a halt as the one wearing a tie reaches a hand out to stop the one wearing a uniform.

The man turns all the way around to fully look at them, and takes a step backward.

He stumbles as the ice cracks beneath him and gives way.

As he falls, he reaches out and grabs the front of the dress of his mother, still spewing her vitriol.

Dozens of small hands grab onto the man, and pull him down into the freezing abyss.

psychologicalfiction
1

About the Creator

Aaron Morrison

Writer. Artist. I write horror primarily, but dabble in other genres here and there.

Influenced by Poe, Hawthorne, Ligotti, John Carpenter, and others.

Everyone has a story to tell.

Author of Miscellany Farrago

instagram: @theaaronmorrison

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Comments (1)

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  • Mackenzie Davis6 months ago

    Oh my god, I feel sick and glad at the same time. F**king what did I just read?! You entwine the perpetrator with the victims so well, that the humanity of the former shines through more than I would have expected. The nuance there startled me, tbh, but also, this is one thing I think horror can be great at doing. The genre can give a more holistic view of horrible situations, from multiple POVs, and from the side of the "villain." Seeing how he was abused, of course made his crimes make more sense, but also, we got to see how the "beast" behind the horror (if you will) exists in several forms, even the detective. In other words, fantastic story! Super super well-crafted. I almost never read this genre, but damn, when it's done well, I have to applaud the author.

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