Short Story
                                                The Body
                                                                  By Corey Niles


    It’s not every day that you wake up to find a dead body in your bed after losing your virginity the night
before. Just to clarify, I checked in my V-card at Taylor Eggleston’s pool party with James Wolanski. Then I
snuck back into my house and passed out in bed, which brings me back to the dead body.

    Naturally, as one does when faced with a rotting corpse, I screamed. It had to be some sort of prank
concocted by my older sister. She was probably hiding in the closet with her iPhone in hand, and soon my
moment of terror would be posted to social media for the world to view at my expense. I checked in the
closet, under the bed, and behind my window curtains, but no one was there.

    Was the body real? It smelled real. The pungent aroma of rotting fish and fecal matter wrapped in an
old jockstrap emanated from him.

    The Spaghetti O’s I inhaled last night when I got home pulled a Jesus Christ and had a second coming
all over my floor. It couldn’t be real. There were too many similarities in his features to a person who very
much alive for me to think that the body was anything more than an elaborate prank. Emily had to be
behind this. I rushed into her room across the hall, demanding answers.

     “Don’t you ever knock? I could’ve been changing, you little perv.”

    I refrained from reminding her that I was, in fact, sixteen, and, even without creepy incest shit, she really
wasn’t my type. There were more pressing matters at hand. “Are you messing with me? Is this some kind
of senior prank?”

    “What are you even talking about?”

    “The fucking dead body in my bed!”

    “Oh my God. You can’t think of a better excuse to barge into my room? Get out! I know you were in my
underwear drawer last night. I had them all folded and--”

    “I was looking for condoms,” I said before I could stop myself.

    “Sure you were.”

    “You really didn’t put anything in my bed?”

    “No. Get out.” She shooed me into the hall.

    “Where are Mom and Dad?”

    “It’s Sunday. They went to church or something sexually repressive.”

    “When do you--” I started, but she slammed the door in my face.

    Shit. It was a quarter after noon. Service had already ended. They could be home at any minute. Even if
this were some sick prank, the discovery of the body would surely send them into a frenzy. Mom was trying
to out-Catholic the Pope, and Dad was a no-nonsense military man.  If the body was real…well, I needed
to get it out of here. I could figure out where the hell he came from afterward.

    With paper towels wrapped around my hands, I gripped his leg and put my weight into a forceful tug.
Unfortunately, the rotting process had reached a point in which applied force resulted in separation from
the body. His arm ripped off and I fell to the ground, littering chunks of Jell-O-like clotted blood all over the
floor.

    Jesus Christ!

    I threw the arm back on my bed, wrapped the body in a sheet, and dragged it down the stairs. I felt like
a fucked up Santa Claus, bringing gifts to the little boys and girls. At the bottom of the steps, I dropped it to
wipe the beading sweat from my forehead. Then, in a terrible coincidence that frequents thirty-minute
sitcoms, my parents opened the front door.

    “Did you see what she was wearing? In a church no less,” said Mom, walking through the door.

    I stepped in front of the sheet-covered body.

    “Sammy, what’s wrong? You’re perspiring!”

    “You guys wouldn’t know anything about some crazy prank?”

    “What the hell are you talking about?” Dad craned his head over me.

    “What is it that behind you?”

    “Mom, it isn’t what it looks like.”

    Dad pushed me out of the way.

    “Who’s under your sheet?” Mom clutched her chest. “Don’t tell me you brought a girl home.”

    “No, Mom. It’s a dead body.”

    “Okay, and the Mormons are going to heaven,” said Mom with a laugh. “I hope if there is a girl under
there, she knows that premarital sex is a sin, no matter what that MTV says.”

    “Honey, I got this,” said Dad, rubbing her back. “Go make us some spritzers. We’re going to need
them.”   

    “He’s too young to be having sex!”

    “Mom. Please listen to--”

    “That’s Jesus’ hole! You hear me?” Tears welling up in her eyes, she stalked off to the kitchen.

    “Now son, when I was your age, I was what you could call a ‘ladies’ man.’”

    “Dad, you’re really barking up the wrong tree.”

    “I know your mother means well, but I also know that boys will be boys. Just make sure you wrap it
before you tap it, or you’ll end up in a loveless marriage with two kids and three mortgages.”

    “What?”

    “Nothing. I’ll go distract your mother. Sneak her out the back door.”

    “No Dad, you’re not listening.”

    He was already gone.

    “No one is listening!”

    I dragged the body out back, searching for somewhere to dispose of him before some sane person
saw me. Where was Jeffrey Dahmer when you needed him? As I thought of a place to purchase
hydrofluoric acid, our burn barrel caught my eye...

    The lighter fluid drenched sheet burned first, revealing a carbon copy of me in the flames. As I watched
the fire engulf the body, I knew I would never be him: the bratty brother and the women-crazed son. He was
the Sam they imposed on me. I had tried to be him in the past, but I couldn’t anymore. Not after last night.
Not after James. My family came outside to see what I was doing. They asked me questions, but I knew
they were talking to him.

    Maybe they always were.
About Corey Niles

Corey Niles is a writer
living in Pennsylvania. His
most recent publications
include "Buried" in Under
the Bed Magazine and
“The Hunt” in Eye Contact
Magazine.
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.