Spine Call


Rrrrrriiiiiiiinnnngggg. Rrrrrriiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggg.


‘Roland, hi, it’s me.’ Breathing. Breathing.

‘What’s wrong? You sound out of breath.’

What’s wrong? I’ll tell ya what’s wrong, Roland. It’s my spine.’

‘Well, that doesn’t sound good, friend. The spine is important. The spine is everything.’

‘Don’t ya think I know that? Aaaahhh!’

‘What just happened? Are you okay?’

‘Aaaaahhhh! Egads!’

‘What’s happening over there?!’

‘My spine! It’s my spine, Roland!’

‘What’s wrong with it? Do you need help?’

Breathing. Breathing. ‘… No… No, it’s stopped, now…’

‘What’s stopped? What’s happening?’

‘My spine, Roland, it’s doing something to me.’

‘What do you mean it’s doing something to you?’

‘It’s moving. It won’t stop moving.’

‘I don’t follow you, friend.’

‘You don’t need to, Roland. Just listen to me.’

‘I’m listening, I’m listening.’

‘My spine is moving. Moving, violently. It hurts.’

‘Perhaps, you should lie down, my friend.’

‘I can lie down, I can stand up. Sit, walk, run, crawl – Hell! – nothing matters, nothing changes. My spine keeps moving, Roland.’ Breathing. Breathing.

‘Alright, just relax. You sound like you haven’t slept in days.’

‘They’re all leaving me, Roland. Every last one.’

‘I’m lost, again, friend. What’s leaving you?’

‘My bones, Roland! My bones are vanishing. As if they were never there.’

‘Oh, come, now. What’s this you’re spouting? Come to your senses.’

‘My feet are shapeless. My legs are useless and like rubber.’

‘You need rest, my friend. You need a full night’s sleep.’

‘My bones from the bottom up are disappearing.’


‘Do you hear me, Roland? Since I called you, my hips have dissolved and vanished.’

‘You need to stop this. You need to listen to me.’

‘It’s my spine that’s next, I tell ya. It’s moving and fighting. It’s going.’

‘I’m gonna drive over there if you don’t stop, soon. I’ll put you in that bed myself. I’ll see to it. That’s a promise.’


‘This is madness! What are you doing there?!’

Breathing. Breathing. ‘Once my spine is gone I won’t be able to use my arms and hands. I’ll still have those bones, but it’ll be the same as not.’

‘You hear that jingling, friend? Those’re my car keys. You’re worrying me.’

‘Don’t come here, Roland. You shouldn’t see me like this. All flesh and no structure. It’s pitiful.’

‘I’m sitting here, keys in hand, wondering how long you’ve really been awake.’

‘Yea, I’ve been awake awhile. Won’t deny that. But, that won’t make my bones come back. Roland, you just stay where – Aaaaahhh!’ THUNK. Silence. THUD. Distant breathing… breathing… breathing…

‘Hello?! Hello?! What’s happened?!’

Distant. ‘Oh, Roland. Oh, god.’

‘Talk to me. What’s going on? Have you fallen?’

‘And, it’s gone, Roland. My spine’s gone.’ Still distant.

‘No, my friend. You fell. You’re imagining things.’

‘My spine, it just went, just like that. I dropped the phone. And then, I fell, too.’

‘… My friend…’

‘Can only move my mouth and eyes, Roland. Oh, god. Oh, my teeth ache.’


‘Roland, you’re the only person I thought to call. You’re my friend. Paint what I’ve told you tonight. Paint these images on your white canvases.’

‘My friend… I… you… you need to stop this… this isn’t actually happening…’

‘Promise me you’ll paint what’s happened here tonight. Paint these horrors. Oh, it’s horrible. Aaahhh!’


‘My teeth – AH! – Roland. Like a mouthful of cavities. All packed with sugar… promise me you’ll paint.’

‘… I… my friend…’

‘My whole head, it feels like it’s splitting. Roland –‘ Silence. Breathing. Gurgling.

‘Hello? Are you still with me? Hello?’

Gurgling. Breathing. Silence. All distant.

‘… My friend. Hello?’

Breathing. Breathing. Gurgling. Guttural.


Inhuman. Silence. Distant. Distant. Intake. Exhale. Silence. Silence.








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