Bad Karma

Things don't just happen in this world

Christopher Reader

I have told you several times, that asking me any more questions is pointless. Keep me here forever if you need; put me in prison, kill me or blame everything on me; but I can’t tell you anything more than I’ve already mentioned you. It is everything that happened, and I’ve told it to you perfectly calmly and clearly. If you cannot understand my words, perhaps it is because I am still frightened about the things that I have learned and what this might mean for the future.

Again I will tell you, I have no idea where Chris is, though I think – or at least I hope is dead after the things he has done. I have been his landlord for 7 years and a partial accomplice into the things he has done. I will not deny this, but to be sure a lot of what was going on was out of my comprehension. When you found me, I had a minimal idea of what had actually occurred that night. The reason for the collapse of the building I know nothing more about it other than what I have told you already. Hallucinations or a dream part of me wishes it was so – yet my mind remembers so clearly the events that took place. Chris will not return and neither will that terrible thing – I cannot describe it – that was once his daughter.

As I said before, the lab in the basement was known to me, and to some extent, I shared responsibility for it. Of the vast amount of notes and diagrams which I had seen all are so complex that I am unable to understand. His final conclusion, which brought on the end, was a poetic masterpiece. Although I could not understand the meaning behind it, I could not deny it was beautiful and was convinced he was going to change the world. I’m somewhat glad I couldn’t understand because I never want to see this experiment repeated ever again. I would die before I let that happen. Chris was a very dominating person, and sometimes I was afraid he was dangerous. I remember my gut feeling the night before that awful event when he incessantly congratulated himself on how he would prolong human life by a thousand years. I am not afraid of him now, for I suspect he is in suffering beyond our imagining. Now I am worried about him.

Once again, I have no clear idea of what we were doing that night. It definitely had something to do with his new formula which he held in his hand at all times. I swear I did not know what was going to happen.

His lab was advanced, so advanced I trembled at the kind of things he was keeping secret from the world. We kept it deep under the house to prevent the smell of burnt metal from annoying the neighbours. On every surface there was paper covered in doodles and numbers, I had the notion, and Chris and I were pioneers in something that was going to be world-changing although I had no idea what it would be.

My first memory of that night was the being concerned with the large container that now inhabited the room which appeared to be drawing a lot of power and causing the lights to flicker. Chris never said a word to me for the task at hand seemed well known to him as he instructed me to pass him machine parts and chemicals. After working away for almost an hour, we both stood back to admire his work and survey what he was building. Chris still said nothing appears to be distracted by making mental calculations. He activated the device , from which rushed an effluence of the metallic smell so nauseous that I startled back in horror. After a break, we continued to work on the machine after the scent became more bearable. The lights continued to flicker erratically, and the walls were dripping in some detestable reddish brown moisture tainted with the strong smell of iron. This was the first time that Chris spoke to me.

“I’m sorry, but could you wait upstairs for a while?” he said “It would be terrible of me to let you be exposed to anything dangerous. You don’t know, even from what you have been involved in before, the things that could go wrong at this point. It’s extremely dangerous, and I doubt anyone knowing the full risk they were taking would agree to be down here. I don’t want to offend you, and I’d be thrilled if you could stay down here but I have a certain responsibility for your safety I couldn’t allow you to die… or worse. I can keep you informed by text message.”

I can still remember those words so clearly, and I can remember my own arguments against his wishes. I was desperately anxious to see what he was doing, yet he was inflexibly obstinate. He even threatened to ask me to leave altogether if I remained insistent on staying. I eventually gave in and went upstairs.

For a while, I could still hear him piecing together his infernal machine, but eventually, the sound died. I was alone, yet trapped above his lab by my curiosity as the metallic smell wafted up from the basement.

I regularly held my watch of the cellar door under the flickering lights and listened with feverish anxiety for the sound of my phone, but for more than 15 minutes I heard nothing. Then a familiar alert caused me to jump a little. Apprehensive as I was I wasn’t ready for the words I read all in capital letter to denote the urgency of the message.


I didn’t reply I couldn’t wait.


This time my fingers did not hesitate to type a reply.

What is it?

Once again came another message.


I sent him several text messages in reply in order to discern more information from him be he didn’t reply for another few minutes. My phone beeped again.


I fervently requested that he, please tell me what was going on. Around me was the flickering lights which had upped their tempo to a strobe, below me in his lab some great peril beyond my understanding. My friend was in great danger and through my fear I felt angry at him that he would believe I would leave him down there to die. Again my phone alarmed.


Something about his evidently fearful messages gave me a boost of courage that allowed me to begin to open the cellar door but the silence was broken by Chris screaming in utter despair.

“Don’t come down here. It’s too late there is nothing anyone can do now!” his tone changed as though somehow all fear had left his body and he had now accepted his fate. “Please go now before it’s too late.”

I tried my best not to listen to him and to break out of the icy fear that had gripped my body. I stared down into the flickering darkness of the cellar unable to see what was going on down there.

“You must go, it’s better that two people die instead of three – don’t make this worse than it already has to be – lock the cellar door and run for your life – goodbye my friend.”

It was at his point his shouting gradually increased to shriek full of the horror of all eternity.

“Jessica stop it. I didn’t mean to do it. Please don’t hurt them.”

Silence. I sat there completely baffled as I whispered down into the darkness, then I muttered, then I called, then I shouted trying to find out if he was all right.

Then finally came the final conclusion of it all. One last scream that was so terrifying I could only join in. What felt like an eternity passed, and when I had finished screaming I found there was only silence.

“Chris are you there?”

It was at this moment the metallic smell came with full power out of the basement causing me to cover my face and retch and cough. Suddenly at that moment, that smell became so vivid to me. The smell of iron. I went to the bathroom mirror and saw my reflection in the mirror. The condensation of the hard water left a rusty reddish brown hue on my face. I tasted it, and it was salty. I saw in the reflection Chris standing behind me also head to foot covered in a scarlet red liquid. A vision that lasted with me all the way to waking up in the hospital. The terrible metallic smell reminded me ever so much of blood. As we stood there together – I was too afraid to turn around to look at him directly – I asked him.

“Chris, are you ok?”

And this was the last thing I remember him saying in a voice that seemed unnatural and hollow.

“I can see you reading this”

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