A Story by Peter J. Hodgson

Manny will do anything to get back his one true love even if that means sidestepping the natural law.




A short story by Peter J. Hodgson

“I live without living and now I will die without knowing.” – Manny Pheeks


Manny Pheeks or known to his friends as

‘The Butcher’ simply because he had the worst job in the institution of medical health, he is the guy who mops up after terrible accidents. Manny is the tagger and bagger of unclaimed body parts, a profession where the morgue is his office and the body parts his paperwork. Kids were the worst, if anything got to Manny this was it, they would come packaged in plastic sterile containers, usually remnants from explosions or crashes. The small parts that were once part of a whole severed from life and from the experiences an adult takes for granted.


When he was fourteen he worked in a slaughterhouse with his dad specialising in the burning of left over meat produce and the carcasses of dead cows and pigs. The vile dead smells coming from the slaughterhouse spread for miles over Bradford. Working in such a place numbed Manny to the option of being squeamish making his job easier to handle. Originally Manny wanted to become a mortician as he loved the movie Phantasm it made him want to help people in a very real way, making the dead presentable to loved ones. Unfortunately this aspiration went out of the window the day his girlfriend died in a car wreck, Lara died with her mother and older brother in 2003. Lara, gone, severed from the world and from Manny’s heart.


Over the years Manny has longed for a miracle, something damn special to come from the either to inject life in his one and only Lara, but this is 2007 and Lara lays in the ground in her family plot where she is beyond moistness and rot, now she is but dust. Manny searched the internet for sources where he could discover some way of bringing Lara back from the dead and after years of searching he got some strange instructions on how to conduct a ritual in order to bring back the dead.



A jiffy bag package comes through the letterbox and lands on the foot mat, Manny jogs downstairs half dressed and picks up the package. Manny carries the package into the living room and looks at the label on the package before opening it with a knife. The sender stamp at the top left hand corner of the package reads: ‘thank you for shopping at 666.co.uk satisfaction guaranteed!’ The knife goes in one corner then slashed across the top, Manny empties the contents on the counter which consists of five laminated cards each one has an intricately drawn symbol and an instruction sheet displaying diagrams of body parts and candle alignment.



Manny is walking through the cold dark cemetery on his way home from his long day at the morgue. This cemetery is where Lara was buried; he stops for a moment and looks at her memorial then continues to walk away. Finally home, Manny enters his house and locks the door behind him, he puts his Quicksilver cap on the stairs adjacent to the door and sits the house keys on top then proceeds to the kitchen to put a black rucksack on the surface. The laminate flooring in the living room is clear of obstructions he kneels on the floor and proceeds to place cut to size cards bearing ominous symbols on them in the pattern of a five-pointed star. Manny leaves sufficient space in the middle of the points for something else. Manny goes back to the kitchen where he left his rucksack he opens it and pulls out another bag, on it there is a biohazard symbol. He goes back to the floor and kneels in front of the neatly placed symbols, snaps on a pair of latex gloves then reaches into the biohazard branded bag. As an employee of the morgue he had convenient access to various materials including unclaimed body parts that remain in refrigeration in tagged bags waiting to either be claimed or incinerated. A hand reaches into the bag and pulls out a severed hand, there are bits of glass sticking out of the skin he lays the hand on the floor. The ice from the refrigeration has thawed causing the blood to flow out of the stump. The ritual demands more pieces than one hand so Manny brings out more parts laying them out and using them to join the points of the star and leaving the centre free. When all the bloody parts are set in their configuration Manny brings out a white sculpture of a face and places it in the centre of the star. With his finger he uses the blood from the pieces and spreads it, drawing from point to point forming a pentagram, inverted which represents the negative of what the pentagram is known for, protection against the black arts. Necromancy is traditionally frowned upon as it insults the natural order of life that even witchcraft must respect. The final item is placed on the forehead of the mask, a locket he gave to Lara on their first anniversary. Nothing else remains to be done or said, this ritual required mere pieces, but it is the symbols that seal the deal no clammy words of rhyme and no ‘hubble bubble toil and trouble.’


Waiting for ages, waiting, and wanting still nothing happens to this carefully laid out ceremonial spread of desecration. The former owners of these parts will not take too kindly if they were wondering here in spirit. Manny lays back on the bean cube and with his eyes fixed on the mass he stares until his eye start getting heavy until he is asleep.


The symbols and meat mass on the laminate flooring begins to pulse; Manny is asleep and completely oblivious. Blood begins to pulse out but this blood is very thick almost like tar, small vein like tentacles spring from the blood ready to soak up the thawing fluids seeping out of the body parts. A breeze of unknown origin blows out the candles. A shadow has emerged, hunched and broken almost Neanderthal like with big black claws, its face is hidden by the darkness there is only the corner up light on at the other end of the living room but it is dim. The hunched being scuttles over to Manny who is still asleep on the cube bean bag on the floor, its hand comes close to his face, Manny must have felt the infernal moistness and smelt the fluids and wakes up, his face an expression of horror, the being grabs his throat. Manny knew that he hadn’t brought back Lara but had evidently brought something else; perhaps that wasn’t a resurrection ritual but more of a summoning one. The symbols and instructions mailed to Manny that morning was from a website called 666.co.uk, but through the impatience and wanting Manny saw no point in looking the symbols up further. A bit later that night there is a trail of blood spatter on the floor, something had happened, something bad, a clawed hand is clutching Manny’s severed head and dragging it along with the attached spine on the floor, dragging it along possibly devour in a corner somewhere in this room.

© 2008 Peter J. Hodgson

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eery. nice job :)

Posted 14 Years Ago

I love the idea of the laminated instruction cards, just hilarious! 666.com what an idiot! A great story. I love the tension in this and the ending is just so poetic with the severed head. Nice work. An enjoyable read. XX

Posted 15 Years Ago

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Added on July 13, 2008


Peter J. Hodgson
Peter J. Hodgson

Bradford, West Yorkshire, England

The following is a trailer spot for the new anthology availble from Lulu.com now. My art is availble to buy at:- The following film is the final cut of the above complete with soundtrack, enjoy .. more..