A Home to Die For

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Darrell B. Nelson

Copyright 2012 Darrell B. Nelson






Originally Published in Alienskin Magazine

I’d like to show you my humble home.

I’m sure you notice the gorgeous redwood floors, Those are actually 80 year old oak floors that I stained with human blood. The wood was dry enough to soak up the blood nicely and then I just had to varnish them.

I can see from your expression that you are amazed, and I do admit it was a lot of work but well worth it.

I also made the couch myself, I had to learn to make my own leather. Human flesh is tough to work with but after a few botched skins I learned to make it. And I think that handcrafted charm gives the room just the right touch.

Have a seat, the padding is made out of human hair and it is amazingly comfortable.

I see you’re shaking your head no. I guess with your hands tied behind your back it would be hard to sit comfortably.

Coming into the kitchen, I’d like to point out the grout work. Those flakes you see in the grout I made myself out of human bones. It’s a tough process grinding up a person’s bones to a uniform small size but in the end, the satisfaction of creating a truly unique floor is well worth it.

As an added bonus, what I couldn’t use on the floor makes a great soil enhancer. You wouldn’t believe the size of the tomatoes I grew in the soil where I dumped the left over bone dust.

Of course I have to use a gentle soap to keep it looking nice.

I make my own. Human fat makes such a wonderful soap.

On the table there you can see my soup bowl collection. I could have gone out and bought a set, but that seemed too impersonal. I hand crafted each one out of human skulls, It’s quite a process sanding and polishing the skulls, but I feel the food tastes so much better out of a bowl I made myself than out of some cheap bowl made in China.

Although the raw materials from one did originally come from China, I think that’s where she was from anyway.

Of course the set wouldn’t be complete without the silverware. I polished and shaped each handle from the hand bones of the owner of the skull, it’s a small detail but I believe it’s the attention to the little things that lift good design into a work of art.

Wouldn’t you agree?

I can see by your wide eyed stare that you are trying to take it all in, I’ll take that as a compliment.

In keeping with the theme, if you notice the frame of the chalkboard there, the flakes of texture are the left over fingernails, I dipped them in fingernail polish before gluing them on, which I think is a nice touch.

I do have to make a small confession here, I cheated on the glue. At first I tried to make my own glue from finger and toenails but I found that was a lot tougher than you’d think.

That wasn’t the only thing that didn’t go exactly as planned, of course.

I wanted to replace the plumbing with bones. I figured cleaning out the marrow from the bones would make a nice replacement for pipes, but I never managed to get them to form a watertight seal. I just ended up making a big mess.

I can see the thought of a mess terrifies you, but don’t worry it wasn’t that bad. Nothing a good mopping couldn’t take care of.

I must apologize, all this talking has left me a little thirsty, do you mind if I pour myself some wine. I’d offer you some but that would involve taking the gag out of your mouth.

Oh, do you like my Bota Bag for the wine. It’s made from the human stomach. It doesn’t really hold enough to be practical but since I’m not a heavy drinker I can sacrifice a little convenience for style. And I think the added layer of formality enhances the flavor.

I can see from your look you’re nervous about why I am showing you all this. Let me put your mind at rest I’m not trying to sell you this house.

After all the work I put into personalizing it, I don’t think I could ever sell it.

No, I wanted you to see the loving care I put into remodeling this house to let you know I’ll take the same care with you.

I wish it could be different, but I really have to redecorate my home office.


A year ago Maria would have been to embarrassed to leave the house in clothing this skimpy, but a lot had changed in the past year. Her thin tank-top and short shorts did flaunt her body, but more importantly they kept her cool. No more driving with the air conditioner cranked to avoid the oppressive heat.

The heat made her feet swell up and each step was painful. Amazingly for all the shoes she had in her closet, she didn’t have a single pair of sandals. All her shoes made her feet hurt on the hot sidewalk.

She made a decision, she headed into the nearest store. She would use their air conditioning to cool herself down before walking the remaining five blocks to her apartment.

As she walked through the door she basked in the cool breeze coming from the store’s air conditioner. She took a deep breath and noticed the welcoming, familiar odor. It was the smell of leather and suede. She looked around in horror, she had accidentally entered the worst place on Earth. She was in a shoe store.

“I’m a stronger person now,” she told herself, not wanting to face the heat on the street. “I can look without buying.”

She pretended to look at shoes. Last year she would have pick a few without a second thought. Now, she was able to resist trying any of them on.

Almost cooled down to the point where she could brave the heat, she headed for the door. Something caught her eye, the finest pair of boots she had ever seen.

“Those will look charming on you.” The clerk noticed her staring at the boots.

“I’m just looking,” she replied.

“Okay, but while you’re here why don’t you try them on?” The clerk took them off the shelf. “Just sitting on the shelve doesn’t do them justice, as they were designed to be worn by a beautiful girl like yourself.”

“No,” she said.

She hated to be so blunt. If she said more it would betray how much she really wanted to try them on. To see how they looked in the mirror. To feel the soft leather caress her skin as she walked.

“I was really just coming in here to get out of the heat.” She broke down, for the past year she tried to hide the struggle she was going through. She always remembered her daddy’s advice, “Never show weakness.” But here in the place she used to go for comfort her defenses broke down.

“If it’s the heat that bothers you, you’ll love this new material that these boots use for liner,” the clerk said. “Not only does it conform perfectly to your feet the first time you wear them, they have a special heat regulating property that will transfer the heat away from your feet so they will always be cool.”

“I...I… I’m on Carbon Credit probation.” Maria was almost in tears. She hadn’t told even her closest friends about how she had overspent her carbons.

“I am so sorry,” the clerk said. “It’s not that uncommon though.”

“It’s not?” For the past year Maria had lived in silence about her terrible secret. Afraid everyone would judge her for not being a responsible citizen of the planet.

“No, I have a friend that runs a tree planting company, he is always taking on clients that are on carbon probation or close to running out.” The clerk smiled at her. “He’s helped lots of people in your shoes, so to speak.”

“You can earn carbons for planting trees?” Maria asked. “I thought only large corporations could do that.”

“Oh my god,” the clerk gasped. “You tried to live through carbon probation by saving? How did you even manage? I mean I’m pretty tight with my credits but I still have to buy a day or two a month tree planting, or working at the algae farms. I can’t imagine living on half that.”

“Two-Thirds,” Maria corrected him. “At my appeal it was raised to Two-Thirds the normal allowance.”

“Still, I’d never be able to do that,” the clerk said. “You must have phenomenal will-power.”

“It wasn’t easy,” Maria opened up to the first person ever about her ordeal. “I had been cutting back for awhile, going around only using lights when absolutely necessary, limiting myself to one hour of media a day.”

“I grew up in my parents ultra-efficient home,” she continued. “So when I moved out I didn’t even think about it. I signed a three-year lease on a pre-carbon law apartment. It was the cutest place, and money-wise it seemed too good to be true. It was only after I moved in that I found out it was a carbon hog. The air conditioner alone used up most of my carbons.”

“Tell me about it. I try to only use mine during the heat waves, but that seems like most of the year.”

“I found that out. My daddy helped me out for awhile. He’d use his carbons to get me things I needed. After helping me for six months straight he cut me off. He said I needed to learn how to live on my carbon rations. I tried, I really, really, tried but I couldn’t make them last the entire month. One month I over-spent, that got me put on probation.” Maria couldn’t help but start to cry in front of the complete stranger.

“How terrible for you,” the clerk said. “And you never knew there were carbon jobs available for a price?”

“No, I just cut back more. ” Maria fought back her tears. “I stopped using my media center. I turned off the air conditioner and water heater. Turning off the water heater helped. An ice cold shower is great during heat waves.”

“I’ll bet.”

“I sold my car and used my bike to go down to the library and fell in love with books. But the real hard part was I had to avoid places like this as I could easily burn through a months worth of credits in a day. No offense.”

“None taken,” the clerk said. “I’m amazed at your spirit. I’ve met a lot of people struggling with the carbon rations that the Adjuster gives us. I’ve never met anyone who was willing to sacrifice everything just to prove she could do it on her own. Everyone needs help now and again. I’m surprised you didn’t take on a roommate to help share the cost of the carbons.”

“I didn’t want anyone to know I couldn’t handle it.” Maria couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. “I didn’t want them to think I was a loser.”

“Nonsense, you’re not a loser.” The clerk handed her a tissue to dry her eyes. “Everyone needs help now and again. I’m going to call my friend right now and see if he can get you in. I don’t mean to be blunt, I know you have no carbons but do you have any cash? My friend charges $50 a day to work at tree planting.”

“Money is not a problem, carbons are,” Maria said.

“Good news,” the clerk said when Maria got back from the bathroom where she dried her eyes. “My friend can get you in this weekend. You’ll earn 50 carbon credits for 8 hours of work. If you do a good job he’ll keep you on.”

“I don’t know how to repay you.” Maria was overwhelmed by the kindness of the stranger.

“I think I know of something that will help both of us out.” The clerk smiled, “Remember those boots you were looking at?”

“They had a 250 carbon credit price tag, there is no way I could afford that,” Maria said.

“200 of that is just the material they use so that fat rich ladies can brag about how many carbons their husbands earn. I hate them, coming in here like they own the world,” the clerk spat out then said in a conspiratorial whisper. “I’ve got a knock-off pair that has the same lining, looks almost identical, but are 98% recyclable.

“They only cost 50 carbons and they are just as good as the name brand.” The clerk smiled. “I’ve been saving them for just the right person, who has both the beauty to show them off properly and has the mental attitude to wear them like they deserve.”

“Only 50 carbons?” Maria quickly did some mental calculations. Her fugal ways had given her a savings of 60 carbons, and she had paid all her bills for the month. Having a 10-carbon cushion wasn’t something she was comfortable with but since the clerk was so nice and had given her a way to earn the credits back this weekend. She decided she wouldn't use anything that that required carbons for the rest of the week. “I’d like to try them on first.”

Maria loved her new boots; the walk home felt more like a foot massage than a walk. Plus, she knew getting the coveted position tree planting would help her get back on her feet. She had a huge smile on her face the whole walk home. Things were finally looking up for her. After her nine months of living hell she was finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Her smile turned to a look of horror as she entered her apartment and saw the broken window.

Her things were thrown everywhere. She'd been robbed. She didn’t care that the thief took her entertainment center. She hadn’t used it in months.

She was staring in horror at the contents of her underwear drawer thrown all over the floor when she noticed the ominous sound. The thief had turned on her Air Conditioner to be comfortable as he violated her things.

She looked around in horror; every light in the apartment was on. The thief wasn’t content just to steal her stuff and violate her property; he had to burn up her Carbon Credits like they were going out of style.

Before she could even make a move to turn anything off, all the power in the apartment died. She knew exactly what that meant. Her Carbon Credits were over the limit.

When the men from the Adjuster’s office came to pick her up they found her naked on the floor of her dark apartment. She was almost passed out from the cheap liquor that she had given $1,000 to a stranger for. In front of her were the remains of her new boots, that she had spent the night taking her anger out on.

“It’s not fair!” She said over and over again as they gently escorted her out of her apartment. “I really, really tried.”