C is for Cotard’s Syndrome

On the fifth of March, Andy realized he was dead. It shocked him, but only for an instant. It occurred to him when he pulled himself out of bed and stepped into the bathroom. He was standing under the shower head, the hot water running down his body, his penis limp in his hand, and he thought, “This isn’t right.” The water wasn’t warming him. The shampoo held no scent. His cock was unresponsive to his ministrations. Like there was no blood flowing though his body.

He looked at his hands, considered them carefully. Was there a purple hue to them? He’d read once that that was what happened when you were dead. The blood settled in the lowest part of your bodies, flowing like water. Hanged men’s hands and feet swelled and turned dark. And his hands were darker a moment ago, it seemed, but they were lightening, turning pink, then pale. But why?

Because he was standing. Because the blood had drained into his elbows.

He looked down at his feet, and in the dim light of the base of the tub, they were certainly darker than he ever remembered them being before. The realization should have terrified him, he realized, but it didn’t. That should have terrified him too, but he barely felt anything. He sighed, turned off the water, and stepped out of the shower. He reached for the towel, his arm getting halfway there before it fell limp at his side. What did it matter if he were wet? He stared at the mirror for a moment, examining his sunken eyes, his sallow complexion. He poked at his cheek and didn’t feel it. He ran his body over his chest and stomach, prodding at brittle bones, at organs rotting into paste.

He climbed back into bed, as naked and wet in death as he had been at birth. Work began in thirty-five minutes, and he had a date with Miriam from accounting that evening, but what did any of it matter? He was dead.

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2 responses to “C is for Cotard’s Syndrome

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