Chester Middleton III had everything lined up perfectly. He was to attend his first year of Harvard Law School in three months, he had acquired the funds for his own studio apartment, and things with his girlfriend had never been better. There was this one thing however… this one insignificant thing that began to take a toll on Chester, and although unsure how to handle it, he had to before it spiraled out of control.
Going to Harvard obviously had positives, but one negative was the stress induced insomnia that began on June 1st. The last thing he wanted was an addiction to Xanax, as he’d seen too many of his friends fall down that rabbit hole. Instead, he decided to take nightly walks around town, hoping the atmosphere and exercise would make him sleepy. He typically stayed within two miles, but one night, he decided to walk to the neighborhood cemetery located about four miles down the road. To his surprise, upon reaching the top of the cemetery’s highest hill, he let out a deep, loud yawn. As spontaneously as ideas can come, he decided to sit down for a while, rather than rush all the way home just to be disappointed and lie awake. That’s the last thing he remembered before waking up the following morning in the middle of a funeral service.
This became a nightly ordeal for Chester. Although unsure why, he knew the only place on the entire planet he could sleep was the Mockingbird Heights Cemetery. Things stayed this way for about two weeks. That is, until one morning at about 3am, when he woke up to the sound of shovels. He peeked around a grave and saw two men at the bottom of the hill, digging up one of the graves. Chester approached them and after some conversation, he became partners with them in the art of graverobbing, becoming an instant natural. However, just about a month before school started, something happened.
He went out solo one night, and after robbing five coffins, he decided one more would do it. For this one however, he wanted to hit the jackpot, so he went over to the historic side of the cemetery, chose a stone marked 1754. He dug it up as normal and snapped the lock with his shovel, but upon opening the lid, an unexpected puff of deteriorated human flesh and bone powder wafted into his nasal cavity. He lurched back against the dirt, coughing wildly and on the verge of vomiting… until he began to feel very euphoric. Naturally he’d dabbled with drugs in the past, but this was unlike anything he’d ever tried before. He felt as though he were lying in the world’s warmest, softest bed with forty pillows, and a silk weighted blanket on top of him. He felt laughter and joy radiate through his body. It only took once, but he was already desperately hooked.
Corpse sniffing became a regular thing for Chester, telling the other two he would take the historic section every night, for the sole purpose that they wouldn’t make the same discovery and use up all the powder on him. He would take Ziploc bags filled with the corpse powder and go through all of it by the following night, as the feeling would only last an hour, and once it wore off, it was like your insides were drying up and dying one by one. Holding the relationship with his girlfriend was difficult and finding excuses to break plans to go corpse sniffing was getting harder and harder, so he cut all ties, focusing entirely on his addiction. Eventually, however, full commitment wasn’t enough; he needed more. He asked one of his partners to join him alone one night, and when his back was turned, Chester struck the sharp end of the shovel through his back. He drank some blood, gnawed on some bone, but it just didn’t capture the same essence as the powder. A new idea then popped into his mind; what if he fed his partner the powder, then ate him right after? With the two mixed, it would be the ultimate rush!
The other partner was easy to trick into thinking the crushed powder was cocaine, and as he started to snort some, wham, Chester hit his head with the back of the shovel. Much to his disappointment however, it only gave the same effects as the powder on its own. Eager for the next high, he thought of new methods. The elderly? Children? Pregnant women? These all seemed plausible until, finally, he said “Screw this I’m done!” He could’ve quit cold turkey; he could’ve sought out the help of a specialist; but he decided on the one method to get off corpse powder that had been there since the beginning; the one method that he knew, without a doubt, would rid him of his current repulsive state forever… he popped a Xanax.
Michael Irace is a student at Central Connecticut State University
Header Photo Credit: Craig Whitehead