I can remember the first of the Satan Suicides like it was yesterday; my high school was where it all started. His name was Herby Reynolds, a quiet kid with big braces, bad acne and no social skills, too obvious a target to even get picked on, most of us just left him alone. You’d think the devil would start with the President of the United States or a movie star or something. But he didn’t, he started with poor Herby Reynolds. Herb’s body was discovered by his mom: he’d chugged a bottle of bleach but that wasn’t the real sick part. Before he’d killed himself he’d taken a razor and carved a message into his chest: “I Am REAL” followed by a pentagram. Herby wasn’t known to be into the occult and the police investigation turned up zero evidence that he was dabbling in the black arts. It made no sense; but like everyone else, I just wanted to forget about it and get on with my life. Herby was a sad case who let the pressure push him over the edge. Shit happens, at least it didn’t happen to me.
Things were quiet for a few weeks before the next death happened. Sandy Inez, physical therapist, divorced. Sandy stabbed herself twenty-five times with a cleaver. On her arm she’d carved the same message that Herby had: “I am REAL” and a pentagram. Sandy had never been suicidal and had shown no signs of depression before ending her life
At first it seemed like a local thing, the outside world didn’t even notice; but it didn’t stay local for long. The suicides started happening outside of town, farther and farther out. The local papers wrote a lot about it but no one really had an explanation. Then the whole thing just exploded, happening in every major city. The media picked it up and for a while my hometown was swamped with reporters and news teams trying to figure out how it had all gotten started.
The phenomenon came to be known as the Satan Suicides. Within a few months, deaths totaled one hundred thousand and rising, spreading out to the coasts before picking up in Canada, South America and Europe. The suicides were always extreme: self mutilation, raw poisons, stepping in front of buses, electrocution, even baiting wild animals. Someone filled their bathtub with acid and climbed in, someone else rigged up a block of concrete to fall on their head. I heard about one guy who rolled around on broken glass until he’d bled to death. They all had the words “I Am REAL” and a pentagram cut into their body somewhere. That was the one part of their bodies they were always careful not to destroy. They wanted that message to be read.
(C) 2014 Vincent Asaro
The complete story will be included in my upcoming short story collection Something In the Dark, to be published December 2014. For details visit my webpage: