Suburban Hauntology — Mike Corrao

subtitle fix copy

As [redacted] slasher traces your path through the hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms of this home. Kitchen knife swaying in arcs over his shoulder. The path that you take is predetermined. It is engendered by the layout of the house. The linear orientation of a confined environment. He knows that you will eventually reach the attic, looking out through a small circular window. Either at the pleasure-dome, or the bodies floating from its opened peak.

And when you get there, the path behind you has illuminated. And the food that you previously mistook as bountiful has come to rot. Citrus juices or agave dripping from the tip of the knife. Your death was accounted for in the creation of this house. An agoraphobic sensation prevents your sudden leaping through the round / splatting your head against the walls of the dome.

You imagine that every other house looks just like this one. Leading to the same attic and window. And each with their own slasher, or the same slasher systematically going from door to door. Asking for the necessary limbs or organs to complete the task at hand. The slasher is a mason post-hoc. Maintaining the integrity of each suburban structure.

He inches closer to you and you present your neck to him.

Slasher: I am asking for the blood of your nape.

You present your neck to him.

Slasher: I am asking you to nourish this home.

You present your neck to him.

Slasher: I am asking for longevity.

The pleasure-dome is quietly humming as bodies lift from its opening. Levitating as the subjects in a witches’ flight. Flickering around their luminous source. Shadows fractured by the angles of the attic window.

Slasher: Do you know the importance of your neck?

You: It is important to me.

Slasher: It does not belong to you.

You: It belongs to the pleasure-dome?

Slasher: It belongs to the house.

You present your neck to him.

Slasher: You are a thief, disrupting our neighborhood.

You: Is this not my house too?

Slasher: I am asking for the blood of your nape.

You present your neck to him.

The slasher presses his kitchen knife between the vertebrae of your neck, carving a wedge between c4 and c5. Then dragging the blood from your wound onto his smock. Until the wound has dried and you are resting your weight against the windowpane. Cool glass on your forehead.


The one that led you here. With your eyes dried against the glass, starring at the pleasure-dome. Fantasizing about your departure into the sky.

But instead you are here. Being siphoned. Like a defunct engine.

[redacted] slasher murmuring something unfamiliar to the inside of his mask.

Dabbing your wound with his smock and breathing heavily.

Do you know each other?

Did you think that your encounter would go like this? With an isogonal image superimposed over the blueprints of the house. And soft Twin Peaks jazz humming in the living room.

You: Is that Angelo Badalamenti?

Slasher: I don’t know.

What a beautiful receptacle you’ve become. Awaiting the onset of the haunt. Static crackling in your dried ear lobe.

House: I want you to play me a song.

Slasher: How many bodies do you think are in the pleasure-dome?

House: It doesn’t matter. It’s only set dressing.

Slasher: Do you need more blood?

House: I do. Lungs and livers. No hearts. Something gelatinous. Collagen.

Slasher: Okay.

House: Spinal cords. Mandibles. Stomach acid, bile.

Slasher: Okay.

House: I am not satiated.

Slasher: Okay.

House: the slasher traces his path through the house. Starting on the porch, then moving into the kitchen where he grabs a knife from the counter, into the living room, the hallway, up the stairs, guest bedroom, master bedroom, bathroom, hallway, pulling open the hatch to the attic, into the attic, facing the circular window.

Slasher: Okay.

House: the slasher tests this path several more times until it is engrained in his memory. Until his body is able to do it without thinking.

Slasher: Okay.


[redacted] slasher chases you through the house until you reach the attic where he guts your body (taking lungs, liver, bone, etc) and looks out longingly at the pleasure-dome.

Your body lifts into the sky and thuds against the ceiling.

Resting against the mound of other subjects that have been dissected before you.

Mike Corrao is the author of two novels, MAN, OH MAN (Orson’s Publishing) and GUT TEXT (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, TWO NOVELS (Orson’s Publishing); two plays, SMUT-MAKER (Inside the Castle) and ANDROMEDUSA (Forthcoming – Plays Inverse); and two chapbooks, AVIAN FUNERAL MARCH (Self-Fuck) and SPELUNKER (Schism – Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. He lives in Minneapolis.