It is what snags our gaze, keeps us looking, clicking, reading, even though our jaws clench and our innards quail. The dog that drags a human leg home to his master (who hastily buries it) the troll that kidnaps and holds three women hostage for decades, babies eaten by rats, left in dumpsters or toilets. We can’t look away. Weekly we gather to watch the gore of us dead coming after us the living (The Walking Dead, True Blood, Game of Thrones.) We watch how the survivors survive and take notes, but not without judging. When a body is discovered under a bridge we look to see the name, a photo, and once we see, we unconsciously provide ourselves with dozens of reasons why this will never be us.
But it is us. We are the body, the baby, the leg severed four inches below the buttock. We are the troll going to work every day with his horrible secrets, stopping for fast food on the way home and checking the locks twice when he gets inside. We are the elderly dog owner, afraid of being accused of murder. We turn away and gag when it is sewage, but take second and third looks when it is carnage. The gallons of blood sprayed on the highway by the dead deer, the deceptively soft and furry looking possum trailing intestines across the road. When the carrion eaters arrive we view them with disdain but are secretly happy to have the carnage removed from our sight, however slow the process. Ugly is ugly, after all, and things sucking blood from arteries or picking at the flesh and bones of the mottled dead is something we can tolerate only when we believe it is fictional.