The Visible Filth
Nathan Ballingrud
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 5
Summary

Will goes back home and plays video games as he waits for Carrie. He receives a text message on the yellow phone he picked up at the bar from someone by the name of Jason. The message asks whether he has managed to peruse the phone gallery, for he might like the pretty pictures. Will opens the gallery and sees four pictures and a video file. He opens the images and sees a picture of a man’s picture taken from proximity; the other three photos reveal the man as dead, his head chopped off, skin peeled and a hole on top of the head. Upon viewing the images, Will experience a surge of shame, guilt, and fear — all at the same time. But irrespectively, he decides to watch the remaining video. On it, he sees the head placed on a table, and there are several people at the scene. A blonde girl appears in the frame and is asked to get out of it by a girl’s voice. Next, the head on the table slightly shifts, and four thick pale fingers extend from inside the hole and hook over the forehead.

Carrie comes home as Will views the video, and her presence frightens him. He flips the phone over, which makes her suspicious about whatever he was watching. Her first conclusion is that it had to do with Alicia. He, in turn, scolds her about Steve and insists that she should not see the contents on the phone. Carrie could not let go of the issue, so Will decides to let her see. After seeing everything, she asks if the dead man is Garret, who text messaged asking for help last night. They call the number he had messaged from, but something frightening answers, making Will throw the yellow phone across the room in a reflex of disgust.

Analysis

Will is contented with where he is in life, and is residing in his comfort zone without making any attempts to improve his livelihood. This explains his behavior of choosing to play video games as a way of passing time rather than doing something constructive. Ballingrud utilizes this part of the book to introduce the indented horror in the story, which seems linked to the yellow phone Will found at Rosie’s. Undeniably, the images observed on the phone evoke the thinking that, possibly, a cult involving young college students and killing people as art exists in the region. Also, the voices from the video file indicate that the youngsters involved are also scared by the events that follow their evil doings, especially after the appearance of fingers from the hole on the dead man’s head.

Carrie lack of trust for Will is apparent as she sees Alicia as a threat to their relationship. Even after watching the breathtaking video, Carrie is concerned about Garrett, who she does not know. Her reaction shows that she is caring, and believes that people who ask for help should always be given the necessary assistance.

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