thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 16

The faceless man slipped around the shower curtain without a sound.  At a speed that betrayed his form, it grabbed the man from under his arm pits.  Two hands covered his mouth, muffling the screams.  The man struggled, throwing his weight left and right, but the faceless man didn’t budge.  Then the struggling turned into convulsing; finally the man stopped all together.

The faceless man let the body slip to the ground.  It crouched down to lift up the legs of the man.  From the toilet reemerged that slimy segmented body.  The gaping hole at the end gurgled and flapped as it spit water.  It curled down to engulf the man’s feet.  Pushing down further, it soon encompassed the entire lower half of his body.  Then the segments tightened, clenching onto the poor man, dragging him into the toilet; down to the hell I had just escaped.

All the while I had been watching this, I’d forgotten about the faceless man.  He was standing at the sink, staring into the mirror.

There was a knocked at the bathroom door.  “Bobby, are you okay?”  A woman asked.

The faceless man turned, but he was no longer blank.  It wore the face and body of the man he’d attacked.

It opened the bathroom door and said, “It’s fine.  Toilets clogged.”

“Oh,” the woman replied.  “Why don’t you leave it for the morning?”

The thing grunted his agreement and flipped off the lights as he left with the woman.

I was torn between the need to escape and the need to warn the woman.  But what would I say that wouldn’t sound crazy?  Who knew what that creature was capable of?  Could I fight it?  It would be easy to slip out the bathroom window.  Then again, I could be anywhere.

When it had become completely quiet, I pushed open the closet door.  The bathroom window was directly across from me.  It was small, but I could fit.  As I tiptoed across the tile, I considered how I would open it, and how I would get the screen off without making too much noise.

And then, “Jacob.”

I stopped dead, frozen like a dumb animal, and turned to look into the bedroom.  The thing was on the bed, straddling the woman.  She was flat on her back, head half way off the bed and her mouth wide open.  The thing had stopped amid its task.  One hand was cupped under his mouth, holding a gooey pale orb.  The other hand was shoving a second orb down the woman’s throat.  She must have been unconscious or drugged because she didn’t struggle.

Beyond reason, I forced myself forward, through the bedroom and out into a hallway.  As I passed it, I could feel the creature reach out for me.  Somehow I found my way to the front door, but all I tried yanked and flipped the locks, it wouldn’t open.  I spun to find another door and saw the thing standing in the hallway, watching me.  It just stood there watching.  Angry I grabbed the nearest thing to throw at him, and then stopped.  Instead, I flung it at a window.  The statue, solid metal and at least thirty pounds, bounced off.  I was trapped, and now understood what this thing was capable.

But then I heard the knocking in the walls, and puzzle pieces began to come together.  In the kitchen was a trolley laden with pots and pans.  It rolled heavily across the wood floor, and as I pushed it, the momentum built up.  I had only a guess, or maybe a feel that made me choose this wall.  The cart slammed into the drywall, breaking straight through.  It continued to roll down the long hallway that existed outside the house.

Whole in the Wall 15

But Melody wasn’t looking at the floor or the holes, she was staring at the ceiling.  Fearfully, reluctantly and slowly, I turned my head up.  There were more faceless men than I could count in the darkness; with the panic pumping in my veins.  I think I made a sound because all at once they turned their heads in my direction.  Blank and eyeless, all of them focused on me.

“Hello,” the said in unison.

Then they began to shift and squirm.  Upside down, their arms were tucked tightly to their sides.  And then they seemed to get closer.  I hoped it was my eyes playing tricks on my, but when Melody took a step backwards, I knew the truth.  Foot by foot they wriggled and dangled from the ceiling.  Beyond their torsos’, there was nothing human about them.  The pale slick part that made up what would have been legs was segmented and round like a worm.  They continued downward, rocking and curling slightly.  I didn’t have to guess; didn’t want to chance it that they would be more than long enough to reach me.

Tapping Melody softly, I nodded in the direction I intended to run, and she turned to get ready.  I had to be careful to get my feet under me, and make sure I had a good footing or risk slipping.  Then I took in a deep breath and made a break for it.  Melody and I weaved around the holes, speeding to who knew where, as long as it was somewhere else.

“Hello?”  The men called out from above me.  They were moving faster now, dropping down from above.  “What’s your name?”  There was a splash and slap of mud as one of them fell down behind me.  I didn’t want to look, but I didn’t.  “What’s your name?”  It was nearly face to face with me, and I stumbled into a hole.  “Jacob.”

My ribs slammed hard into the side as I went down the hole.  This time the drop was straight down.  I plunged into a pool of water that was deeper than I expected.  My body was spun in circles until I couldn’t tell up from down.  Desperately I swam to find the surface.  I came to the surface through another hole, just wide enough for me to squeeze through.  It was dark and quiet.  Afraid of what else might be lurking here, I quietly pulled myself out.  The ground was a few feet down, and I flopped out onto the hard floor.  I noticed immediately that Melody wasn’t with me, but there was no time to think about it, as the water began to slush and bubble.  Getting to my feet, I looked for somewhere to go, only to realize that I was in a bathroom.  It was a normal looking bathroom, but none that I’d ever been in.  To one side was a closet, and I slipped inside.  The door was slatted, and I watched as the faceless man emerged from the toilet.  It rose up on its worm body and appeared to scan the room.  Then let itself down onto the floor and crawled toward the shower.  The man half and the worm half began to detach from each other with the sound of ripping flesh.  Tendons and skin separated until a set of legs came sliding out.  The man crawled the rest of the way into the shower, closing the curtain behind him.  The worm half recoiled back down the toilet, and then there was nothing.

Was it waiting for me to show myself?  Was this just another part of the hell world that I had found myself in?

The bathroom door opened, and the lights came on. A man, balding and paunchy, came stumbling in wear boxers.  He yawned and strode up to the toilet.  For a moment, he paused and looked at the shower curtain.  Then he shook his head and started to pee.

Without a sound, the faceless man’s hand began to push the curtain open.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 14

The man’s hair was a mess with chunks of mud drying and slick.  He kept his arms crossed over his chest, but the cold was minimal in the caves.

I came with in arms reach when my eyes adjusted and the light was just right.  He looked at me, or didn’t.  The man had no eyes, only veiny skin where there should be.  There was a point where a nose would be, but it wasn’t fully formed.

“Hello,” he said from the place where a mouth would have been.  Neither his jaw nor throat moved to produce the sound.  “Hello?”  The sound came from him, from somewhere, somehow.

And he was still facing me.  Slowly I crept backward.

“What’s your name?”

There was something about the blank face that sent my heart racing with fear.  I tried to look away, but only worried more that it would do something while I wasn’t looking.


I moved further left so that it was no longer facing me.  But as I circled around the thing continued to track me with its empty eyes.  Finally, when I was directly behind it, it seemed to stop.  The thing curled up and then went straight and rigid.  A vibration started from the ground, shaking the gelatinous mud.  Suddenly the man disappeared down the hole he had been buried.  The hole began to widen, sinking in on itself.  I felt myself being pulled by the mud, closer to the opening in the ground.  Doing my best to hold onto Melody, I scrambled away.  For a moment, I was gaining distance until a bubble of noxious gas came up from the center.  The floor dropped, and the hole became a pit, the walls too steep to climb.  I slid down feet first, clambering to grab hold of something, but it was no use.  I dropped down into the abyss.

I slid down a long dark tunnel, expecting that at any moment I would fall into the grasp of that creature.  And then there was nothing but a long drop.  At the bottom more mud.  The impact had knocked the wind out of me, but I was still alive.  Gasping and writhing in pain, I felt myself slipping into unconsciousness.

When I awoke, Melody was sitting next to me, attempting to clean the muck from my face.  She, herself, was in no better state.

“Hey Princess,” I said softly.

Melody went still.

“Hello,” the man’s voice called out.  He was down here with me.

As best as I could, I slowed my breathing, trying to keep silent.

“Hello,” another voice called out.


“Hello,” more voices said in unison.

“Hello, hello, hello,” more said one after another as they became aware that something was in here with them.

“Hello, hello, hello,” the noise was deafening and there was no telling how many were here.

For the first time, I took a look at where I was.  A cavern, like all the rest; mud and rock.  But the floor was covered with hole; dozens of them.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 13

Brutus’s voice seemed to be. Coming from everywhere, emanating from the walls.

“It’s my time now, Jacob,” he said.

With her claw, Melody tugged at my pant leg, urging me to move.  I went hesitantly in her direction, still not sure where Brutus was hiding.

“I won’t let you ruin this for me again,” Brutus shouted.

He was behind me, and I spun to face him.  The glowing light showed him only in shadows.  Brutus stood almost too large to fit in the tunnel.  His massive arms grasped at the air, shifting back and forth like and insect examining its surroundings.

Then suddenly he lunged forward, snapping and snarling, “I will kill you.”

His face came into the light, feet from my own.  There were two gaping holes on the side of his face, where eyes might have been.  Inside was a mess of soft tissue.  The nasal cavity vibrated and buzzed as he took in a breath.

At my feet, Melody mewled desperately for me to run away.  My instincts took over, and we ducked down a nearby passage.  We were in a full sprint.

“Jacob,” Brutus roared.

He was coming up from behind us.  The stomp of his feet growing louder and louder.

Melody made a noise and a second later I saw what she was talking about.  Up ahead the cave narrowed to something that even I would have to squeeze through.  Both of us pulled from our reserves, hope springing us forward.  And just as the walls closed in I lowered my head and squeezed my shoulders together.  But my next step was into a pool of mud.  I slid forward losing my balance and falling face first into the muck.  Melody fared no better.  Her paws had been stuck until her momentum flipped her end over end.  She came to a stop near me.

Brutus slammed with all his might into the rocks behind us.  He hit and kicked at the cave walls hoping to break through, but he could go no further.  Then he stopped thrashing.  Brutus stretched one arm through the opening feeling around.  There was a buzzing coming from inside him.  And then he started laughing.

Worried that he had a plan, I got up to get further away.  My feet sank into the mud, up to my calf.  I tried to take a step forward, but the mud gripped me nearly holding me in place.  It would be slow going, but I had to continue putting one foot in front of the other.  Reaching out I picked up Melody, who was covered mud and seemed to have given up.  Behind me, Brutus was still laughing.  Perhaps it was because he knew about the mud?  Or maybe it was something else?

Time went on forever in the near darkness.  Exhaustion and pain ate away at my legs and my willpower.  I stopped periodically to rest, having to set down Melody despite her protests.  And in the end we managed maybe a hundred yards before we finally succumbed.  It was at the entrance to a large caver that I gave in, resting against the wall.  The room in front of us seemed to be vast, if only because the walls were obscured by the dark.  It made the idea of traveling any further, hopeless.

Leaning there against the hard rock, trying to keep from tipping over, I thought I saw something.  A man perhaps, thin; toward the center of the room.  I held my breath.

“Hello?”  A voice called out.  It sounded weak and distressed.  “Hello?”

“Hello,” I replied, feeling empathy for someone who may be in the same situation.

“”Who are you?”  He asked.

But now I didn’t reply, afraid somehow that revealing my identity would be dangerous.  I crawled closer, on all fours this time, trying to disperse my weight.  As I approached I could see the man more clearly, stuck waist deep in the mud.

“Hello?”  He called out again.  “Who are you?”

“Who are you?”  I asked back.

The man whipped his head around toward the sound of my voice.

“Who are you?”  He asked again.

“You tell me first,” I said.

I moved closer to him, hoping to see his face, to find some ally in this place.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 12

April struggled to breath under the vise like grip of the woman.  Her vision began to grow darker.

“The darkness comes.  It creeps and crawls, falls spring’s death eternal,” Brutus sang.  He was standing on the ceiling looking down at April.  The woman was too crazed to hear him, focused on strangling April.  “Say the word.  Bloom the flower.  Start the cycle anew.”

In a last desperate attempt to save herself, April thrashed her arm, slamming them into the side of the woman’s head.  As she started to swing again, shit hit something with the back of her hand.  It was the pistol.  Awkwardly she grabbed at it, until April had it pointed at the woman.

“Stop,” she tried to say out of breath.  “Stop.”  Before she lost all her strength, she pulled the trigger.

There were three ear shattering bangs.  The bullets ripped through the woman, putting holes in the ceiling.  Brutus looked down at his feet where the bullets stopped.  He looked down at April and gave a broad smile.  Then he flipped down from the ceiling and landed near April.  With one small foot, he stepped down on her hand, crushing her fingers until she let go of the gun.

“Now see what you’ve done,” Brutus said.  “You’ll all dirty.”  He pulled the woman off of her, to show the blood that now stained April’s clothes.  “Come,” she said lifting April up, despite his size.  Brutus led her to the bathroom.  “Wash,” he said and closed her inside.

April stood alone in the bathroom shivering, but not from the cold, from adrenaline and fear.  She looked at the mirror, at herself and the blood caked to her body.  Against her better judgment, she flipped on the shower and stepped inside fully clothed.  Slowly she peeled the filthy fabric from her body and used the now dead people’s soap to clean herself.  April found herself opening her mouth to scream, but nothing came out.  She had forgotten about the children.  Quickly, she shut off the shower and grabbed a towel from the rack.  When she opened the bathroom door, she found Brutus waiting for her.  He was holding up a set of clothes.  April took them and slipped back into the bathroom.

“Hurry up, It’s about to start,” Brutus said through the door.

Going as fast as she could, though her skin was still damp, April dressed.  This time when she opened the door the house was dark, except for a dim blue light coming from the living room.  Brutus was sitting on the couch with the TV on.

“Hi, mommy,” he said in a sweet voice.  “Come watch with me.”

April forced herself to take a step forward, one after another.  Until she finally came to the couch.  Slowly she sat down, with chills running down her spine.  On the TV, there was a cartoon bird dancing in circles.  Brutus laughed and set his head against April’s arm.  She clenched her body to keep from jumping away.  Until a knock came at the front door and they both leapt out of their seats.

“Police, open up,” a man shouted and knocked again.

“Don’t cross me again,” Brutus whispered and pushed her to answer the door.

“Police,” the man shouted again.

“Just…,” April’s voice cracked.  “Just a second.”  She crossed the living room and looked back to see Brutus sitting on the couch again, watching TV.  April opened the door and a flashlight shown in her face.  “Sorry,” she said trying to see passed the blinding light.

“We have reports of gunfire,” the man said.  “Can I come it?”

“Gunfire…,” April feigned innocence.  “It’s just me and my… son.”  She stood to the side so the man could see Brutus.

“Just to be sure, can I enter?”  He asked again.

Brutus made no indication of what she should do, so April said, “Sure.”

The man entered.  “Is there a light we can turn on?”  He asked.  When April didn’t say anything, he turned to her.  “Ma’am, is there a light.”

The police officer was the spitting image of her husband.  “Tom?”

“Do I know you?”  The man asked.