thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 18

Here’s a pre-Halloween present to celebrate the horror!

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I woke once to the sound of running water.  The sun was high overhead.  Melody was sitting on my chest doing her best to clean my wounds.  Her rough tongue scratched at the torn flesh.  But inch my meticulous inch, she worked, stopping only to dip her paw in the water.  She rubbed the water over her face, cleaning herself from the blood.

Managing to lift my hand, I slowly touched my face.  The skin, and some muscle, was gone all the way to my cheek.  All I felt were teeth when I searched for my lips.  When I realized my nose was gone too, I gagged and vomited; snorting out blood till I passed out.

The next time I woke, I was lying in a field of grass.

“La, la, lalalala,” a little voice sang.

“Meow, meow, meow meow,” Melody sang back.

The little girl, Cynthia and Melody were sitting next to me singing together.  They both saw me stir and turned their attention.

“I’m glad you made it back, Jacob,” Cynthia said.  “Are you feeling better?”

I was in fact, strangely well.  And for a moment I thought it had all been a dream.  I touched my face to find it wrapped in bandages.

“We played doctor,” Cynthia informed me.

“You saved me from Brutus?”  I questioned.  “You knocked.”

“I knocked, and you came,” she said.  “I knew you would.”

“Why did you help me?”  I asked.

Cynthia frowned.  “Brutus and I used to be best friends,” she said.  “We used to play all the time.  Then he got hurt, and he didn’t want to play anymore.  He grew, and now he’s just a bully.”

“What is this place?”  I asked, hoping she was ready to explain.

“Oh, Jacob, you’ve been gone too long,” she said.  “We can’t have that.”

“But…” I started.

“But you’re still missing your pretty wife,” Cynthia finished for me.  “All you have to do is find the right door at the right time.”

I struggled to sit up.  “How do I do that?”

“You just have to go to a long time ago,” Cynthia said, but nearby.  Here, I’ll show you.”

She took my hand, pulling me to get up.  We walked across the field.  It must have been summer here, where ever we were.  Butterflies flittered from flower to flower.  A soft breeze rustled through the foliage.  We approached a large tree standing alone.  Cut into the trunk was an odd shaped door.  Cynthia pulled it open, but Melody led the way.

“Meow,” Melody said, seeming to sense that this was the right direction.

Inside, the hallway was made of gnarled wood, and Christmas lights were strung up along the walls.

“I still don’t understand,” I said.  “Have you always lived in this place?”

“We always have, always are,” Cynthia replied.

We reached the end of the hallway and this time I pushed the door open.  I stepped outside once again.  Now it was dark and the air chilly, but there in front of me was my house.  I turned to see that I had emerged from my tool shed.  Melody darted out onto the grass she remembered.  Cynthia stood in the door way smiling.

“Always are?”  I said confused.  “And what are you?”

“We are the eaters,” Cynthia said.  “We are what happens when they stand and stare into the darkness for too long.  We are there staring back.  And we are hungry.”

It must have been in my eyes, or maybe I took a step backwards.

“What?”  Cynthia asked.  “What?”  Her voice got louder.

Quickly I slammed the door closed in her face.

“Jacob,” Cynthia screamed.

My hands trembled and fought to snap the padlock into place.

“Jacob, what are you doing?”  Cynthia pounded on the door.  “Jacob.”

The lock clicked, and the shouted stopped.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 17

The only way out was back in, and still I hesitated.  My mind was working on a way to believe that I could break out of this house and passed this thing.

Even after smashing through the wall, the creature continued to stand in the hallway watching me.

Behind me the floor boards creaked, and before I could turn, I was thrown into the air.  I slammed head over heels into the dining table.  Laying on the ground for a moment, I tried to reorient myself.  Two large clawed feet moved in my direction.

His throat buzzed as Brutus came toward me.  I watched him search, seeming only to know where I might be, and not where I actually was.  The joints of his shoulders swiveled in unnatural directions.  They rotated up and twisted right, working as antennae, feeling the air.

Before I moved, I needed a plan.  He was between me and the door.  As long as I stayed out of his reach I should be fine.  So, I needed a distraction.

The instant I lifted up the chair, Brutus’ arms shout out straight, pointing in my direction.  Quickly, I threw the chair away from me; the noise caught Brutus’ attention.  Then I ran.

The faceless man had moved into my path while I wasn’t paying attention.  He grabbed me by the shoulders and held me tight.  No matter how hard I struggled or kicked, he held strong.

“Jacob,” Brutus hissed then with one hand stuck me on the side of the head.

The faceless man and I stumbled sideways into the wall, and still he wouldn’t let go.  Brutus took another swipe, this time hitting me in the ribs.  A third blow hit me under the chin, and I felt myself falling, falling into the darkness.

A second later I opened my groggy eyes to see Brutus.  His hands were on my chest, groping up to my neck and then my face.

“Jacob,” he said.

He lifted me into the air by my head.

“Please,” was all I could manage to say.

“Thank you, you’re welcomed to some sweet revenge,” Brutus replied.

His mouth opened wide; a hundred pointed teeth shone white.  Down inside, Brutus’ throat was made up of a series of holes.  The extended and pulsated like suckers, anticipating a meal.  He twisted my head to fit inside his gaping maul.

It felt at first like I had been hit in the face with a bucket of ice.  The sharp burning sensation of your nerve endings firing all at once.  And then the numbness fades to be filled in with pain.  The sting of the air on your open flesh.  The stabbing throb of blood flowing freely.  The blinding panic of your mind.

Brutus dropped me to the floor, and I landed hard on my knees.  It wasn’t enough to distract me.  I wanted to hold my face to stop the bleeding, but the fear was too much.  The fear of what I would or wouldn’t find there.  Blood drizzled down into my hands.  Brutus roared.  I tried to cry, and all that came out were mumbles.

Then amongst the chaos, a familiar sound.  A pitter patter, and sing song.  Melody was running around me frantically, singing at the top of her lungs.  I felt Brutus shift and take a swing.  Melody ran off across the room, and Brutus stomped after her.  I could hear him trashing and smashing everything that he crossed.  But Melody had run around already, she hit me full force, over and over, urging me to go.

He hadn’t taken my eyes, and I finally dare open them.  There was blood everywhere, and I left a trail as I struggled to the exit.  Melody continued to lead Brutus in circles.  I kept moving, closer and closer to the door.  As I opened it, I turned to see Melody sprinting at me.  The instant she was through I slammed it closed.  And once again I fell, back down on to the mud, down the inclined to hell.

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.

The Hole 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.

“Hello.”

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.”

“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.