Friday, April 15, 2016
Seeds of Insanity
Ordinary days just start, extraordinary days burst forth, taking our breath away, shifting our world, trampling our reality. Although in hind sight she realized that there had been signs, a fore shadowing, tantalizing clues to future events. She had missed them and forever she would wonder if that made a difference.
Macy tucked the corner of the sheet in with one hand and fluffed a pillow with the other.This job was becoming tedious but she was ill prepared for anything else. She spent periods of time searching for a new job, scanning the paper each week, but in the end it just took took much energy to find something else. She grabbed the trash can liner and threw it carelessly into the larger can on her cart. Ripping loose a new liner she mindlessly inserted it.
As she went to place it next to the bed her foot struck something just under the edge of the bed. Whatever it was rolled deeper under the bed she bent down and peered under. It was shiny and elongated. Stretching she reached for it, hairs standing on end along her arm, she grasped it, pulled it out and muttered.
"A frigging travel mug, worthless." turning she tossed in the trash bin. As she did something grabbed her ankle and she jerked away from the side of the bed; gasping, she collided with her cart. Puzzled she dropped to the floor and from a distance scanned the area under the bed. Her eyes skated from one end to the other but only dark carpet stretched under the bed.
Room 212 was unoccupied, other than herself so she chalked it up to an active imagination and moved on to the next room. Had she bothered to look at her ankle she might have noted the dark red marks encircling her ankle. Only later would she notice them darkening into bruising.
The next day she found her self doing the same thing, all over again, mindlessly cleaning rooms, one after another. When she reached room 212, she hesitated, glancing down the hallway, searching for some reason to skip this particular room, finding none, she opened the door and stepped into her nightmare.
She tackled the bathroom first, bathrooms always gave her an immediate sense of accomplishment, towels in the cart hamper, sinks shined, mirrors wiped down, and cute little bottles of shampoos and lotions replaced, she turned back into the room itself. She walked cautiously toward the bed.
Then the world as she had always known it ceased to exist. It didn't come to an end with a blast, or a roar, or even a bang. Instead it came to a end with a hiss, a slithering sound and grayness. She first noticed the gray, at the start she thought it was a rumpled discolored sheet protruding from under the bed but as she walked forward, it slipped from under the bed, raised to its hind feet, locking its eyes on her, it challenged her movement. She froze.
She was reminded of a large lizard, its skin rough, but it had human qualities too, its skull all too familiar in size and structure. It twisted now, stretching after being confined under the bed, and as it moved it transformed, becoming more human like, but still retaining its reptilian skin, with sharp claws on miniature hands. She found herself lost not in its beady eyes but in its grayness. She felt herself swirling into the grayness of the creature. helpless to break free.
Cocking its head, it blinked at her and opened its mouth, stretching lips over rows and rows of razor sharp teeth. It seemed to smile, she mindlessly noted the dark red nestled between the teeth, old blood and bright red new blood too. She shivered. Then as quickly as it had appeared, it dropped to the floor and slithered snake like under the bed. Her eyes darted around the room, waiting for it to reappear, but the room remained empty, it was then she noticed the black shoes, the feet protruding from under the foot of the bed. That's when she found her voice and she screamed but no one heard.
She charged from the room, as if on fire, fleeing down the hallway without looking back. The police arrived, recorded some information, and exchanged guarded glances when she talked abut the creature under the bed. They sent her home early that day.
How she managed to continue working she had no idea. She wondered about it later and thought perhaps it was simply a product of pretending. Pretending, as if, the police were right and her vision of the creature was simply the shock of the sight of the mutilated man; the raw gaping wound in his throat turning gray around the edges. Two weeks went by, her mind screaming silently to run, to flee, to escape but as so often happens there was no escape really. The creature had slithered into existence in the hotel room, in her mind, in her life and killing it was impossible.
It was on the third day of the third week and she stood beside her cart just outside a room. She wasn't even sure of the room number, but it was the second floor and that alone numbed her, frozen with dread, unable to open the door, incapable of crossing the threshold into a nightmare. In the end, she didn't even have to open the door.She felt it behind her. Slithering along the hallway floor, approaching her without hesitation. She clenched her eyes shut, refusing to look, hoping that things only come into being through acknowledgement. If she could simply wish it away. Then she felt the tiny scratches, pinpoints on her ankles and without thinking she looked down.
It's head was cocked to the side in a impossible position, like a doll with its head rotated all the way around. It grinned at her with tiny pointed teeth and black eyes. She thought of a deep abyss when she met those eyes, heart lurching, she swirled and ran screaming down the hallway into the lobby, out into the street. She wouldn't have stopped at all if she hadn't collided with a moving car in the middle of the busy street.
She awoke to flashing lights, medics and curious eyes. They loaded her onto the stretcher and carted her off to the hospital, first to x-ray then to intensive care and eventually into a psych consult. After which she ended up at Clarkson Mental Sanatorium, That's where insanity met reality. It's where she met Henry and the creature in the wall. That's where she came to realize that the seeds of insanity aren't cultivated in the mind but rather grow just this side of sanity in the dark dampness of doubt, watered by terror and nourished with evil intent.