Let love in
I felt the room grow darker and the air heavier as if the room were sinking into an inky black abyss.
Jorge leapt from his corner and gripped the writhing tattered figure with his huge brawny arms as Ericcson howled and cried “They were always there waiting! They’ll come for you as they came for me!”
Jorge seemed to struggle to keep the much smaller man in place and as I watched in horror I saw odd depressions on his dark skin as if he fought against some invisible colossus and then came an ungodly cracking noise and his arms twisted and snapped back as if he were an insect in the hands of some veracious child.
Then I saw Avery, his face drawn in silent horror, his eyes locked on the scene of the large Indian fighting with this invisible force, fumbling blindly in the drawer of his desk.
Another hideous cracking noise, sending spurts of blood and vile smelling marrow across the room, hot and viscous as it was, Jorge’s deep booming cries growing louder and then muffled and high pitch and shrill like an animals. I tore my hands from my face glued as they were by sheer fright and I saw his head squeezed as if through shrink wrap, compressed and then pop like a watermelon dropped from ten stories. The rest of his limbs spasmsing with some electric impulse, torn asunder by the invisible tendrils.
Avery, his aphable bearded face was white as a sheet and his hand was ever whiter as it gripped the handle of a pistol he aimed in the general direction of Ericcson firing wildly and hitting only the walls of his tiny office and me in my gut, the burning pain seering my flesh like a hot iron.
Then his hand was gripped by some unseen impulse and it was snapped as if it was a twig, the bone protruding out of the skin, his heart beating fast pumping out tiny spurts of dark red blood over his desk as he coughed and hiccuped the gun dropping into my lap glazed in a warm sheen of his vital fluids.
I fumbled the thing frantically with one arm, the other to stem the bleeding from my wound. The gun was hot and wet and I’d never even seen one outside of a film before let alone handled or fired such a thing. I gripped it in both hands and tried to make it hold still but for it’s incessant shaking in my boney fingers. I squeezed it aiming at the mass of opalescent tendrils stretching out from Ericcson and he vomited the vile things into this world.
Avery eyes bulged out of his skull as the invisible arms squeezed him, the veins in his face growing long and distended and then bursting, the blood of which seeping into his clothes.
I squeezed the trigger as hard as I could but it felt hot and slippery in my hands and it wouldn’t stay still, I had to fight the thing to stay straight and will the trigger to fire and the hammer to fall and when it did there was only a distinct pinching sensation around my neck and then blackness.
Only a feeling of falling, an emptiness, a deep black nothingness, tumbling forever and then a light, a horrible light and a screaming which could only have been my own but seemed to be that of a babies first, a new birth, a new horrible world born before me as I opened my eyes.
Then a sound of patting water and a warm steam wafting off from the corner of the room and a woman’s voice and an odd fibrous sensation around my neck and a distinct lack of all other sensations below that.
Upon opening my eyes I saw that I was no longer in Avery’s office nor it seemed even in the asylum anymore, of which I was certainly grateful but where was I? A television was switched on as it sat upon a stand in the corner of the room.
The room which seemed to be that of a hotel or motel with a bed I was, I assumed, perched on somehow. I say somehow because at the time I couldn’t account for the angle at which my head had come to rest and why I could no longer move. I must have been restrained somehow, had Ericcson taken me as his prisoner. What had happened, was it part dream, part reality? Had my consciousness tried to make sense of it in my sleeping hours and come up with a garbled nonsensical answer through sheer trauma? I scratched my head and felt a little silly. For surely I could not indeed scratch my head if I were so restrained but even so I felt stiff and immobile and could not move to look about the room, was I drugged?
A woman started speaking on the television, she was dressed in a blue blazer outside of a gaudy Victorian looking building painted a startling fuschia colour waffling with some pre-prepared patter.
“This is Lyndsay Northwoods at the scene of the Pink Bird Insane asylum where earlier today there was a daring bloody escape. It is reported that one Zane Ericcson, the former semi-famous painter from these parts cut a swath of mayhem through the building before escaping in a stolen car.
Three men are at this moment reported dead but due to structural damage from the fire and only the bodies of the head of the facility Mr Avery Fournier, An orderly Jorge Littlebranch and an intern Henry Tillinghast of which his head was not recovered were found in the smouldering reckage.
“An intern?” I sneered. “How dare-?”
Suddenly it sank in, her words, trite and sugary but bearing the fangs of reality. I had been reported dead, I laughed it off at first thinking how silly it was to be sitting here hearing of my own death but then another realization came rushing in pushing that other out. How could it be a mistake if they had found a body, but surely I was here and could not be in two places at once and thus be dead. A fanciful giddiness took me and I let in insane imagining of the slightest chance and the daemoniac implications it implied, the body was headless.
Just then as my thoughts became stacked and door opened and the sound of the rushing water stopped. I could not turn my head to see it, but turning my eyes to see there was a half naked man walking into the room rubbing a towel over his head, his lower body also covered in a towel wrapped around his waist.
“I thought I’d leave the television on for you” The man said, his voice distinctly familiar.
He reached for the remote on the bed and changed the channel to some annoying gameshow where people with over hairsprayed hairstyles span a giant wheel.
“I’ve very sorry about all this Henry” The man sighed and all at once he dropped the towel away from his shaggy hair and onto his hairy shoulders and it took me a moment before the face was recognizable to me because it looked somewhat different. But it was Ericcson, looking as he did at an early stage, as I’d seen him in a magazine once. He looked taller and stronger and rejeuvenated somehow and his voice was strong and without that odd buzzing.
“This is all very new to me”
“New? What are you talking about what am I doing here?” I found myself oddly animated raising off from the bed in an odd elevated motion that seemed to take me right up as if I was travelling on a dumbwaiter.
I could turn and move now but I suddenly felt very tall and thin as if I might be flexible enough to bend and fall and come tumbling down. I turned and twisted as if my neck were on a lollipop stick catching a quick glance at myself through the steam I saw a reflection in the bathroom mirror and it was almost too horrifying for me to comprehend, a sickening parody, a pantomime of a human shape made even more grotesque as it was my face that sat atop that mass of near see through tentacles writhing beneath my neck.
“Oh my god.”
“Not your god”
“You did this to me”
“Yes, well, not really but- I didn’t mean to, I tried to keep it under control but I couldn’t, it took all my strength, but eventually my body gave out.”
“How do I look like this? I can’t say, perhaps whatever it is haunting my dreams put me back together after so savagely tearing me apart – mind and body. I can’t say for sure, but I’m alive and filled with new purpose.”
“Why? Why do I continue to exist?”
“I have a mission and I’ll need your help”
“What help? What mission?”
“I know you, I know where you came from, I know the rumours of that college, what was it called again?”
“Don’t speak of it.”
“So you have read the book?”
“I only glanced at it.”
“That’s why it chose you. Chose me for what?”
“I don’t know what it wants but I know what I want and I wont waste the chance it’s given me.”
“A chance at what man?”
“Oh nothing complicated”
“I don’t understand, am I alive or dead?”
“Dead, most certainly.”
“Then how am I here listening to you now?”
“Your essence has passed on but your mind is kept alive by these otherworldly appendages that have taken a liking to me. You’re little more than an animated meat puppet.”
It is this dire knowledge I partake of and pass on to you dear reader, as I writhe here now I am but a disembodied head kept alive by some vageries of otherworldly science or magic holding a fountain pen between a viscous sticky tentacle that is barely visible to the human eye but that I can see. They are vile black things made of no matter of this earth which is why it is so hard for the human eye to glance them or catch them in a mirror or a camera flash.
But given such insight I can see them and by god I wish I could not. I must have passed out, if it was possible for me to do so, or Ericcson had grown tired of my moaning and simply unplugged my head, the consequences of which I didn’t dare think of, would it decompose if not connected to the tentacles? Would my brain reduce to nothing?
I awoke the next day feeling nothing, not tiredness nor wakefulness, no joy nor sorrow. It felt almost like I was frozen and now just unfrozen for this new day.
Ericcson stood by the door looking at himself in the mirror with a loathsome glare as if he hardly recognised the face, as if it was familiar to him to from a magazine and not his own face. A sad reproduction like a print of a mona lisa stretched over a balsa wood canvas.
He stretched his limbs and put on a long black coat almost like a cloak made of a thick tenebrious leather substance that was oddly stitched. But the stitchings of which were almost none existant or invisibly thin.
It occurred to me I had not asked of the mission he spoke of so then as he stood there glowering at himself.
I uttered “What is it you want with this world?”
“Nothing” He said. He looked at me and raised a hand and a vile slithering began inside the sleeve of the long coat and a viscous bulging of what almost seemed like a cows tongue moved inside it. “Just a little payback.”