Consumption – Part 5

Get caught up here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Now: As emotions bubble over inside the house and the beast makes itself more apparent, this story reaches its chilling conclusion.

Consumption Cover

“Charlotte what the fuck are you doing?” Tim gasped, dodging another pillow and swatting away the thing of Chapstick like a bug. “What’s wrong?”

You!” she screamed at him “You are!” Charlotte, now without anything left to throw, only sat with her hands in her lap, breathing in harsh gasps.  Tim thought he could hear a noise downstairs, but wasn’t certain, and his mind was too occupied with the events in the bedroom to think too much on it.  “Get out,” she said.

“What?” Tim exclaimed, failing to keep the surprised laughter from his voice. “What are you talking about?”

“Get out I said, get out of here.” Now she picked up the alarm clock, ripping the outlet from the wall and hurling it at him. Tim’s eyes widened when he saw what she meant to do and he ran for the master bathroom.  He waited for the clock to slam into the back of his head, which it almost did, it grazed his shoulder, bouncing off without much harm and slamming into the drywall just inches from the bathroom door. Tim heard the crunch, but didn’t wait around to see the damage, he slammed the bathroom door shut and stood there breathing heavily.

What the hell has gotten into her? He thought.

You know exactly what has gotten into her you ignorant bastard. What else could it be?

Standing where he was, between the mirror hanging over the sink, and the full-length mirror on the wall opposite it, Tim was able to get a view of his back for the first time since that afternoon. He stared at the faint scratch marks for a few seconds, wondering if he was really seeing them or if his eyes were playing tricks on him.

He knew that was wishful thinking though, and his heart sank, but only briefly. Like a yoyo, it came right back up and then froze there, beating its normal steady rhythm. Tim felt nothing. He felt no remorse for cheating on his wife, why should he? Tim knew for himself it was nothing he couldn’t fix.  She knows, sure, but she can be convinced otherwise.

Tim stared at himself in the mirror, a wide smile stretching from cheek to cheek. His mind was completely stalled, the thoughts of cheating, the lies to hide it, everything was all knotted in his brain, like a blind spider spinning a web. Each web overlapping the other, knotting with others and finally wrapping and ruining the whole mess until it all falls down.

“No,” Tim whispered to himself in the mirror, “it won’t fall down.” He looked at his grinning face for a minute longer and listened for any movement from the other room. He heard nothing though, which meant Charlotte was still sitting on the bed, it also meant she hadn’t stood up to find anything else to try and brain him with.

The lipstick was red pen, and the scratches were from the gym, must have scratched it on the bench while doing bench presses or something. Tim nodded to himself. Yes, yes, she would go for that, I’ve already got her believing half of it so what’s the other half?

Tim caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and the grin dropped from his face like an old and cracked tile dropping from a wall. A tentacle, longer and thicker than the last one Tim had seen was rising from the master toilet. The lid must have been left up, leaving the door wide open. The suckers were moving, as if breathing (or smelling) as the thing stood erect almost to the ceiling, swaying slightly. Moving slow, bending at the knees, without taking his eyes from the alien thing standing out of his toilet, Tim reached for the towel he knew he had left draped over the lip of the bathtub.

However, instead of gripping soft dry cotton, Tim’s fingers encountered something wet, cold and slimy. Moving as if underwater, Tim’s head moved from the one tentacle, to the bathtub. A second tentacle had found it’s way out of the drain. The small gold catch over the drain, which had a small honeycomb pattern cut into it to allow the water to drain through, was pushed off to the side of the tub.  Tim instinctively pulled back his hand, but not fast enough. Like a fire reaching for a fresh piece of paper, the tentacle snapped in his direction, and immediately wrapped around his wrist and synched tight. Tim shot a surprised gasp of air into the world.  The tentacle was lined with small hooks that cut through the soft flesh of his wrist as easy as a razor. Blood began to seep from the cuts immediately.

Charlotte must not know, his mind screamed. It was all he could think.

He yanked on his arm, trying to free it from the thing’s grasp. It didn’t budge. A few more inches of tentacle slid from the drain, but the portion wrapped around his arm did not loosen. Then Tim was flung forward as the thing gave a tremendous pull, and Tim found his arm, up to the elbow, inside the bathtub. It was trying to pull him in. Releasing another horrified silent scream, Tim braced himself against the side of the tub, using his knees propped against the tub as leverage, and gave a pull of his own. The tentacle didn’t’ move. The thing was the color of frozen lips and no more was revealed through Tim’s struggles. The pain in his wrist was tremendous, but Tim barely felt it.

The thing pulled back again, and this time Tim’s fingers ended up a few inches from the hole leading into the pipes. The cuts on his arm were lengthening and the bottom of the tub was becoming a splatter painting of his blood. He knew the thing would never be able to get him down there, but he was afraid it would rip his arm off as it tried.  The pressure around his wrist was so tight the tips of his fingers were beginning to turn blue. The thing pulled again, and Tim’s hand was forcefully jammed into the hole of the drain. Like a child trying to put the square peg in the round hole, Tim’s fingers were jammed into the hard porcelain of the tub surrounding the drain, and he could feel the bone of his knuckles grinding into the metal around the lip. Hissing away the pain through his lips, Tim reached out his spare hand, and gripping the purple-blue rope wrapped around his arm, he dug in his nails and squeezed as hard as he could.

The house gave a tremendous groan, as if it were trying to roll over, and the tentacle sticking out of the toilet, began to fling in all directions like a live electric wire. Tim’s hand was free, and without another thought, not even stopping to inspect the damage to his hands and wrist Tim ran and flung open the door.  The tentacle shot after him, and as Tim turned to slam the door behind him the thing slammed into the wood with a wet smack.  Just as before, he stood on the opposite side of the door breathing heavily.

He waited for Charlotte to say something from behind him. A question, a seething remark, or maybe even throw something else at him; if she had managed to find more ammunition. Nothing came though, and when Tim finally was able to regain control of his muscles and turn around, he found she wasn’t even there.

Then the house exploded into a series of low, creaking groans; like a boat in high seas as it is jostled by the waves. There were no waves here though, and the wind outside had all but died off. The noise reminded Tim of the tripods in the H.G. Wells epic War of the Worlds screaming their siren like noise over the city.

That fits doesn’t it? I’ve got an alien in my drain so of course it sounds like an alien. Tim pushed this ridiculous idea away immediately and moved toward the bedroom door. It stood open now and as he moved into the hall he slowed his progress. The bathroom door also stood open, and light was splashing across the carpet in a large rectangle.  Reaching out his arm to brace himself on the wall for a good look, Tim felt the pain for the first time. He stared at the cuts in the darkness of the hall. The cuts were jagged lines that circled his wrist, as if Tim had decided it would be a good idea to wear a bracelet of razor blades. Blood dripped form the underside of his wrist and pattered silently onto the carpet.

Tim ignored it, along with the blackish-brown substance that speckled the place where the tentacle had grabbed him, but the smell froze him. With one hand on the wall, Tim stared wide eyed at his arm. His arm smelt like someone had jammed it into an open sewer. He knew the smell from years ago, when as a teen, he had helped his uncle dig up their septic tank at their small cottage near Algonquin.

It was sewage.

Tim thought about this for a minute with the house groaning around him, as if it may fall down any second. It was louder than any time Tim had ever heard it, and with his hand placed on the wall as it was, he could practically feel the vibrations.  He knew what he needed to do though.

He knew how to fix it.

He passed the bathroom without a glance, missing the tentacle prospecting around the floor and gripping the cotton towel which Tim had flung at it earlier. At the bottom of the stairs the house gave a tremendous groan and Tim felt, for the first time, the house shift on it’s foundation. The sensation was like being on a giant cruise ship that has just crested a massive wave. The floor beneath him seemed to rise up, bending his knees and forcing his arms to shoot out for balance. Staring out the window, Tim could see the trees on the horizon disappear beneath the edge of the windowsill, then come back into view as the entire house fell back into place.  When it seemed like it was only the single movement, Tim broke into a run, headed for the garage, and a shovel.

Charlotte was in the basement, and therefore didn’t feel the house shift just seconds earlier. She had heard the groaning, and could still hear it all around her as whatever it was, moved its way through the pipes. She was standing over the basement toilet. In the same spot she had found Tim months earlier when he had first tried to fix the plumbing problem. Except now, there was no longer a toilet. It was in about one hundred different pieces that were scattered across the unfinished concrete floor, as if someone dropped a stick of dynamite in the bowl.

“What happened?” she said to the hole in the floor. It was a hole no bigger than a dinner plate upon which the toilet used to rest, but coming from underneath was the sound of something that sounded bigger than an elephant. It was the sound of something big and wet moving around in a tight place, like the world’s biggest washing machine spinning in the ground beneath their house. Charlotte found herself thinking that one of those awful tentacles could easily fit through that hole, and being in the basement she was probably the closest target. However, she also found she didn’t really care too much. She heard Tim’s footsteps hammer across the floor as he headed in the direction of the garage. “How did this happen?” she asked again. The hole only gave its continuous sloshing reply. Charlotte started to cry and began to shake her head. “This can’t be happening,” she said.  These words came out of her mouth sounding dull and meaningless, and she wiped the tears off her face.

It seems like that’s all I can do these days, she thought. No more though.

The thought was like a splash of cold water. I’m done, she thought, I’m done feeling sorry for myself, and I’m done with this, all of it. Charlotte knew she could put up with a lot of things, but being cheated on just wasn’t in her repertoire.  She turned away from the exploded toilet, with its ring of black sludge surrounding it on the floor and wall, and headed back for the stairs. She no longer cared what was living in their plumbing or how it got there.

The dig took absolutely no time at all. Following the directions given to him by the realtor, Tim had walked ten paces off their back porch step, being sure to keep in a straight line, and stopped.

According to sausage fingers, this lid should be right under here, and not too deep at all. Tim stood for a few moments; sweat gleaming on his bare stomach in the moonlight, the shovel gripped in his hands so tight his knuckles were white. The cuts on his arms and the blood pouring from them looked black in the night.

He worked in a frenzy, throwing dirt over and behind him in curtains. No pile began to accumulate because he was throwing it all over the place, and the digging was really finished before it even started. After a few minutes, the shovel chinked against something hard in the earth. Clearing off the rest of the dirt until it was level, Tim tossed away the shovel and dropped to his knees thrusting his hands forward into the dirt.

The earth was cold and the smell reminded Tim of rainy days, and playing in the mud as a child. Staring into the black patch of earth he had uncovered, a patch that seemed to gain a hazy grey quality in the moonlight. His mantra had picked up again, and it echoed around the backyard, sounding lunatic in the darkness.

Fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it.

Sweat poured down his forehead as he worked to uncover the septic tank. After a few more minutes of digging, Tim’s fingers caught on something hard, and pulled back his fingernails, yanking them away from their soft beds of flesh. Tim hissed as bright white pain exploded in his hands.

“Fucker,” Tim mumbled.

He stopped, breathing heavily, and listened. As he did so, a smile began to crawl up his cheeks. Dark lines of shadow bloomed on his face as he did.

He could hear it.

Tim stood up, and working like a dog trying to dig a hole to hide his favorite bone, he flung dirt back between his legs with both hands. Tim worked, jumping back and forth, circling the small hole he’d made, jumping back and forth, until the small two by three rectangle of earth was no longer all dirt, but dirt stained concrete. A handle, looking like the world’s smallest iron rainbow, arched up out of the center of a round, dirt-stained concrete lid the size of a city manhole. Tim didn’t even hesitate. This thing had gone far enough. He had done this by not dealing with the problem at the start, and now it was time to fix it.

Tim opened the hatch. Gripping the handle with fingers caked brown with dirt and blood.  The blood from his wrist now mixing with the blood from the nails he had nearly circumcised from his fingertips in his frantic digging.

He paused then, the hatch open an inch, not feeling the hot coal of pain that was now burning in his lower back as some sort of muscle or tendon gave way. Two things hit him immediately: the smell, which seemed to swell from the open crack, appearing like a grinning black marker line in the earth, and envelope him like a blanket.  The second was the noise. It was the same noise he heard that night by the toilet, but now it was much louder. It was a low cacophony of sloshing and grunting; a disgusting sound, a wet sound, a live sound.

A dark hood of doubt fell over Tim for the first time that night. He stared at his ruined hands gripped to the thick metal handle. Did he really want to do this?

There was no question. It was beyond the fixing abilities of any plumber, and he, Tim, was to blame for his inaction, and now he was going to fix it. He yanked open the hatch.

Charlotte stared at her husband in the yard. He had just finished pulling something out of the earth, something that looked like a giant concrete coin, and was now staring into the spot from which it had been removed. Then the house began to shake.

A massive wave of vertigo struck Tim as he stared into the black hole through which he had just removed the lid. At first it appeared that he had opened a portal to the sky. A massive white orb, hung surrounded by black night sky. The feeling was so strong that Tim swayed on his feet and almost fell forward. He caught himself, and stared into the weird illusion. Then, the moon in the hole twitched, and rolled around and Tim was staring into the largest eye he had ever seen, the thing was the size of a dinner plate. Massive wet eyelids rolled forward, and back with a wet click. Tim was numb, his brain couldn’t process what he was facing. He only knew one thing, and that was the mantra that had taken over his brain.

Fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it.

He reached for the axe he had brought from the garage. The eye disappeared in a flash and the earth beneath him began to shake. It wasn’t enough for him to lose his balance, but he could see his bare feet jumping slightly in the dirt, and the shovel he had jammed into the soft grass beside him, popped free and toppled over as if fainting.

Tim didn’t move though. He gripped the axe in both hands, holding it back over his head like he was about to chop one thick log, and waited.

Inside the house, Charlotte screamed, as the lid of the toilet upstairs came down with a crash. She turned, looking up the stairs and into the hallway. From the light pouring from the bathroom door, Charlotte could see something moving. The shadow whipped and writhed around the wall, as it did, things were falling from their shelves in the bathroom. The glass door of the shower exploded with a crash, then, as if the bathroom was sick of its smelly occupant, the toilet came catapulting out the open door, crashing into the drywall on the opposite wall with a crunch. Hunks of drywall and clouds of dust rained to the floor. With another scream, Charlotte ran for the door, but it was already too late. The roof above her opened with a crack that seemed to follow Charlotte’s progress across the room. Charlotte dodged around a shower of wood and dust that fell from the ceiling and was nearly impaled as the iron light fixture in the living room gave out and swung down like a trap door.

Charlotte ran for the front door, her head down her mind reeling. The top of her head slammed into something, an obstacle that Charlotte never knew was there, because until seconds earlier it hadn’t been. It was the ceiling. Charlotte stumbled back, her hands gripping her head, feeling the warmth of blood blooming there, and looked up. She didn’t register what she was seeing at first. The front door was gone, in it’s place was the soft white of the ceiling.

Behind her, drywall was crunched and the house groaned louder than ever. Charlotte looked for a way around, but the entire front portion of the house seemed to have been crushed by a giant fist.  Ignoring the tears that threatened behind her eyes, and ignoring the floor that was shaking beneath her like some sort of terrible amusement park ride, she turned and headed for the back door.

Get out! Her mind screamed at her Get out!

A pipe from the wall on her left, exploded outwards like the bone of a twisted leg. Across the room the kitchen sink exploded from its place in the counter and slammed into the ceiling as the entire wall accordioned downwards. The thick pipe blocked her passage, and she immediately ducked down beneath it.

Then Charlotte froze as the sounds the movement the crunching all stopped. As if someone had hit the pause button, but forget her, the only movement was the slamming of her heart and the frantic rising and falling of her chest as her lungs attempted to rip the air down her throat.

Turning to look behind her, Charlotte came face to face with another tentacle. This one had a cluster of suction cups all conglomerated around it’s end like some sort of hideous rash. It slithered out of the pipe that had just broken from the wall. On her hands and knees, she stared behind her at the alien presence that moved slowly towards her. Then, moving quicker than anything she had ever seen, the tentacle jetted forward and was immediately around her waist. The small hooks that lined each of the suckers dug in through her nightgown, and Charlotte screamed.

The pain was bright and immediate. However, it didn’t last long, Overpowering the sound coming from her lungs, was the sound of the house, as it gave up its attempt to hold itself up, and came crashing down on top of itself.

Tim looked away from the hole for a split second at the sound of his screaming wife, and for that second, it was enough to break through the repeating mantra inside his head. His arms had become numb from holding them in the air so long. That didn’t seem to matter though.

“Charlotte!” he screamed at the house. It was too late though, and Tim only saw the beginning of the epic collapse before something was wrapping itself around his legs. It was a tentacle. Slithering from the hole when he wasn’t looking, it had encircled behind both of his spread legs, looking like the worlds most alien question mark, without the dot.

It pulled tight and Tim’s leg’s were slammed together kicking up a puff of dirt. He tried to pull free but his fingers were unable to dig into the thick, slimy skin that was wrapped around him. With one tremendous pull Tim’s feet were overtop of the hole. Screaming now, Tim turned over and clawed at the earth, but all his hands came up with were the clumps of wet dirt he had just dug up. He was forced to turn over as the thing pulled his legs down into the hole, trying to bend his knees in the opposite direction. The vibrations continued, and as his legs fell into the hole, a cold wetness coated them, and the smell was so strong, vomit exploded from Tim’s mouth.

He locked his shoulders and arms around the lip of the hole; concrete digging into the places under his arms.

“No, no, no,” Tim panted. The thing pulled again, and Tim could feel his jeans beginning to fall down and the small teeth-like hooks dig into the flesh of his calfs.

Tim looked frantically around for something to help him. He screamed for help, but there was no one around to hear him. Far off, Tim could hear the sound of a siren, but it was too far gone for him.

With one final pull, Tim was hauled into the darkness, and quickly consumed by it.