genius loci

The man walked towards the mansion. His steps slowed, his legs trembled. His breathing became ragged, and he paused near the door. He looked behind him to see the world in a mist shroud. Everything looked black or gray. He could not remember how he got there or who he was. A sound of merriment came from the mansion. The tinkling of glasses, laughter of men and women. He looked to his clothes and saw he wore boots heavily scuffed with labor, a shirt dirty with sweat stains on black fiber. His jeans had a brown-tinge down the bottom third of his leg.

A great chattering swarm of men and women swept past him in a blur. Each had a pale face that had no features. Yet they spoke, they laughed. Dressed in fine suits, and gowns all in black. They opened the door and grey light spilled out onto the porch. Inside were many more of the same look. A slow tempo violin played. He steadied himself against the doorway.

“I must be dreaming” the man said aloud, the entire party seemed to halt quickly and stare at him out of the door. With eyeless faces, and no mouths they responded, “This is your home. We celebrate in your honor. Come, join us, and be content.” As soon as the words finished the laughing and violin played again. A faceless woman came to the door, her gown covered in silvery lace. She took him by the hand and danced with him. “You deserve this” she said. “I don’t even know who I am” he replied tersely. Her strange white face came close to his ear, despite not having a mouth he felt warm, sensuous breath on his ear. She whispered, “You never did.”

He closed his eyes and rested his head on her shoulder. “I’m so confused. Why am I here? Who are you?” he said softly as his voice wavered, tears forming in his eyes. “Perhaps you should rest my love. A homecoming can be so much, for so little a man.” She pulled away from his embrace and wiped a tear from his eye. The world turned dark and he felt a weariness inside him take over. He let his eyes close and sleep take him.

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He coughed violently, waking himself. His eyes swept back and forth wildly. He was laying in a richly-adorned four poster bed. Silks in gray and black shrouded the room beyond from his sight. Coughing again he reached for his throat, he stopped staring at his hands. They were covered in dust, thick and filled with webs. He pulled a panel of silk aside and set his boots on the ground. They looked cracked and dry.

“What the hell is going on?” he said in a hoarse whisper. A sound of child’s laughter answered him from afar, somewhere beyond the room. He saw a side table next to the bed. On it was an ornate glass filled with water. He grabbed it and drank every drop. An overwhelming need to vomit came over him and the water came back up across the wooden floor.

His throat ached for want of water so he stood. The room was was windowless, but a pale light seemed to come from everywhere. On the floor, in the dust were small footprints, and a quickly drying pool of water. In the corner of the room a record began to play. A woman’s voice he did not recognize began, “Sing low, sing clear. Sing low, sing clear, sweet words, in my ear. Not a whisper of despair, but of love’s own prayer.”

The record scratched to an abrupt halt. He backed away from that corner almost falling into the bed. He put his hand on the table and bent over coughing loudly. The glass was filled to the brim with water. He dipped a dusty finger into it and let a drop land on his tongue. Not bothering to question how it was filled again. It was the most refreshing thing that he’d ever known.

He poured the water into his mouth. It tasted like sand and dust. He spent an unknown amount of time vomiting before his vision faded. The child’s laugh from afar came again. “Poor thing, all he wants is a drink.” A woman’s voice soft and beckoning replied, “Then let him come to me. I will give him all his wants.” The door to the room opened slowly without a sound. The hall beyond was lit in shades of gray.

A cloudy-shadow moved past the open door with the speed of a fierce wind.  The man looked to the cabinet that held the record player. Propped beside it lay a crowbar. Rusted, wrapped in leather at one end. The hook had been straightened and sharpened. It was heavy, and stained his hands quickly in rust.

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He stepped out into the hallway, to his right was a blank wall, to his left a long hallway in gray brick. He saw in the distance the shadow form. At its center was pure blackness. Arcing from it were four bolts of black energy. Seeming to serve it as legs, they would flicker and then attach to the wall or floor with a crack of lightening. He turned back to the door he had just left, he met only gray stone. Words came clear and strong from his throat.

“I’m sorry.” He did not know why he said it. But again his mouth moved, and in a loud and clear voice he said, “I’m so sorry for you.” The darkness moved like smoke on the wind, a sound of electricity followed it. Roaring he moved forward swinging the odd weapon with all of his strength. The world around him turned black and sight left him. He swung again, and again. Laughter spilled from him as he heard it shriek in pain.

When he was done he opened his eyes, blood soaked his hands. On the ground a great black crystal lay shattered. From it poured black tar, steaming hot. He picked a sliver of it up and looked at his reflection. There were no eyes or mouth. He dropped it and heard it shatter as he moved forward. His confusion seemed to ease and he understood.

“This is my home, and I’ve let you things dwell here for far too long.”

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Down the hallway he stalked, the sharpened crowbar held tightly in his fist. He had been walking for some hours it seemed. The ceiling above was just bare gray stone at first. Now it was corroded pipes, dripping a foul smelling water onto him and the floor. Behind him he heard skittering amongst the pipes. Small voices whispering things he could not understand. He started to drag the sharpened bar against the wall. The noise was soothing. He felt like he was in control now. Whatever this was, this hell; it was his. He felt sure of it, and he would tolerate no trespassers.

A year or more may have passed. He didn’t care, the hallway was finally coming to an end. A great blue double door had been in sight for hours. The closer he walked to it the more he heard sounds of women in pleasure. Moaning and begging to be loved. He put his hand to the door and felt how warm it was. There was a slight vibration he could feel from his boots. He decided to open the door slowly, but in a pique of haste he kicked at it when it was half ajar.

Inside lay a woman covered in filth and sweat. Her naked body was so fat that she was unable to move. Slight shifts she made to view the newcomer caused the skin against the stone floor to peel away, revealing pus-filled sores that pulsated oddly. He strode through the doorway and approached her. The smell of sweat, feces, and sex were strong, but they were overpowered by a sweet smell of lilacs or perhaps lavender.

As he drew near she was revealed fully to him. Easily three times the size of a normal woman. Even if one was to discount her morbid obesity, she had a face that was thick and flushed with passion. Red lips drooled and spoke to him, “I’ve need of you, put yourself inside me and I will make you never wish to leave. I will taste you. Your lips and tongue. I want them” she said in a mockery of a sultry voice. Her dark brown eyes were veiled behind black lashes.

“You will have me in you. Though you will not savor it” he replied. The words left him again without his approval. With a motion that betrayed her ponderous size she swiped at him. He made a leap forward and in a frenzy he began stabbing his weapon into her great belly. As her innards spilled she moaned in orgasmic desire. “Yes!” she screamed, “Ruin me I beg you!”

As the point of his weapon gashed open the entrails of the woman millions of cockroaches poured from her open wounds. The pulse of her seemed to come from them. Again laughing hysterically for no reason he could figure, he swung his weapon again and again. Spraying blood, filth, and roaches with every effort.

By the time he had come to his mind again the room was soaked in gore. Insects of all varieties were now feasting at the giant woman’s remains. The man walked to a doorway that was hidden behind her great bulk. On it hung a mirror with an inscription that read, ‘graviora manent’. He laughed again, and said aloud, “Truly?”

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In the mirror his face had been restored. He pushed the door open and saw a large open room. The floor covered in great thick carpeting, on which lay dozens of infants. Each cooing and half covered in silken blankets of dull gray. He walked across the floor taking care to place his feet safely. There was a windowed door on the other side of the room. He could see men working by moonlight with shovels and axes against the earth.

A child beneath him reached out and touched his ragged boot. He knelt down, taking the blanket from it to wipe the gore from its hand. As he removed the silk he saw from the waist down the thing had the body of a serpent. He stood back up, bile rising in his stomach. Pulling the small blankets from each child frantically he screamed as they began writhing and hissing. Tears streaming from their angelic faces.

“Even you must go” he said to no one. “Heavier indeed”. Tears coming down his own face, he raised the sharpened bar and struck down. The hissing intensified as they began swarming near him. The small bodies tore open quickly, spilling black moldy slush upon the floor and across his clothes and face.

A woman’s voice called out from the darkness, “The party is coming to a close, love. You should tour the grounds.”  He stepped through the remains of the children to the doorway. “I think I will” he said without thinking. The doors opened and he smelled clean air and garden soil.

Taking a brief stroll he stopped at about 30 paces from the door. He turned around and looked at the looming mansion. All decked in gray and white like a lady in waiting. It looked beautiful in the way that he could not give thought to. The men working stopped and joined him staring. He looked at them and saw strange, dark, aquiline features on each of them. As he looked closer they seemed to be perfect copies of the same person.

The men stood on broken ground, they had been digging up a concrete slab that was a patio. “Why are you digging at this hour?” the man asked them. They replied in unison, “Because you asked us to make ready the graves.” He turned and stared at the ground again, in place of concrete were now open graves with odd circles of stone at the head of each one.

“We have finished” they said together. “Then what use are you to me now?” the man asked. They did not reply. He lifted the bar and struck one of the men who held an ax in the throat. They all fell to the ground as if struck. Bleeding out in a bright red color that gave off light. He reached down and took the ax. In its surface he saw a face reflected, but not of his own. It laughed, silently. He looked up to the house and saw hundreds of the faceless men and women crawling from windows and doors. As if gravity held no sway over them, they came.

The man screamed in rage and rushed towards them, his makeshift weapon in one hand, the laughing ax in the other. The endless fog-shrouded night filled with inhuman screams of pain and laughter.

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“Adam, love. The sun has nearly set. Will you wake up?” The man shook his head and jerked his eyes open. The face of his wife loomed in the shadows of his familiar bedroom. He touched his face, then looked at his hands. “I can’t believe I slept that long.” he replied. “Well, come along let’s get a bite to eat” she said with a smile.

The End

5 thoughts on “genius loci

  1. Pingback: PC Oshinbun: Battles and pulp and glory – PC Bushi

  2. I am not 100% sure what I just read. I’ve read it through a few times and the meaning is there…I think…just outside my grasp.

    It had a dream-like quality to it and the imagery is incredibly vivid. All I have to say is this:

    Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s certainly meant as metaphor. I think I put a bit too much in. Though I meant it to be an audience participation piece. I feel like if I tell people what it means to me it may spoil others train of thought or interpretation.

      I will try something a little less esoteric for my next piece. I have an idea about a humor piece involving tigers in the state of Texas. Though I’m not sure it will ever see daylight. I find it funny though. I have a lot of drafts saved. It’s a matter of picking the one I want out next. I believe the next Tolkien piece should come out. It’s hard to put the feeling of the text into coherent information though. I tend to use inaccessible language and I’m combating that.

      Liked by 1 person

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