Contains graphic and unsettling scenes, swearing.
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The thing that touched her was semen.
There were holes in the ceiling. There were millions of tiny, little holes in the ceiling just small enough not to notice but just big enough to look through, if someone were to look through them from up close.
Freshness was perculiar to the house, it kept it's time occupied with the remains of yore not with the purity of the present.
The murk tried to drag her back into the water but it had no control over something that had no control over itself. Like a machine that continues to work after the electricity is cut, she stood and placed a leg over and out of the bath. When the other leg did the same the cleft between them closed. She put on her panties, she put on her pants, she put on her blouse and every other piece of material she could find. With a covering of respect and protection she looked islamic but safe. She shook her head with an hint of disgust and exited the bathroom, for ever.
It had come from the ceiling, spilling down and touching her. It had stolen pieces of her mind and robbed her of the contiguity of her body. The thief in the roof.
It was an eerie feeling as Emma made her way back down the hall, the eyes of the paintings staring at her with a certain voyeuristic reproach. Eyes are just holes for seeing. She was reminded of a poem about a man who had removed the eyes of his lover and put them into his own emtied sockets just so that a part of her could look at her own beauty.
Emma took no notice of the eyes, they were just pictures on a wall, they weren't the eyes that were watching. She kept walking unaware of anything else except her own brain slowly and silently cease like the end of an echo.
The bedroom appeared once again in front of Emma. It was the same as before, full of menace, full of foreboding but it was if someone had turned a light on. It was a little less odd then it had always been. Something had changed and Emma knew that it was her. She didn't feel stronger or anything positive like that, she just felt herself being drawn towards the closed cupboard
She put her hands on the lock, the lock came off in her hands. It didn't surprise her. Dennis had told her never to touch the cupboard so she had never touched it.
"You stay away from that cupboard Emily, you hear me! You stay away," so she had stayed away. Now with the doors open before her she could smell the old air, stale and musky. The ladder was made of wood, it was fixed to both the bottem and the top of the cupboard. Someone had built the house with spying in mind. She found herself caught between fiddling curiosity and groping fear. Putting her hand on the ladder, she started to climb.
Through the blackness she touched something solid, another lock, it too came off in her hand.
Emma opened the hatch above and climbed two more ladder rungs. The top half of her body became enveloped in the loom. How long had she lived in this house without realizing that there was a secret room beyond the ceiling? Up, up, up.
It was true. Dennis had been put to rest in a closed casket but it hadn't been the one in the ground and he hadn't been put to rest.
The first thing Emily noticed was the dank, the air up here felt still and chilly. The second thing she noticed was a dull flicker breathing off in the corner. A candle she presumed for its source was masked by something. The something looked human. She pulled herself up through the trap door and the dank hit her again. It smelt like her father's bedroom only a thousand times worse. It didn't just stink, it ebbed. It had deteriorated past the point of primitive territory markings and had started to rot. The rich smell of decay flushed up her nausel passages invading her body.
Emily, it wasn't a voice in her head this time, no one called her Emily, no one except...
Dennis smiled. Emily could just make out his thin lips through his thick mattered beard. His hair was a mess, it stuck to his face where his sweat had dried and then sweated on it again, and he stank.
Behind him she could see wings flapping on the wall flailing in the stingey light of the candle. Dennis moved aside as if inviting her to take a closer look and as she stepped forward she could see that they weren't wings at all, they were bits of paper or more specifically photographs, of her, sitting, squatting, screaming, bathing, making a coffee, getting dressed, getting undressed, locking the door, picking up tiny pieces of broken china cup with little bears smiling.
"It's not what it looks like Emily." Dennis spoke low and gravely with just a hint of sarcasm. But what else did it look like? It wasn't some kind of joke, it wasn't a prank, there was no humor that could be found some time in the distant future. It seemed he had stalked her terror with a camera. She thought back to the stuff on her shoulder, taking her picture wasn't all he had been doing.
"You bastard," she said softly as she turned back to front him. His fingers were tuslling into his beard massaging it, his blue eyes long and drawn, his white shirt black and sodden.
"You wept for me."
"I thought you were dead."
"No. You thought I was alive."
"I buried you."
"Then why is there still dust, in this house." Dennis sounded like a serpent inflicting the noise of each 's'. His eyes were wide and his mouth was open. Emma could see her husbands yellow teeth beginning to bare.
"You never really thought I could die did you?" His eyes fixed to her.
"And all the while I was watching you." She could smell his words.
"I was taking pictures of your fear." They sounded cracked and rotten.
"And masterbating to your tears." Less then a whisper, more then a sound and a tear came.
"With each picture, I felt myself stealing a little more of you away, a little more of your confidence, a little more of your sanity until finally you would go completely insane." The tear started to trail down her cheek.
"Let me assure you that it's not a nice feeling when one goes completely insane. They say that someone who is insane never admits that they are insane but they are wrong. One should not deny it, one should embrace it like a long lost friend who was never really that lost to begin with, only hiding in the attic, and waiting, how you going? Where've you been?" He stepped toward her with his arms outstretched and repeated, "where've you been Emily?" His ragged figure loomed over her like a street denizen.
"Where're you going?" She took a step backwards and then another and then another. Her foot snagged on something and she fell onto her back.
"Where're you going Emily?" Dennis still advanced, he looked a lot a lot bigger from the height of the floor.
"Emily, where're you going?" He started to slap objects close to him, knocking them onto the floor in front of Emma.
"Where're you going?"
"Get away from me," she screamed but her scream was more of a whimper and she tried to move herself backwards until her head hit a wall and she realised she had come to the end.
"Where the fuck do you think you're going Emily?"
Dennis looked down to his trousers and started to unleash his belt.
"I'll tell you where you're fucken going," he mumbled almost inaudibly. Once he had unthreaded his belt, he started to wind it tightly around his fist. Emma couldn't take her eyes from him, she was too terrified to move. He looked like a boxer wrapping bandages around his hand. He was a boxer wrapping leather around his hand. Emma tried to haul her body from the floor but her arms had lost their courage. Dennis finished preparing his fist and checked that the buckle was firmly centred around his knuckles.
"Have you ever felt so unwell Emily that you just wanted to hit something? Not just once, not just twice but repeatedly, over and over again until the thing you're hitting ceases to move, it changes from an object of being to simply being an object."
He leaned forward over her and caressed his fist buckle. Emma crept her hands behind her and searched for something, anything which she could use to stop Dennis from hurting her. Dennis started to say a poem quietly before her.
"Let me take you to my brain
And show you ghosts of maddening pain."
Her hands felt nothing and then all of a sudden something touched them.
"They turn inside me like a screw."
It felt like a cup or a pottle, it felt weird as her fingers closed around it.
"And tell me wicked things to do."
She threw its contents at his face, into his open eyes. She could almost feel the smoke steam from his face. A thousand grey wasps emerged like a mist, hovering because they had no place to go. His scream was very loud like rapture, it almost convinced Emma that she had gone too far, that was until it ended and the scream flicked into a tremor.
"You've stolen my sight from me you bitch," Dennis spoke although he didn't even raise his hands to his eyes, the weeping yolk began to spill, the photograph developing solution instantly burning his two white eggs into liquid. As he felt his vision escaping, Dennis thought of the memories, the very vivid memories etched into his brain.
"You were a model," Dennis said as the whiteness flowed, "a quiet unsuspectecting model of voyeuristic beauty."
"I was beautiful in your eyes," Emma responded, "but not any more." She stood up.
"Don't you move you bitch," Dennis ordered.
Emily went beside him.
"That's right, you stay exactly where you are," his hypnotic tone smooth and Mansonish.
Escaping Dennis's lure, Emma walked past, but just as she thought she was free a hand touched her shoulder. It was the second time he had touched her but only the first time he had touched her with his hand.
"I can smell you."
She tried to shake him off but his grip tightened. Before she knew it she was facing the floor and Dennis straddled upon her. He placed his hand on the back of her head.
"I'm going to hit you and I'm going to hit you and I'm going to hit you," Dennis hissed. His hand twisted her hair and pulled her head up from the floor like a victim about to have her throat slashed in a snuff film.
The light flicked and Emma saw the candle shining.
Like a long lost friend. 'How you going, where've you been?' It seemed as though time stood still, at least for a moment. Lover, hater at each other.
In one movement, Emma touched the candle, and grasped it, the wax oozed over her hands and as she thrusted it into his face and Dennis's head began to shine.
Emma turned her head like an owl and saw the two pockets of fire ignite instantly. This time Dennis did raise his hands as he tried to stop his head from melting. Through his tired screams he used his hands as a sponge and mopped up his eyes. No matter how hard you save, you can't keep it all.
"You fucking bitch," Dennis said calmly, vision is a noun, mind over matter is a wonderful thing. His head turned into a bonfire and Dennis remained still, he was above pain. As the flame licked his eyes he let out a hollow scream.
Emma watched Dennis.
In the intake of panic Emma got up, she went to the the trapdoor, she opened it and went through it,
Alice emerged from the Lookinbg Glass and everything turned upside down, roles reversed and Emma became the voyeur. She slammed the trapdoor shut just as Dennis slammed himself on top of it.
"Let me out!" Dennis yelled, his fist started to pound the door like a caged animal. As the fire spread quickly he began to kick the door downward.
"Fuck you Emily, let me out." Panic ensued and Dennis grabbed the trapdoor handle frantically trying work it up. The door jiggled and rattled violently on its hinges but still the lock stayed tight.
"EMILY!" He screamed. "Emily get me out, I'm on FIRE!"
Emma screamed, she reached into her pocket for the padlock. Trembling she withdrew it and prayed that her courage would 't leave her yet. She took both her hands and a head full of nerves to thread the padlock through the metal eye and clasp it shut. Dennis was sealed within his closed casket.
Beyond the trapdoor, the attic seemed to crackle and Emma could hear things in the room disintergrating.
"EMILY! I'M GOING TO COME BACK AND HAUNT YOU. I'LL CHOP YOUR BODY INTO A THOUSAND PIECES AND USE YOUR FUCKEN BONES AS A FIDDLE!"
Terrified, Emily fellt back down the ladder and just managed to tumnle on her feeet. She was aware that Dennis's voice had quickly quit screaming and a nasty scene grew in her brain, Dennis's burning body, his skin melting and his flesh incinerating.
"Hey Emily," his voice crept through the wooden panels and she knew that he was staring at her directly above them.
"I hate to hear your voice but I love to hear you cryyyyyyyyy." His voice trailed off as a large crash shook the entire house.
She turned and started to run.
Out from the cupboard, down the hall, past the eyes, into the lounge, to the front door, one lock, two locks, three locks and then finally...
From outside Emma watched the house violently implode. Windows began to shatter, doors began to split and fire tore through the house like a running plague.
Closure is an ambiguous word at best but that's the way Emma felt when she looked at the burning house. So many bad memories, so much wasted time stuck between the physical restraints of the house and the psychological leash of a demented pervert and now for the first time in a long time she felt free, but then again who is really every free of the past as long as we can still remember.
As she watched the flames climb higher and higher and the smoke drift away like a bad spirit, she thought she could hear laughing.
I may be stupid but at least I'm not handsome.