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The Closet Golem

by Chris Chapman

The room gave no thought, or no emotional response to my deep guttural cries for help. The room continued to shrink; crushing closer together all the cleaning paraphernalia it held inside it.

The tip of a broom began to spear my nostril as the far wall slapped flat against my face pushing me backwards into a bucket. Everything was closing in now, everything huddling over me for closer inspection.

At some point the wooden shelves burst into a shower of sawdust and splints, at some point the bulb that once swung over my head took to resting on my shoulder, heating the left side of my t-shirt to the point of discomfort. A mop head slopped itself onto my own hair and the flayed dirty grey tips of material lolled over my eyes and tickled my lips.

By mid-morning toilet break number three I was set to snap. This was the morning that I’d noticed I didn’t really wake anymore. It just seemed to be a matter of going to bed and then falling into work.

The rest of the office staff was barely visible but I could hear them mutter about their desire to become ghosts. By 11:30 three cups of coffee had set the whites of my eyes itching and made my bladder kick into overdrive. I stood, said something about ‘mid-morning toilet break number three’ and ran through the double doors, avoiding the file clerks and hiding inside the caretaker’s cupboard.

At this stage I could see nothing but the wall. The brooms, brushes, mops, buckets, washrags, boxes of soap and bottles of detergent had been sucked through the cracks of where the floor met the wall. Now it was just the walls and I.

I may have whimpered quietly but I did not flinch, not even as the wall smooched my nose flat on my face. My mouth opened only to be filled by the dry taste of plaster and then the wall pushed closer. At first it bent to contour with my frame, acting like amber encasing a fly, to preserve me as a full figure inside itself.

The white flaking cover of ancient paint began to lift up and piece my skin, it began to fuse with my flesh, bubbling like melting plastic and matting with my hair and clothing. My eyes sunk into my skull at the onslaught of dirty white. I could feel the creeping paint strips working weed like into my eye sockets and stretching to caress what lay beyond.

I felt the coming of a second skin, a painless meshing of man and wall, and then I felt a need to be back at my desk and working on those invoices that my boss had been chasing up over the last few days.

I was out and walking, stomping my way along the halls like a crusty monolith. I wore the caretaker’s cupboard like a suit and left flecks of plaster behind me with each crook of a limb and each bang of a footfall.

My chest housed a tiny door, behind which sat the internal workings of a cleaning-room golem. Broom cranks were powering buckets on pulleys whilst washrags were being burnt to heat the bottles of detergent that dangled over them. This created steam to power the cranks and allowed blood to travel up and around my chest cavity.

The blood splashed up over the sides of the jostled buckets and dribbled to the base of my chest pit. Some of it had already begun to seep out from under the door and trickled little tramlines of red down along my plaster-covered crotch and collecting there until it was ready to drip to the floor.

The bucket loads of blood that sloshed into my brain caused great clots of thought. Sudden surges of intelligence followed by torpid lulls as the next bucket wobbled up the pulley. It was in one of these surges that I decided that the invoices could wait until tomorrow.

Copyright © 2006 by Chris Chapman

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