In His House
by Peter A. Balaskas
Table of Contents
Part 4 appeared
in issue 265.
An apocalyptic phenomenon called The Event has wiped out most of the human race, leaving a screaming sand tempest in its wake. The only area of the planet that remains unaffected is a circular plot of land containing a special house.
Ten survivors live in this house, all of which have had their memories wiped clean of their past. Most of them have mutated into unspeakable monsters, all except an unnamed protagonist, the only normal human survivor in the house. Recently, he discovered a picture of a beautiful young woman who may be a key to his past, as well as the cause of The Event.
The unnamed man’s friends, Francis and Christine, have also found artifacts to unlock the mysteries of their fates. But how long will it be before the seven other mutated tenants cause this man’s demise?
He tried to dream again, to make the house disappear.
And for the first time, he accomplished his goal.
He saw his companion in person. Her smile was ever present, but her eyes were full of hurt. She spoke, but only silence came out. Her smile slowly matched her eyes. Fear, hurt, betrayal. And then she started stabbing him with her index finger, emphasizing her angry message.
Tears welled up in his eyes as he tuned away towards the horizon, where the yellow sun began to set, painting the skies with a menagerie of pastels. He heard brush strokes and the voice of Francis announcing as though he were the Almighty himself, “Are you ready to leave yet, brother?”
The moment the sky erupted into a stifling green nova, he did leave that world.
* * *
He awoke inside the house again, this time to the sounds of screams.
He flinched and twisted over on his mattress, shielding himself from the angry voices. He disappeared into his picture, especially her eyes. The warm rays of the sun caressed his face. He heard the sounds of the wind stroking the grass with such fragility they barely wavered. He wanted to do the same with her silken hair.
Cainye barked, “Ow! Goddamned bitch,” followed by a loud crash outside his door. He pocketed the photo and raced out of the room.
He nearly tripped over Minque’s nude body. Bruises and scratches covered her and when she started to sob, blood poured out of her nose and mouth. He looked up towards the landing and a bare, hairy-chested Cainye glared down on the both of them while placing his hand against the left side of his head. “Bit part of my ear off! Go feed off of him!” Cainye stormed back to his room and slammed the door.
He turned to Minque, who was now contorting herself into a ball. He carefully approached her, and he couldn’t tell if she broke any bones after the fall. He touched her furry body. Even with the scratches and blood, she stirred a deep insatiable lust within him. She continued to whimper until he couldn’t wait anymore. He tenderly placed his arms under her and she hissed in pain. He whispered, “Easy, easy. I have a sink. I’ll clean you only if you don’t try anything.”
“Hee hee hee,” Manny called out. “My dear, kind neighbor has a new friend!”
“Quiet, Manny!” He focused back to Minque, who was now snuggling into his arms. With little difficulty, he carried her to his mattress and set her down. He soaked a small towel and first cleaned her wounds. He washed off most of the dried, crusty blood from her body. She wasn’t trying to seduce him and yet he was still aroused by her passive sensuality.
As he wiped the tears and mucus from her face, he smiled. “There you go. You’re actually quite beautiful if you stop acting like the rest of them.”
She looked up and her green eyes, once filled with pain, now sparkled in acknowledgement. She smiled sadly, then wrapped her arms around him, holding him as though she were drowning and he was her only life preserver. Her tail swayed from side to side. He hugged her back, trying to imprint some of his humanity into her.
Suddenly, he sensed her stiffening. She gave a low growl and licked his right ear, leaving a moist trail behind. He felt himself becoming hard again and he tried to push her away, but as she drifted down his neck, his hands slowly went through her hair.
Her green eyes penetrated his and she spoke for the first time since The Event. She whispered in an animalistic snarl, “Take me.”
He gritted his teeth, pushing her away. “No.”
Minque tried to straddle him. “Inside me.”
“I said no, Minque. Stop it! Now!” He grabbed her by the hair and neck. As she screamed, he threw her out of the room, slammed the door, and leaned against it. He felt her hitting, kicking, running and jumping against the door; but he kept it sealed. She howled in frustration, then ran away. He heard something else in the hallway, something further into the lobby. Something that made him slide down the door, close his eyes, and pull at his hair as though the additional pain would repel those mocking sounds, sounds that were more repugnant than Minque’s wails of anguish.
“Hee hee hee hee hee hee.”
* * *
The sun set quickly that day, and sleep brought his dream once again.
They were on the field. She spoke, but as before no sounds came out. Her eyes were red with fury as a shadow from the skies bathed them in darkness. He looked up and saw green clouds blotting out the sun. He turned back to her and she was screaming at him, tears pouring out of her wounded, grey eyes.
Everything faded into a mist. No explosions. No Event. Just a sorrowful fade into a cloud of green.
* * *
He woke up in a sweat, felt his pocket and was relieved that the photo was still there. His hands were shaking, and he knew he had to figure these dreams out. He needed help to do it. His temple throbbed, but the pain seemed to have abated.
He walked out of his room and approached the stairs until he heard some active movement coming from the kitchen. He frowned. Manny was incapable of any movement except releasing his bowels of noxious fumes. He cautiously approached the kitchen.
Manny T sat as he usually did in the middle of the kitchen. With eyes closed, he groaned, growled, and actually cooed with pleasure; his second head was still asleep. Manny shifted and wiggled. Then, coming around from behind him was Kat, vigorously scratching and rubbing his back. Nearby was Cainye pushing the generator button and eating any of the food that emerged. His muzzle drooled puddles on the kitchen floor and he sank his fangs into a leg of lamb, nearly severing the bone.
Manny was busy enjoying his end of the deal. “Oh. Oh, my dear Kitty Kat! You have nice claws to scratch with.”
Kat’s lips tightened into thin lines, preventing herself from getting sick. She finally pleaded in a whisper, “Cainye?”
The brute spun around. “Shut your hole! We need the food!” he barked as he spat chunks of meat on the floor. He leered at her and pointed at the rejected food with the lamb leg. “That’ll be your share.”
He shook his head and climbed the stairs, trying to ignore the cacophony of sounds: Kat’s whimpering, Cainye’s chewing, Manny’s grunting and his twin’s snoring.
He walked down the corridor and noticed that both doors were closed. It did seem early in the morning. Were they both asleep? He approached Francis’s door and gently tapped on it. “Francis? Francis?”
“Shh! Keep quiet,” he answered in a hushed, panicked voice. “Whisper through the bottom of the door.” He bent down and noticed Francis’s shadow on the green tinted floor. “Now, where are the others?”
“Minque is probably wandering around outside. Kat and Cainye are scavenging Manny’s kitchen.”
“Christine’s asleep. It’s better that she is right now. Leech’s power is not so limited as we thought. He sealed up my door.”
“What?” He stood up, reached for the knob and his hand bounced away on its own volition. His hand tingled with familiarity. The presence behind this energy was here. Leech’s presence. He quietly walked over to Christine’s doorknob and it too was covered by a force field. The ring on his temple throbbed. After he rubbed it for a few seconds, he returned to Francis’s room and bent down again. “Christine is trapped as well. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, just pissed off. It’s been like this ever since your visit. If the others find out about this, you’re screwed.”
His heart pounded against his chest. When he grew slightly faint, it took him a few seconds to realize he was holding his breath. He slowly exhaled, breathed in, and his center returned. “Why’s Leech doing this?”
“No idea. He’s probably as crazy as the others; only he’s smart enough not to associate with them. The best thing to do is just play it cool. Still act as though you’re the meanest mother in this house. Cainye and Kat are dumb enough where they’ll believe you. Minque doesn’t want you harmed; she just wants you.”
His throat clicked as he tried to swallow. “I knew something like this would happen. They’re going to find out, Francis.”
“The only way they’ll know is if they try the doorknob. They may be dumb, but not so dumb to even come close to this wing. Don’t worry; we’ll find a way out. Leech can’t do this forever. Just be cool, brother.” He paused. “Wait a minute.” He heard Francis shuffle around the room, some scraping, some banging, then a soft laughter. “Oh my God.”
Copyright © 2007 by Peter A. Balaskas