Sunday, December 2, 2012
The Man in the Bubble.
Eldritch was a man in a bubble. Naked, he stood in the bottom, the elongated, distorted reflections of himself going up the curving sides in every direction he looked.
All around was blackness, punctuated only by the brilliant, glistening pinpricks of the stars.
How long he stood there, he could not say. It was an eternity. He cried, he screamed, he raged. He threatened, begged and cajoled. He fell to his knees and bemoaned his fate.
Still he floated in the bubble. He wept, moaning and sobbing, and finally he slept.
Again, he cried, begged, and was silent. He roared and gnashed his teeth, and tore at his hair.
He struck himself about the head, and ripped his flesh with his own hands. He swore and cursed the name of God and the day he was born and his own mother and father.
He threw himself at the ever-tumbling floor and shouted imprecations and threats so loud that he tore his vocal chords and ran out of breath.
Exhausted, a spent thing, he sank down in despair.
The stars, unknowable in their inky blackness, were indifferent to his suffering or to his fate.
Eldritch was silent, huddled in the bottom of the bubble. He stared at the stars, and forlornly scrabbled at the covering, in one last vain attempt to get free, to end the agony, the loneliness, the terror.
He sat for a very long time, staring out at the stars.
Finally, again he slept.
Something watched him. There were many of them. Invisible eyes, unknown thoughts, something touched him and he shouted for them to go away. Something was right inside there with him, but he could not see it. It was very cold and he cried and huddled, and begged it to go away.
Days passed, and they came again.
The silence was appalling. He sang insane little songs, any words would do and he sang them. He tried to confuse them, and to disgust them. He soiled himself, and relieved himself right where he huddled, and he laughed at them.
He defied them.
He mouthed the most foul abuse to them. He told them what he thought of them. He abused himself in front of them. He hurled feces at the sides of his container. He slept in his own filth, and vomit, and urine, and sweat.
When Eldritch awoke, the bubble hovered far above the Earth, and his heart leapt. He shouted for joy, if only to see it once again, and he laughed and he cried, if only to see it once again, for it was real…it was real.
He awoke with a start, and jumped out of bed in sheer fright…sheer fright…his own bed. His guts fluttered inside of him and he hyperventilated.
He sagged at the knees.
“Oh, Jesus.” His heart palpitated beyond control, the rush of adrenalin causing his knees to shake, and his hands, and his guts to quiver.
He stood trembling for a moment, staring around wildly. His head hurt and the place was a mess, even in the darkened room. He smelled stale beer and stale tobacco smoke and stale sweat, and it was pure bliss.
“Oh, Jesus.” Sheer, unmitigated, unbelievable relief flooded over him like a wash of cool, foamy surf, splashing over him and then receding, warmed yet again by the touch of his body.
Eldritch gasped, and muttered in recollection. Rubbing his eyes and running a hand through his tousled hair, he stumbled, buck-naked to the bathroom, feeling grubby, nauseous, his guts rumbling, and with his spirits at a low ebb.
Flipping on the light, Eldritch stepped to the sink.
He reeled in shock at the sight of a week’s growth of whiskers, and the black and blue marks around his eyes and forehead, and all of the angry welts slanting up across his chest, and the dark stains all over him…and the smell…and the taste in his mouth…and full comprehension struck.
“Holy, Jesus!” He trembled like a leaf and stared in wide-eyed shock at the horrifying apparition in the mirror.