Sunday, October 4, 2009

Waiting -- The Amulet Part X

Sadly, Ben hadn't moved in two days. The tepid dampness that clung to the cushion and to the bottom of his sweat pants spread over the easy-chair's edge and dammed up near the foot rest. Ben wet; he'd thought about trying to get up and run to the bathroom many times in his mind -hell, he'd formulated plans and methods- but all in all, it was just easier (and somehow less dangerous) just to wet himself. And so he did. His fingers had scraped ruts into the curved edges of the armrests; back and forth, back and forth, curling under with nervous anticipation. His mouth was pasty from lack of anything real to drink. Fortunately, Ben was a bit of a slob so several half-drunk cups of liquid sat gathering dust all around his chair either on the end table or sitting on the floor... so, he did have those. They were nasty: flat soda, stale iced tea, beer cans with nothing more than warm beer-flavored backwash sitting in congealing pools in the bottom. Yes, he had a modicum of sustenance, but few things that wouldn't make him retch, not to mention no food at all. Ben was coated in a slick sheen of perspiration. It had gotten rather humid in the room since he'd first sat down, and none of the windows were open. Ben's eyes hurt. They burned and stung. It had nothing to do with allergens, but it did have to do with trying hard not to blink. He stared ceaselessly straight ahead, and only blinked when the agony turned to screaming numbness. And even then, he'd only blink once. Ben's legs had atrophied sometime in the middle of the night and all he could feel of them was kind of a ghostly, deep-seated ache if and when he attempted to switch his position or wiggle his toes. There was no denying it: Ben was trapped. Ben was trapped by something sitting, stolidly, on the doorway carpet.

Thursday night, Ben Anson gathered a plastic cup of Diet Coke, snatched up is remote, and plopped down in the tan Lay-Z-Boy he'd called 'good old mama' since he found it perched longingly on the curbside of a house whose inhabitants were moving out three years ago. It had some tape on it, one side of the cushion was a bit lower than the other, and it did, on a hot day with no circulation, smell a bit like a wet dog. But none of this mattered to Ben, because at the end of the day, it was really the only comfortable thing he had, and pretty much the only thing he owned that still, in a weird way, reminded him of his dead wife. She'd passed a week to the day after he found the chair. She died in it, in fact. Ben wanted something comfortable to use for his wife's final days as she slowly succumbed to the ravages of colon cancer. She passed quietly in her sleep, and was removed by the EMT's not an hour later. 'Good old mama' was Ben's chair, and it was also his wife's chair, and between the two of them and their mutual attachments, the chair stayed and slowly faded into a sort of living comfort. Ben plopped down, flicked on NBC, and fell into fits of typical laughter as he watched the humor fall in spades. But then the door opened and closed as the darkness walked in.

Ben didn't often lock his doors until he was literally pacing the house just before bed. So, it surely wasn't odd that the front door was basically open to whomever decided to just turn the knob and waltz in. And so, during The Office, it did. Ben had known the squeak that the door emitted like he knew the house itself. It always sounded like it was sighing the word 'tin', so when he heard the all-too familiar noise, Ben bolted upright in his chair and glared over to the front door that sat directly across the room from him. Two seconds later, the door shut behind whatever it was, and echoed it's lone word: 'tin'. And there, in the dark shadow provided by the stairwell, stood... something. It didn't move, didn't flinch, and didn't make a sound. Ben called to it, not so much angrily but out of surprise and question, but it didn't respond. Ben waited, tried to get a better idea of what it was by squinting, sitting up a little, and finally calling out yet again, this time with a bit more baritone and ire to his voice. Still, nothing. But something just the same. A quick metallic flash arced across the mid-point of the shape and Ben could just make out a ring of deep red dully illuminating a large disc-shaped object. It was right then Ben became frozen in absolute fear to 'good old mama'.

And now, two days later, Ben was sitting in a rapidly growing puddle of his own urine, fighting back the gnawing growls of his suffering hunger and slightly less annoyed thirst. His voice was dry, but Ben finally gathered together all the strength he had and decided to call out to the unflinching, stone-solid shadow that stood firm at his doorstep.
"I-Is there something y-y-you w-w-want?" Ben barked in a voice that sounded horrific in his own ears.
"I do," came the slithering, gibbering cackle that belched from the shape, "I want you to wait... longer."
Ben felt not only a frozen flash crawl its way from his dead legs all along his spine to his scalp, but also, in contrast, another flood of warm pee spill out onto the chair. Ben's breathing came in short rasps and he could feel his already frantic heart immediately turn into a off-pace drum beat hammer through his whole being.
"W-w-why me?" Ben found himself whimpering into the stale air.

But it didn't answer. Never again. And eventually, thanks to strong odors permeating the air both in and outside the house, Ben was finally found, slightly mummified, by his dead wife's sister who'd decided to stop by for a surprise visit. Ben had been dead for nearly a month. As she stood in the doorway of the oddly unlocked house, even before the stench of death made her vomit onto the patio, she discovered something metallic and disc-shaped hanging by a chain from the stairway.