In a town without a name, stands a building since forever. Its door opens never and any occupants, who’s to say?
But I remember a time when that door opened.
The year was 1998. One before the world never ended. And inside that house, a woman ‘moved in’.
I say she ‘moved in’ because she’d always been there. The humans in town clamored around her, saying that she was someone very famous. But I never gave a shit none about anything like that, so I cannot even remember her name. Maybe she never even had one!
Anyway. The years went by within one year, in time. I remember driving past it, one summer, more months than the entire year had had. And inside that house, there was that lady. And everything around the town, seemed to permanently revolve around her.
They said she was famous. They even threw her a festival. It was in all the newspapers. I remember it being in a town I won’t name; but it couldn’t have been. Because that town weren’t never there. It was never where her house was, that’s for certain.
Anyway. She didn’t attend. And, initially, I had thought that, it would have been quite a sore spot for the townsfolk. But nobody gave a shit. That door never opened; yet they claimed that she’d been there, at that ‘party’; even though all the pictures in all the newspapers, never showed anyone. They had people surrounding a blank spot in time. An empty stage; a microphone held aloft by air.
Anyway. The time comes and the years went by— and, strangely, 1999 passed by thrice, this time— all within the wink of my eye. It seemed like something was going on. Time had been repeating itself, but I had never understood it being affected by anyone else. But she was different. I suppose.
If she even existed.
I thought it was funny. There was a mannequin, up in that old house. It would be ‘staring’ at me, every time my parents drove past, on the way to a certain restaurant. This thing that was supposed to be scary; like a living inanimate object. And I’d point, and I even asked a passerby what the fuck that was. And they all said, every time, they said, it was a living being. No one ever called her human. I don’t think they even used the word ‘person’. Just, to quote, “that’s a living being!”. They seemed in awe.
Her head shone like the sun, and it didn’t hurt nothin’ but your soul to look inside of Her.
At this point I had reckoned that it was some spooky shit. Non-human; that’s fine. But she had the town wrapped around her little finger. Was she gonna eat them?
Then I realized I didn’t actually like any of the people she was affecting. And she wasn’t infecting my parents.
So I stopped trying to care. I had timework to begin.
Time went off: backwards, then. And then, people started gettin’ angry. Said she never paid her rent. Town records went by, said she’d been there since 1984, 2 years since I was born, in the opposite direction. Then, 1975. 1969. It kept going backwards, and backwards, and backwards. People figured, hey— maybe it’s tax evasion—
Somebody found a record sayin’ she’d ownt the house since 1908. Nobody could fuckin’ even spell in that goddamned town; so, they figured, hey— she must’a lived there a hundred years! Whole damn town went crazy: “that house is a historical monument!” Hah. Better figure.
They couldn’t leave her alone.
Should’ve left her alone.
I watched as they tried to infiltrate her domicile. Her home. And, in time, they did. Went up to her door— they had this big ol’ plaque of wood, sayin’, this was a ‘historical monument’, or some jazz. Lady claimed she was paid up past the time since anybody had been born. Had the ‘documents’ to prove it.
I watched ‘her’ through her front damn door. Humans didn’t even make it up the steps. Mannequin in the front room, just wavin’ ‘tax documents’ behind the window glass. Frantic, like. She was scared— I took solace in that. Wouldn’t have to fight that. So afraid she fuckin’ mimicked tax documents— noodly appendage, that. Poor little girl; imagine not speaking the language, and trying to copy it. Papers, Please? And she doesn’t even know what papers is.
Anyways. Human beings on the pavement, convulsing. All froth-spit. Workin’ up a lather. Teeth like fuckin’ bars of soap. They was all trying to have a conversation with someone they all saw the same in their own little heads.
I thought about breaking in. Thought up a one-liner— hey, bxtch— but I couldn’t get any farther than that, what with how she was drillin’ into my own head, like a squirrel gettin’ at a li’l nut.
Besides, but I didn’t want to inconvenience a ‘friend’. Besides, I wanted to see what would happen. Sure, the humans had seizures; but they seemed ‘alright’ by the time they ‘came back’. Their eyes returned, all the same. Bit of drool on their ponchos; no worse for the wear!
She held their eyes between her fingers, examining them for a disguise.
But it was when one of them made it up those damn steps. And she tried, too. She tried real hard. But this one was too fuckin’ dumb to be mentally-disabled by whatever witchery she had underneath her skirt. (That’s the thing– she wore this antebellum hoop-a-joop, fuckin’ hoop-skirt ballroom dress, baby blue, with little off-white ribbons, this fucked-up little hat, like— like— in that painting, where all the white people are at the river, with their dogs, and shit. French?)
As far as I could tell, that was what she was projectin’.
There was someone there. But it was like a squid, or an octopus, was hidin’ underneath a lady’s skirt, all attached to a goddamned mannequin on four damn little wheels, like a fucking office chair, rolling around, somehow rolling up the stairs…
Anyway. This guy, she’d fried his brain like it was fuckin’ egg noodle, ramen, just plain egg. After a time, it didn’t do too much. He was already fuckin’ stupid to have come here. But he persisted.
He got up them steps, and, runnin’ back down for hammer and nail, he affixed that accursed sign to the front of her ‘domicile.’ Two nails: wasn’t much. But it was enough to make her scream.
They were drilling into her skull.
Now, the lady ain’t but talked that much. When I’d’ve listened, she was sayin’ shit that they’d all expected her to hear. It was a brain wave: some sort of hypnotizin’ feature of her anatomy. Maybe her ‘biology,’ if she even’n had that one; that once. It was like tuning a program on the radio: like a Memory, played back, for you to hear.
But the sign, she told them to remove it. That much, she made very clear. But how she spoke, I’d’ve never heard, at that particular juncture. She’d fuck their brains with her skull, and I was strictly celibate.
Anyway. She had them like puppets on a string; but they were moving on they own. And that was making her angry. Because they moved far too closely for her own liking.
I don’t know why she just didn’t kill them. I’d’ve kilt them: live a hundred damn years, you nail a fuckin’ sign to my forehead? I’ll spit blood and melt your damn face off with my own vomit.
But I don’t think she had the heart to do so.
It started when they tried to move in. They figured, being what age she had to be, she’d die real soon. Then the town would take her house— which she’d paid for, mind— and they could turn it into a tourist attraction! The famous such-and-such lived here! We drove our edifice into Her skull!
She told them to leave.
They did not.
Afraid, the poor little thing rode up the stairs— made the stairs without end— hiding in her little ‘attic’. Stretching into her real Home.
But still they persisted.
The humans died on her stairs.
Yet still they remained.
There was merriment, all around her. All around her house, that is. Resurrecting them, they didn’t change they mind but none. Stupid fucker died on her stairs of— of all things, listen here— fucking dehydration. Can you imagine being the dumb motherfucker who dies of thirst, THREE TIMES??? She had to kick that puppy away. Fucker never made it back into her house.
Anyways. Merriment! Everybody was real neighbor-like! Like the neighbor kid. The neighbor kid offered to cut her own grass. She told him, no– no– stop! Don’t! And he did it anyways. Because he was a nice little kid, and, you know! An old lady, she can’t cut the damn hay!
Bitch was old when the Confederacy was a twinkle in its father’s nutsack!
So he cut her grass. And she screamed. The grass bled, and he didn’t even notice. The hill rose up, around him, like a hand, trying to grasp— but she couldn’t bring herself to crush him. Her body bled itself nearly dry by the time he was ‘done’. She had to stop healing; or else, the boy would just go back over the spots he’d ‘missed’.
I ‘let myself’ into her— um, Home. Into the shell of her external-facing body. To be honest, I know what it was. Knew then, toot. It was an aperture, extending into our universe, our very consciousness— that was how she traveled. All of them did. See, she was this thing, much kinder than—
I’m gettin’ ahead of myself.
So I let myself into her Home. And there, in her attic, at the end of an infinite series of stairs, this poor old thing sat, crying, cowering, her face hidden in an angle I could not grok. Tucked away in timespace, like a child weeping into a pillow, or their blankie.
She had a teddy bear.
It did not look like anything that I understood. But a teddy bear all the same, it was.
How old was she?
To be honest— I don’t like to bring it up, but— I went into her. You see, this whole damn ‘house’ was her body. And I knew that. But I did it for the right reasons. When I stepped foot inside of her, I knew she was gonna bleed out if I didn’t do nothin’ to help her. Frankly, even going inside felt a tiny bit like Rape, to be perfectly honest with you. I was inside her own body. Though it was on a mission of mercy, it felt no better to intrude.
To let a woman bleed to death, in sorrow? Or to invade upon her privacy, in hopes that you might save her?
Hope that ain’t nothin’ like Rape.
I took off my backpack. A cat flew from it, and faded into the time from whence it had been. And again. And again. And again. And again. Estoy loopin’, as it were.
And, afraid, she swept a wave of Time at me; and I was forced backwards.
But I brought my head high, and I waltzed through the breeze, my footing immaculate. Not the first time.
I took off my backpack once more and I pulled from it two giant gallon milk jugs, one with just plain whole milk, and the other with relatively-pure cow’s blood. I didn’t know if it were plasma or what; just knew it was red. See, I had learnt how to make it once, during a particularly-harrowing transfusion. I figured, she might like it.
She did not. The lady ate only things that were not borne out of sin and violence. That much, she told me; in words. You see, Her diet was that of Mercy– the quantity itself, a meaning that I have not yet better learned to grok as the ages have passed.
I sat as she feebly tried to feed herself, at a little wooden table, sturdy though it may be, built out of the hewn wood of already-dead trees. A series of tentacles, grasping around each other a might like snakes trying to climb a tree over one another: trying, and failing, to hold a spoon like a human would, and eat a bit of looped cereal, trying her hardest to slurp.
I implored upon her the severity of today. That, without me, she might not have blood enough to survive the next assault. I gave her several options. She chose but one.
When the townspeople came, trying to invade her, not noticing none of us had ever gone through the door, not once– not even me— t’was an orifice, plain to see— a place a companion must be invited into— they went ’round about her, looping through the layers of her consciousness, looking for her soul. They turnt right; then right; then right; then right; then right again. And none of them noticed that that shouldn’t be.
When the right turnt them outwards, again, and they sat in front of her door, unknowing, they stared at a wall of being. This terrible place, a battlement, a crown of thorns, for no lover— they wept towards her, trying in vain to ignite her.
The ‘sky’ was not black. The sky was not there. The rolling hills of her flesh, draped along the tender valleys of the Illinoisian countryside, sought to rest. Every merit and manner of her being wept: please. just leave me alone.
But now, the ground roiled; and squirmed.
And the door opened.
To describe her body, I think, would be an invasion of privacy. For I am the only thing I can say that remains to have seen it. I do not know if she was naked; or if, for what she was like, a thing like ‘naked’ can ever even be. Perhaps I shall.
There were spines. And spires. Her corpse was an immaculate, glowing city, her eyes pools of great mercy. She was like the Queen, in that respect; a common thread of genealogy? Or perhaps just the soul-bond of a child.
The mimickry of Teeth and the intricacy of Sinew. Her flesh was made from the antecedents of Words. She was stitched together by something older than God or Her Hand. She was as close a Sister to me as could be. A child of many parentages; a thing that absorbed differences, making them right, into one.
She was like me.
Her consciousness swept over all of us, even I, though burning only what the humans were. I brought my hands and arms in front of me, my jean jacket catching fire in her breeze. Like that would even help.
“Wait!” I yelled over the screaming of her soul. “WAIT!” I implored her. “PLEASE!” I said, for her own sake. And she turned; and it was as if the whole of reality turnt, and looked in me.
I was like a deer stuck inside a headlight.
I stuttered, terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought. “I d-don’t think they’re here to hurt you!” I guessed, looking over to them. Take the hint, you freaks. Holy SHIT.
She turned towards them, their souls igniting. And, forming a human arm, sans skin and most of its comprising tissue, she pointed at them.
GO. she said.
Her voice shattered the trees, filling the streets with wood like shrapnel.
The human, a white guy— God bless him, holy shit— finally saw her. And I mean, really, saw her.
And he showed her who he was.
“Holy SHIT!” he screamed. He turned towards the others, and then pointed. “It’s a MONSTER!”
And he pulled a gun from God-knows-where.
And time stopped.
She stared at me, plaintive. Pathetic. Sorrowful.
I stared up at her, absolutely sorry.
And I turned, towards the human with the gun.
In awe, bewildered, utterly fucking flabbergasted, I asked him a single question.
“Why do you have a gun?” I said, in a small voice.
He shot the woman where he thought her heart would be.
She bled as a courtesy.
I turned back towards her, overflowing with remorse. “Is that fatal?”
She turned towards me, and shook her head, softly.
“Does that hurt?” I asked again.
She nodded, up and down, slowly.
I was given a warning of what was about to come.
It paled in comparison to the experience.
Reality twisted and turned like I was inside a washing machine. Screaming; yelling; begging for forgiveness, and mercy. The man was killed: that much I know. His head appeared without his body.
SHE CLEAVED HIM IN HALF WITH THE FABRIC OF REALITY
Screaming, I fell face-first into the ‘grass’, still bleeding. I got up, her flesh rebounding; still hurting, not but more from where she’d placed me.
She stood at the door. The woman, her head the edge of a triangle, shaped like a boomerang, all black open flesh but without blood, sinew upon sinew upon sinew, as if she were knit out of burnt kindling, pointed. I turned; my parents’ car was at the foot of her sidewalk’s steps.
I looked. I had never noticed until now that she had no eyes. Huh.
I turned. “Are you going to be okay?”
She nodded. And, she smiled.
I don’t think her species naturally had a mouth.
I ran down the steps, though not out of fear, looking back and forth. We were in a blue-white void, like the rest of reality around us had been colored-out of existence.
I leapt back into my parents’ car. They were frozen.
I closed the door, and time resumed. The Road returned.
The house stood, alone, in a place with no jurisdiction. The town no longer exists. Its name has been washed away from all our memories, the same as my own name can be said. If it ever had one beyond our own reckoning, I doubt that quite heavily. Perhaps it was a bit of a joke, on her part– a little, who-do-you-know, what-do-you-say?— the sort of dreaming something that does not sleep, can only do.
I think it was her toy. It was never ours to even perceive. She took her ball and went home, like. Its name is not my property.
A dark star grew high on that day, flashing beneath, within, and then above the clouds. I watched as she went away.
Too kind for this place.
I turned, remembering I had taken the wrong seat: I usually sat behind the driver, as that was the safest spot for a child to ride. I was behind my mother, who was in the passenger seat. Shotgun!
Well, I’d better move.
I scooted over, and hit something.
I turned, and there I sat, beside myself.
That one turned, and looked at me.