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A Steamy Maelstrom

July 13, 2010
File:Steam phase eruption of Castle Geyser.jpg

Photo Credit: Mila Zinkova

The steam cleared as I wrapped the towel around my head. When I wiped the mirror the pipes started making gurgling sounds. I tried to ignore them, but the uproar they caused forced me to cover my ears. The door shut and locked. I was staring into warm vapors when the claustrophobia emerged. I wasn’t going to escape so easily.

The clattering pipes continued their act. I approached the bathtub and peered in. The water was gone, but the drain had expanded. It looked like an sinister mold of an animal’s mouth with small teeth. More clicking sounds came from below. I opened the cabinet under the sink and found a small bottle of bleach. I poured it into the mouth quickly and waited.

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Small brown and red particles surfaced and like the contents of a blender without its lid the fragments exploded, forming a dark vortex above my head. A piece landed on my leg, then my stomach and burned through the skin. Soon, the bathroom was covered in fleshy lumps that stuck to the walls. I busted down the door and ran into the living room.

Someone was laughing from the bowels of the piping. The television was on, a strange arrangement of British and American commercials spliced together, distorting the distinction between accents. A surge of heat flooded the house and the flames were near. I was sure of it.

File:Paradise Lost 12.jpg

Gustave Doré's illustration for Paradise Lost, Book III, lines 739-742 by John Milton

The sound from the bathroom taunted me. Something was growing inside. I took slow steps forward and craned my neck to look inside. A man dressed in black pants was gasping for breath. His feet were bare. His chest had wiry hair. He was staring at me, but I couldn’t bring myself to meet those dark eyes. He moved like liquid. In seconds, he sat up and forced me to look at his eyes. He fastened his hands around my neck, squeezing.

I reached for his neck and managed a good grip. His black eyes softened, bursting in firefly flashes. His grip loosened and I dropped to the floor. He laughed and asked, “Don’t you remember me?”

It took time to recall the other dream. It was at least six years ago. “I don’t want to remember, Lucifer.”

He left me and disappeared into the bedroom. This was only the beginning. We would try to hurt each other again and again, resuming the natural elements of the recurring nightmare.

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