Friday, February 13, 2015

Blurred Edges Chapter Three

Shaking her hand away from her head, Claire screamed as she felt the spider chew into her palm, the fangs slicing as if they were serrated knives. Martin was running up, yelling at her just to stop so he could get it off her, but she couldn’t stand still. Blood was welling up from the wound, dribbling down her arm and onto the stairs, where it began to soak into the wood with alarming speed. Warm trickling blood began to soak into her shirt as she raised her hand up and slapped the reptilian bust with a loud crack. Her hand jolted as if electrocuted and a loud crunch echoed throughout the hall, but the spider was now crushed in a pulpy mess covered in her blood, still latched onto the meat of her hand that it had been able to churn into raw hamburger. In the span of seconds, Martin was at Claire’s side, holding her hand up and carefully extracting the spider from her hand, the twin fangs stick in her palm like syringes.

“Man, I’m glad we have a first aid kit…” Martin said, looking over the wound. “This is pretty nasty, it might need stitches.”
“Lucky we have you,” Claire said, referring to Martin’s time as a nurse in an ICU. It’d been when they first started dating, while Claire was getting her Interior Design degree. Her passion for homemaking sparked something in him, as he started going to night classes for carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
“I’m not so sure, that thing looked venomous,” Martin said, looking down at the ruined spider on the ground, its legs curled upward in a sick parody of a blooming flower. “I mean, just look at it.”
“I was looking it up on my IPad and couldn’t find anything on it. Look, besides the hole in my hand I feel fine, I don’t think it was poisonous.” Claire said, allowing Martin to continue his examination of her hand. “Shit that stings!”
Martin chuckled. “Yeah, I don’t see anything like swelling or fluids beside blood here. It took a good hunk out of you.”
“Geez, you think?” Claire said, wanting to smack Martin upside the head. “Now we’re going to have to clean up dried blood off of everything.”
“Just your clothes it looks like,” Martin said, reaching down to the ground where Claire had dropped her flashlight. He waved it around their feet at the old wooden flooring, which groaned as they moved. “See, no blood.”
“I’m telling you now, I don’t like this project. It’s cost me my hand!” Claire growled, looking down at the ground in search of any sign of the injury.
“Don’t be such a drama queen,” Martin said, handing her the flashlight. “Look, you go upstairs and wrap your hand in some of the linens we brought. I’ll go get the first aid kit from the car.”
“Bring the generator up first, I want some light!” Claire demanded, pouting at her fiancĂ© . Pressing her hand over the open wound, she felt the sluicing fluids welling up from her wound, dribbling slowly out as she moved quickly into the hall, the light of Martin’s flashlight as he carried the generator up the stairs.
The wooden stairs rose from the ground floor in a wide, sweeping arc that made Claire dizzy to look over, until it came to a large landing where old portraits of men and women hung, their eyes watching Claire as she walked with her hands held high, blood dribbling down from between her fingers, her uninjured hand slick with hot, steamy blood that rapidly cooled against her skin.
“The first door right?” Claire called down the stairs, where Martin was stuck lugging up the fifty pound generator.
“Yeah,” he called back up, his voice bouncing off the walls and reverberating throughout the hall. “There should be a bathroom where you can wash out the wound, just let the tap run for a few minutes to get any grunge out of the pipes.”
Claire smiled grimly at the thought and moved to the right of the landing, slipping along the wooden boards creaked and groaned as she moved over the onto the shag carpet that covered the floor of the wide hallway leading down the eastern wing of the manor. Claire looked down the hallway, a dark tunnel with gleaming brass doorknobs, and she shivered. The hall was drafty, with broken boards in the ceiling allowing cold air from outside to seep into the building.
“This is going to be one hell of a project,” Claire sighed as she turned the knob to the room that she and Martin would be staying in.
Martin’s light shined over her shoulder, lighting up the musty room that she’d entered. A king sized, four poster bed that dominated the center of the room made of dark wood, with matching dressers and a standalone closet that sat between two tall windows, the darkened sight of dusk shining through the windows, reminding Claire that they would soon be beset by darkness. A door to the left led to what she understood to be a private bath, and a walk-in room to the right was supposedly a small nursery/bedroom for any servants that were alongside the far-flung explorations of the men and women that paid them to follow them around to the large manor.
Martin entered the room and placed the generator down on the ground, whistling at the grimy condition that the room was in. “Man, we’re going to have to spend the next few hours cleaning this room before we can get any sleep.”
“My allergies practically demand it,” Claire said before a throb from her hand made her wince. Looking at Martin, she smiled weakly. “I’m going to go clean this out, you go get the first aid kit and the Christmas lights.”
“Will do!” Martin saluted, turning on his heel to head out of the room and back down the stairs towards the car.
Chuckling, Claire moved into the bathroom with Martin’s flashlight. A large deep set bathtub took up the left side of the room, with a wide mirror taking up the upper half of the right wall, with a pair of sinks sitting below the reflective glass. A stack of once white towels sat in between the sinks, a left over nicety long forgotten by a maid of the manor. Claire wondered what had led the sudden abandonment of the sizable home when she heard a clinking near the bathtub, like metallic clicks moving along ceramic tile.
Turning, she grabbed the flashlight and shined it over the bathtub, looking desperately for another spider or other such danger that could be dwelling in the darkened bathroom. Breathing small, rapid breathes, Claire moved closer to the bathtub, peering into the deep tub to see what was making the sound.
Bony and small, a withered looking claw of a hand scuttled along the ceramic tub, running along long-fingered nails, each finger dirty with brown stains around each blackened nail. Claire stared in horror for a moment, not knowing what to do, when she heard a low moan behind her, along with a chilly wind fluttering through the room.
She was not alone.

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