Habito(The Dwelling)

Habito(The Dwelling)

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Horror

Summary

"I just hope someday someone hears these words." Doug Morton is an artist who has hit a bad point in his life. He gave up his job. His wife is dying. His only solace is the sound of his own voice in his head. It is then Doug begins to recieve strange calls and even stranger nightmares. Can he deal with the death of his wife? Can he save her?

Summary

"I just hope someday someone hears these words."

Doug Morton is an artist who has hit a bad point in his life. He gave up his job. His wife is dying. His only solace is the sound of his own voice in his head. It is then Doug begins to recieve strange calls and even stranger nightmares. Can he deal with the death of his wife? Can he save her?

Content

Submitted: March 10, 2012

A A A | A A A

Content

Submitted: March 10, 2012

A A A

A A A


HABITO

Passing by the windows of the room, lights flickered and rushed by. Outside a man limped by, a woman holding him up, obviously on their way to the reception and a long wait. Peering through the spaces in the blinds kept me awake but somehow I felt I should be dressed in white and black stripes. I turned back to the room and my ears heard the familiar, mechanical wheeze. My wife, Maribelle lay smothered in cords, cables and tubes. It sickened me to see her beauty stripped by this horrible illness. In my head I remembered her as she used to be, her pink grapefruit lips, her wheat coloured hair and her soft, golden skin. I remembered the way she walked, her clement smile and her accosting eyes were a faint memory. In some ways holding onto these memories made me feel sick, sick for abandoning her real, frail form. I stood up from the chair at the side of her bed and leaned over to her cheek. I heard the unnatural rattle of her lungs and the rasping sounds so close, it startled me. I kissed her cheek and it felt cold and clammy. I picked up my rain sodden trench coat and walked out the room, another cigarette with my name on it.

You see, my name is Doug Morton. I know right now I’m probably crazy but somehow I feel my thoughts are being read, copied by someone else. Since I was a child I have talked to myself. I don’t know if it’s some form of Schizophrenia or…well I don’t know what else it could be. Lately my wife has got a lot worse and I don’t know what to do. They say the cancer in her lungs has got worse and the tumour has come back. She used to be so beautiful but she seems skeletal and lifeless, strapped to machines like a cyborg, that make her live. Thinking about it is all I do, every day. I sometimes feel guilty that I stand out here, in the cold and smoke, you know. It’s my only respite, my only break from the harshness of reality in that grey scale room. You know I love looking at the stars or at least I used to. Maribelle and I used to love staring at them for hours, cuddling and wishing for secret things long forgotten. I remember I used to wish I would spend my life with her and we’d be frail and content, living in a country cottage near a lake. That dream was smashed to pieces by the hammer of fate, swung by the cold, heartless machine of chaos. I used to work as a freelance artist, my art was my passion and my specialty was the dark, the macabre. Maribelle used to sit as I painted, watching over my shoulder. She was childlike and absorbed every detail. She was my best critic and I trusted her to see my work, even half-finished something unusual for an artist. I guess being an artist made me see my life differently, the light in the dark, the shadow round the sunlight. Right now it was hard for me to see the good in this moment but at least I’m having a smoke. Well I guess I better find an ashtray. I can’t throw this on the tarmac or I might get into trouble from the alert security guard.

I wonder why the nurse is outside Maribelle’s room. I hope she’s okay. I’m…getting…too…old for this…running nowadays. The nurse told me that Maribelle’s machines were bleeping and they thought she was dead. I panicked and wanted to scream, to shout. I cursed God if he existed, I cursed anyone who listened but I dare not utter them out loud. That night I spent my time hugging her jagged, gaunt body, my head on her stomach. The catheter she had in was full so I called for the nurse. I couldn’t bear to change it myself. I felt so useless, so pointless. Keep her safe from harm was part of my vows. I knew now there wasn’t any way to keep her safe. Her body was killing her. In the morning her mother came, Julia. She told me to go home and get some rest so I did. Except when I got home I cried. I sobbed so hard my eyes were bloodshot and my will to live veered on a thread. I went on the computer and searched for ways to help my Maribelle but found nothing. I was being stupid, looking for a cure for cancer. There was no cure the doctors hadn’t tried. I lay down on the bed and I felt restless. I wish I could say I slept soundly that night but my dreams were unsettling. I dreamed of cold hallways, voices booming in my mind. I dreamed of a grey, marble room and I was trapped. I dreamed that water began to fill it. I couldn’t breathe. I felt it creep like a serpent down my throat. I woke up at that moment and sweat covered my brow. How strange, my dreams don’t feel this vivid. I wonder what it means. No matter, I better get some breakfast. The cupboard was empty so I decided to get something in the Hospital. As I walked for the door the phone rang. I answered. I shouted hello down it many times but heard only three words back. Your not crazy. The words made no sense at the time but they stuck in my head. I tried to think who the voice belonged to but couldn’t. It almost seemed otherworldly.

I put my clothes on quickly that day, forgetting the usual routine of a shave and shower. I know I probably reeked of sweat and smoke but it was the least of my worries. I jumped in the car and played with the radio. A news report was on. A massacre happened in Prophet Street, ten killed in mysterious circumstances. Horrific was the way the reporter described it. I guess I’m heartless when it comes to the pain of others. Driving down the long road to the hospital, past trees and fields, I reached the turn in. I noticed a man was standing in front of the entrance. I stopped and got out of the car. I asked what was happening and he told me that I should know. He wasn’t dressed in a police uniform or military gear. He had a long beard, matted white hair and a pair of shades on. It was cloudy so I thought to myself that it was slightly odd. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a black trench coat. I told him to get out of my fucking way but he refused and said just three words. You’re not crazy. I remembered the call and as I remembered he ran off into the forest nearby. I ran after him. I chased and chased for god knows how long. I thought I had lost him and eventually I did but I found a strange book on the soft dirt near a tall tree. The cover was black and rough, like leather but I picked it up and walked back to my car. As I told you before I wasn’t the best at running and I was out of breath. Getting back in the car, I placed it in my glove compartment and forgot about it. Maribelle was the most important thing now. I can’t believe I called her a thing. I mean person. She is really sick. You already know that. Okay what happened next…?

I drove my car into the car park and hurriedly walked into the hospital. I had no set visiting time so I didn’t have to worry about that. I was more worried about her, if she was alive or dead. Walking past a door I caught sight of my reflection. My brown hair was shaggy and needed cut. My stubble made me look homeless and my black shirt collar was crushed. Ironing wasn’t my strong point. My green eyes glared back at me. Time to move my fucking arse. I reached her door and hesitated before walking in. She was awake said the nurse but she couldn’t speak. They had given her a lot of morphine to hide the pain. The doctor told me she was dying. She told me that there was nothing else they could really do except wait. I remember streams of tears and rage flowing from within. I remember punching a wall and screaming in disbelief. The doctor told me that I should get support. As if I needed Therapy to help me deal with everything that had happened. That the only thing I could do is make her comfortable. I rushed to the toilet and puked up my grease filled breakfast from earlier. My head throbbed from the stress and the bags under my eyes seemed thicker. Everything in my world was falling apart. I couldn’t bear to leave the hospital.

Julia came back to the hospital. She hugged me and told me she was here for me. She told me she had seen it coming. I shook my head in disbelief of everything and she told me it was happening for real. Even now it seems like a nightmare, a dream that I hadn’t woken up from. I held her hand for the whole day until Julia and told me to go. The rest of the family were coming to see her so I was glad I could leave. I couldn’t bear to speak to anyone. I went home and lay on the couch, looking at the glowing sphere above me. The light bulb was the only thing I could focus on. Its light kept the dark from creeping in, helped me forget time and the cancers in the world. That night I slept under the glow of the bulb, my works around me. My sleep was anything but comforting.

I was back in the same dream as before. The voice mocked me for being weak. It laughed at Maribelle dying and told me I should fuck her while I can. The words were disgusting and insensitive. I was thrown in the grey, marble room and the door slammed. I was in the dark but I couldn’t feel my body. An ugly old woman held me in her arms and stroked my naked body. I was naked from my neck downwards. She molested every inch of me and I noticed she was naked too. Her bloated stomach and body was covered in blisters and moles. I screamed in terror but my mouth did not move. She laughed and called me her plaything, her baby. She joked I was going to be here forever. She then began to strip my flesh off with a potato peeler but I could not escape. I was a mannequin, forced to watch myself being destroyed. As she began to consume my flesh, I woke up. God I took too many pills again. I always forgot to follow the rules. I just took as much as I thought I would need for a sleep. I drank some orange juice that morning, the dream still on my mind. As I was getting out the shower, the phone rang again. I asked who was calling and heard only one word in return. Book.

I went out to my car and found the black book in the glove compartment. I took it inside with me. I remember looking at the cover and running my fingers over it. It felt rough under my fingers soft touch. Opening the book I read the first page. It talked of the book being a secret. That it has existed since the beginning of man in different forms. I read it with awe. It talked of a realm where the dead are processed. It named it The Dwelling but not a word else about it. The only other thing it had was a picture. A picture decorated the page. It was a picture of a black shroud. Underneath it words were written. Naraka Cowl. On the computer I typed the words I had read. It came up with myths and legends but nothing else. It spoke of the different houses of the underworld. The shroud was meant to take you there but without death. Why has someone left this book for me? A book filled with useless fables and faulty hope. My only guess was it was some sort of sick prank so I threw it on the floor. Too many important things to worry about right now. My wife was dying. I needed to earn more money. I had to sort out things for her death. Her death. I was thinking about it before it happens. How disturbed it sounded in my own head. As I looked out the window, looking for inspiration, the clouds above furrowed and stirred, layered ink black and silver.

I went mad with the paints. My pain was smeared over canvas. The inner torment of my soul, laid bare for anyone to see. I wanted to hide it like a self-harmer hides their scars. Yet part of me yearned for pity. My brush became attached to my soul. . I finally stopped and admired the finished painting. I can’t describe it to you because I find it difficult to remember. But I digress…I hopped in my car and drove to the local shop. These cans of beer and a pack of cigarettes. How much? Seven pound fifty? Here you go. I went straight home and tried my best to destroy myself. The tins I bought were finished in an hour. My cigarettes were gone in two. I felt worse. I remembered my wife in the hospital and her face. The machines whirring and wheezing. The tubes in her arm and the catheter. I had to see her again. As I walked to the door I felt a bash on my head. I woke up in my reclining seat. The man I had saw a day or two ago sat in front of me. In his hand was a small satchel.

He spoke in a monotone voice. He asked if I had read the book and I replied with a yes. He asked what I would do to save my wife. I answered that I would do anything in my power. It was then he reached into the bag and pulled out a black piece of velvet. It was a cowl. He told me the cowl of Naraka was real and he was its owner. He told me his name or who he was didn’t matter and that he protected the shroud. He had heard my thoughts, my fears and my wish. He spoke of his gift, his ability to seek those who would use the shroud. Then I realised he was speaking of my crazed thoughts I had while reading the small book. The shroud dangled from his hand, waiting for me to take it. I reached out and grabbed it, filled with curiosity and fear. The man told me that it did what the book had written in it. It was a gateway to Habito. In common tongue it is called The Dwelling. To use it I had to put in on and fall asleep, the cowl would do the rest. However doing so would trap my essence there, my soul. That is the price you pay to save the one you love. I suddenly felt my heart sink. I licked my dry, cracked lips and thought of it all. She was dying. I was living. If I did it I would be dead. She would be healed. He asked me to think about it and in an hour he would be back to hear my decision. I went through the kitchen to get a drink and when I came back he was gone. Talking about this now is easy. It’s still fresh in my mind.

I pondered with all my might. I hadn’t seen my wife in three days. I had tried to avoid the shell that lay in the hospital. I could save her. The woman I loved wouldn’t have to die. Was my life worth giving? I thought of the possibilities this place would hold. Would it be like heaven? Would I be happy? What if it was hell? What would I do? I sat for the hour thinking hard and I thought about phoning someone for advice. No I couldn’t because they would think I was mad. I thought about the dreams, the voice. I couldn’t save her it boomed. Couldn’t…save…her. I knew what I had to do. I went and changed out of my loungewear. My chin was bristled with unkempt hair. My tangled mane of hair went down past my neck. I sat in the living room, the sun beginning to come out from behind the clouds. I heard a knock at my door and I answered. It was the man again. I let him in and he went straight to the point. I told him I would do it. He told me he would need to be there to take the cowl away and complete the ritual. As I lay on my bed I had one last cigarette. I lay and thought about my life so far. He told me to write a note to my wife so I did. I told her how much I loved her. I told her that I had given my life to save her. I told her to sell my paintings and start a new life. I told her the one thing I had kept from her. I asked her to tell my family I loved them. It felt like a suicide note and I suppose it was. Doug Morton, suicide to save the woman he loved. I imagined the title in my mind on the front of a newspaper. I imagined my body lying in a coffin and my family sitting, listening to my favourite songs. The priests would talk of how much I had done in life but everyone would ignore these lies. At the front would be my wife, alive yet crying. I hoped to forget this image. I told the man I was ready. He passed the black, soft velvet cowl over. I slipped it on my face and the light of the room disappeared. I could barely breathe and the sound of my own breathing echoed in my ears. I lay down and waited for the sleeping pill to take effect. All the while I heard the man mutter strange words like he was chanting a spell. Eventually my eyes became heavy and I felt myself slipping into sleep. On the bed lay my body, the body of Doug Morton. My pair of denim-clad legs lie still. My favourite trench coat is draping over the bed. I wake up and can’t move my body. I opened my eyes and looked down. I was naked. My surroundings are blackened; almost non-existent. I hear a strange laughter erupting in the room. I look up. Holding my lifeless body is an ugly, grotesque woman. Her belly is fat and her body was covered in blisters and moles. She had no hair on her head and her skin on her face is peeling off, like the skin of a leper. She was stroking my body like a mother soothing a baby but I can’t move my body. I see her other hand was hidden from view. It was then she lifted it up and remarked how she knew I was coming. How she had waited patiently to play. In her hand was a potato peeler. I screamed but no one could hear me. Perhaps no one ever will. I just hope someday someone hears these words. I don’t know if I will see you again my love. I hope I will but not here. The one thing they told me in here. My body is still alive outside here. I need to get back. I need to see light again. I have to escape.


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