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Nimue's Grotto

The Neglected

by Eliza Tufts

* Plink * Plink * Plink*

Kevin's gaze pierced the thick darkness in his second story bedroom. The ceiling offered no relief to the persistent leak in the adjoining bath or to his racing mind. Non-mechanically inclined, Kevin silently plotted the offending sinks demise. Little did he know, the sink was plotting his demise as well.

Dawn broke into brilliant shades of pink and gold. The radiant beams chased shadows into the far reaches of the bedroom and spilled warmth across Kevin's face and hands. Sleep had only recently found him so despite the sun's effort he wasn't easily awakened. At seven o'clock the analog clock sounded.

Kevin groaned and struggled to open his sleep-encrusted eyes. How was it morning already? He made his way to the bathroom and stared at the stranger in the filthy mirror. Blood shot eyes held his gaze. Mumbling profanities at the sink, he got into the shower and tried to make himself presentable for work.

At the sound of the car retreating from the garage, the sink began plinking excitedly, its once polished basin thickly coated with toothpaste spittle and whisker fragments. The soap-scum coated shower responded immediately as did the stain-covered carpet, who was suffocating under several weeks worth of dirty clothes. From down the hall, the banister creaked and the refrigerator, walls and ripped linoleum gave their input as well. It had been two years since they had been tenderly washed, polished and cared for. The noises a house normally makes when settling was in this case the murmurings of a neglected and abused dwelling. What was to be done? When Kevin's fiance had been treated as such she had simply left. Without her loving touch the house had fallen into disrepair. The house was aware that copying Sarah's exit wasn't possible, so more drastic actions were necessary.

In the early evening, a notice came from the garage. The door opener had just been activated. Silence fell.

Kevin grabbed a cold drink from the fridge and slammed the door. The floor creaked sympathetically as he walked to the sofa and cranked the evening news to full blast. The sofa whined and popped under his enormous weight. After polishing off several cold ones and tossing the cans among other debris on the floor, Kevin headed to bed.

"Take that." he said stuffing a dirty sock in the bathroom drain, muffling the constant dripping. He fell face first into bed and drifted effortlessly into the sleep that had eluded him the previous night. The house had come to the conclusion a few hours earlier that the solution to their problem was to evict the current owner. As snores drifted from the adjoining room, the sink whispered their plan to the dirty sock.

Once again dawn broke. Crimson red streaked the horizon. Kevin yawned and rubbed his eyes. "8:30?" He exclaimed grabbing his alarm-clock for closer inspection. "I'm late." He tossed the clock haphazardly towards the night stand and raced towards the bathroom, slipping on a film of water that had overrun the sink. The carpet tried not to snicker as Kevin's feet did a Charlie Chaplin jig, his hand smashing into the mirror in an attempt to catch his balance. "Dang it!" he yelled. He watched a few drops of blood drip into the overflowing sink before pulling the sock from the drain and winging it into the bedroom. The sock hit the floor lamp knocking it over into the window, which shattered. The lamp sparked and spat in disgust and Kevin watched as one of the sparks ignited his pillow case.

Kevin extinguished his bedding and bandaged his hand, then popped into the shower only to discover that the water heater was also on strike.

As Kevin headed down to breakfast, the staircase spit up a nail that found the soft spot in his foot and he tumbled down half a flight of stairs, spraining his ankle and giving him a good knock on his head. Kevin thought he heard the stairway snicker. The bump to his head must have been worse than he thought. Much worse, because he could have sworn he saw the kitchen table high-five the chair.

Kevin slowly limped towards the fridge for a swig of milk. He was nearly there when an empty can rolled in front of him, tripping him. Kevin eyed the place nervously and imagined he heard muffled laughter, this time from the couch. Perhaps he should visit the ER. Concussions could cause hallucinations, right?

Kevin took a long swig of milk, then spewed it all over his pants and shoes. "You've got to be kidding me." he groaned, realizing the fridge had failed during the night. He turned on the kitchen sink to rinse the putrid taste from his mouth, only to discover that the water heater was in fact working. He screamed as scalding water blistered the side of his mouth. Jumping back in surprise he stumbled over the kitchen chair. From flat on his back, Kevin looked towards the table where the chair had previously been, then down at his feet where it now was. What was going on? He looked up just in time to see a butcher knife fall off the counter and miss his face by less then an inch. Scrambling to his feet his eyes darted around the room, catching movement in his peripheral vision. The popping and creaking of the walls and floors resembled demonic laughing. Grabbing his keys he darted into the garage and jumped into his car. He started the engine and pressed the garage door opener. Nothing happened. He pressed the button again. Nothing. Kevin reached for the door handle as it locked itself. Panicked he tried to take the key out of the ignition but it was stuck. He tried the car door again then beat furiously on the windows as the garage began to fill with exhaust.

About the Author

Eliza Tufts is an entrepreneur and mother of three. When not working or spending time with her children she enjoys crocheting, reading, painting, bead work and yoga. Her recent found love of writing has resulted in several short stories. She even has a novel in the works.

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