She is at it again, I realized, as I slowly stirred awake in my bed. The glowing dial on the bedside clock read 1:40 AM, and the steady tapping in the walls was growing louder as Mary felt her way through the walls of my old farmhouse. I sighed, flipped the covers off of me, and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. My stun gun sat on the dresser. I took it with me as I left my bedroom and headed for the cellar stairs.
The tapping and shuffling of her flesh in the walls sounded loudest in the kitchen, and I paused by the cellar stairs, looking down the hall and wondering if I should stop by there first. The sound of a box falling from a cupboard made my mind up for me, and I headed down the hall, stun gun ready should I need it.
A in the corner; something next to the heating ducts, a dark shadow on the floor, groping it’s blind way from the vent. I flipped on the kitchen light, and the sight of a corpse gray patch of skin immediately vanished, and a clambering sound in the ductwork rattled it’s way down towards the cellar. I cursed under my breath as I surveyed the kitchen; she had definitely been up to her old tricks. Cereal boxes littered the floor, an open and spilled container of sugar, and a two liter bottle of Diet Pepsi, crushed and popped open, slowly drained it’s sticky contents on the floor. Thank Christ she had still not discovered (remembered? I wondered) the refrigerator, and all of it’s wonderful contents for consummation. I made a mental note, probably the hundredth one since she finally made her way to the kitchen earlier last week, to get a lock for the fridge. It might not stop her, but at least it might slow her down some. After all, would there ever be any stopping of Mary?
I made my way down the cellar steps in the dark, wishing for the relief and comfort of a light (she hated bright lights, and had broken the light that used to be down in the cellar), gingerly feeling each step with my foot before I put my weight on it. I didn’t want to step on her again, the memory of her pained scream, the feeling of the step giving out under me, actually her moving herself, and the painful fall down the stairs, the sickening feeling of landing in a weird cushioned pool of dry and sickly-feeling flesh, and another cry of pain as it folded around me, spastically stretching and quivering as she rolled my stunned body off of herself, retreating into the deeper area of the cellar, back to the darkest corners of her dwelling.
Nothing of her was on the stairs. I made my way through the cellar to my work area, where I kept my vats and books, my lab equipment and powders, the vials of salts and other forbidden things in containers and shelves. Most of my private things were untouched as of yet, though she must know that they were here. Was it her memory, I wondered at times, that kept her from my things? The fear that she had held for them in her past life, the fright she had had of opening a container, discovering a grisly relic from a robbed grave, and the subsequent punishment I had given to her for her tampering in matters that did not concern her?
I picked up the night vision goggles from my workbench and put them on, walked cautiously to the stone well that had been dug in the far corner of the cellar. A rustling sound within, and I knew that she was down there, or at least, part of her was. The main part surely, for she could not heave the bulk of her hideous body out anymore, only fashion metamorphic tendrils of gray flesh to explore and make mindless mischief.
The night vision goggles bathed her in a sickly green aura, her shimmering flesh a yellowish green to my eyes, the dull shine of her eyes peering back at me with a stupid yearning, a lusting, for my touch. Her mouth opened, moaned softly, and a tentacle formed from her mass and crept up the wall to touch my feet. I shuddered in disgust, but could not step back from the edge of the well, and I stood silently, looking down at what had become of my wife of twenty-some years.
The wormy tentacle tentatively touched my foot, but I did not look at it, watching her face peer stupidly, sadly maybe, up at me. Her toothless mouth yawned, and a ridge of teeth formed from rubbery gums, then sank back into her flesh. Her metamorphism was still uncontrollable, I realized. She could hold no solid shape. Her eyes blinked, and a breath of putrid air roiled up from the well…”Jack…”
I blinked, steeped back in shock and horror! This was the first time she had spoken in the past month! I had believed all of her speech capabilities to be lost, yet she had spoken my name, she knew me! Again, a moaning rush of air, the putrid stench of her breath heavy and repellant, and my name again: “Jack!”
“SHUT UP!” I screamed, and stumbled backward from the well, tripping over the leprous tentacle that had gently wound it’s way around my ankle, and I fell with a painful thud to the floor. I recoiled from the tentacle, from Mary’s touch on my foot, and scrambled back up the stairs to my bedroom, my breath coming in ragged gulps of air, trying not to hear the distinct, but altered, sound of laughter emanating from the well.
I could not work in my cellar laboratory during daylight hours, the door was always held shut by an ungiving dead weight on the other side. Their were no windows for me to be able to see into, but if there were, I knew what I might catch a glimpse of: Mary’s mass, or a portion of her, blocking any possible intruder from letting in the daylight that terrified her. For a short time, I had dwelt on the notion that I had created some sort of vampiric creature, but my studies put that notion to rest. The light would not harm her, I concluded from blood and tissue tests, but she certainly did not like it. Rather, I felt that she had become photophobic. Her eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, and while I knew she could see considerably better then I could, she was by no means having perfect vision in the darkness. This I realized from the blind groping of her tentacled flesh, failing to see a tidbit of food she particularly liked when I held it over the well, only pouncing on it eagerly when I dropped it down to her, and other tests.
I spent the day wondering what else was still in that hideous body, how much of my Mary remained in the brain that I had so carefully reformed and rebuilt, her flesh that I had gingerly recreated and regrown in my vats, and how much did she remember of me, and of what I had done to her? I also began to realize that, depending on the answers to these questions, I might have to put down the thing that I had created. I went to bed around 2 PM, my mind troubled and frightened of these new dilemmas.
The sun had set when I opened my eyes. I yawned and rolled over in bed, and immediately recoiled and shrieked in horror at what lay beside me. Her eyes shown a malignant yellow, gleaming in the dim light of the bedroom. But even more unnerving, even more terrifying: her flesh was that of a human again. Lumpy and misshapen for sure, broken in places, slightly off-colour, but definitely that of a human female. Her body had reformed crudely, her head barren of the once luxurious hair she had possessed, now showing only lumpy and knotted skin, with a few small tufts of bristly, black, coarse hair sprouting in places.
“Ja-ack…” she said, her voice unsteady and empty of feeling., “J-Jack.” I moaned, trembling, fingers gripping the bed sheets, looking at her, at IT, trying not to see Mary in the THING laying on the bed next to me, and she smiled at me, damn her to hell, she SMILED AT ME! I could feel my sanity slip some, my mind trying to reject what I was seeing, refusing to accept that she was sitting up in bed, that she was nude and obviously struggling with her form, I could see her flesh roiling beneath the skin, her breasts heaving as tiny tentacles and flaps of skin continued to form and sink back into her, only to reform mindlessly and wave in the air at me.
“Jaaack…” she said, her voice rasping and horrible, scratchy and diseased, a formed gray tongue touching her lipless mouth, “make love to me, Jaaack.” And she thrust her breasts, misshapen and gray, ruined by my vats and chemicals, at me, and I screamed, SCREAMED at her, “GET AWAY, GET AWAY FROM ME DAMN YOU TO HELL GET AWAY FROM ME!” I lunged for the floor, trying to roll out of the bed, away from her, her laughter and ruined body, the blasphemous and THING that shared my bed with me for God only knew how long, touching me as I slept, doing God only knew what around me, to me even, and she laughed, piercing and terrible, the sound a pin in my fracturing mind, and I could feel the cold plastic of the stun gun in my fingers, I whirled around, on my feet, and I faced—an empty bed.
Down the hall, to the kitchen: cupboards opened, contents spilled, more congealing liquids on the floor. This time, she had discovered the refrigerator, and I cursed under my breath. Meat wrappers, milk, eggs broken on the floor, smeared across the tile as though they had been walked in, or maybe she had tried to lick them from the floor. In the fridge, nothing remained.
Back down the hall, to the cellar, this time grabbing a powerful flashlight as I went. The door opened easily, and I turned my light on and headed for the well. Empty. A sound behind me, and I whirled around, and she stood there, on two legs, Mary, my Mary, looking at me, her eyes no longer yellowed but blue, deep ice blue, her breasts full and beautiful, her hair golden and flowing, radiating life, and my heart pounded, I glowered at her, and she looked at me with full venomous hatred in her gaze.
“Is this what you want, Jack?” she demanded, and she thrust her full breasts at me, she touched the slit between her legs, she flaunted her gorgeous body at me, and I sneered at her. “It’s not, is it, you insane bastard…” She twitched, and a patch of gray appeared and disappeared on her thigh. “You want me, don’t you Jack? You regret what you did to me, don’t you? Don’t you?” Her voice changed, the anger turning to pleading, a need that I had not heard in years. “Please want me, Jack, please, you can undo what you did, I know you can, please fix me, pleeeeeeeezeeee!!!” And before my eyes, she fell apart. Her full figure crumpled to the floor, her perfect body splashing down into a graying pool of flesh, a rippling tentacled mass of metamorphic soup that writhed and shimmered in front of me. “Jaaaaaack” she moaned, cried at me, a gray tentacle on my foot, caressing me, pleading me in words she could no longer form since her powerful will on her body broke, and I stepped back, away from the monster that I had created, away from my wife whom I had punished for going through my forbidden works and books, for prying in things that did not concern her.
She moaned, her mass slithered past me on the floor, her rolls of flesh and tentacles dragging her mass across the floor, back into her well.
The next day, I poured gasoline throughout my farmhouse. I soaked every possession I owned in every room throughout the house, my shirt wrapped over my mouth so I would not breathe in the fumes that might overwhelm me. I started the fire in the bedroom, on my bed, and then left the house as the fire began to rage and consume everything in it’s path behind me. I stood on the lawn for a long time, watching the house collapse into itself, watching the fire gut the house. Watching to make sure it cleansed the blasphemy that I had created. The house collapsed into the cellar, the only part of the house untouched by gasoline since Mary’s bulk wouldn’t let me down the stairs. But nevertheless…the heat was overpowering, the chemical fumes of the burning gasoline overpowering, and the devastating weight of the house unfathomable to me. She was dead.
The fall semester at Miskatonic University began a month later, and I returned to my tenured position teaching Occult Sciences to the strange students, many of whom were so gaunt and pale they appeared to be undernourished or ill. My days were full of lectures, and my nights were filled with terrible dreams that haunted me to no end. At least once a week I would find myself bathed in sweat, gripping my bed sheets in terror, full of a dread that someone, or something was in the room with me, watching me, stalking me. But that was not possible, I reasoned to myself, after all, Mary was gone, and I was safe on the tightly secured campus of the University. And no one knew of the strange events that transpired in my isolated farmhouse in the Massachusetts countryside.
Or at least, that is what I used to tell myself…and here I am now, cringing in the corner of my bed, biting back a scream…and in the ductwork of my tiny University cottage, I can hear it…the steady tap tap tap of a blind tentacled thing, groping about through the walls, exploring her new home.