Friday, October 31, 2003

Living Hell - Fiction

The goblin lunged at Marcus, his intent clear. Revenge.

Witches, ghosts, vampires, princesses and a variety of sports figures witnessed the battle. None of them seemed interested in joining in, which was unfortunate for the little goblin. On this night, he would lose the spoils of his door-to-door efforts. The candy would go to the victor, and in this case, as with the other ten children before the goblin, it would be Marcus.

Marcus was evil. Not just because on Halloween night he stole candy from kids, but he was evil in ways that many normal people would never imagine evil could be. The professionals all agreed that Marcus had some sort of imbalance in his chemical make up. Almost all recommended that he be institutionalized for the protection of others. For some reason, Marcus fell through the cracks, and roamed the streets looking for trouble.

The police knew him well. From petty crimes, to torturing animals, Marcus has done it all. Unfortunately, nobody really knew Marcus. Nobody could even fathom the depths that Marcus had sunk to in his daily rituals. On the surface he presented an image of somebody to stay clear of, and most people in Los Angeles did just that. There was the typical staring, pointing, and talking as he passed, but that was all.

Marcus turned into an alley and entered into an abandoned store by pulling up the corner of a long-forgotten chain-link fence that was meant to secure the door. Inside, the place was nothing but a large empty room, filled with trash here and there, and many years accumulation of dust. There was a noticeable trail where the dirt had been trod, leading to a door on the other side of the room. Marcus followed the path he has taken hundreds of times before, and opened the door that led into the darkness of a storeroom below.

This was where Marcus called home. One dim bulb provided what little light Marcus required to do whatever it is he did down there. A small hotplate, microwave and refrigerator made up his kitchen, and a broken card table propped up on one side by a cardboard box was his only table. In one corner was a pallet with some blankets on it that he called his bed, in the opposite corner was a large hole in the wall.

Marcus tossed the candy from the nights haul onto the table, grabbed a handful and shoved it in his pocket, then walked through the hole in the wall which led to a ladder, and down into the sewer system. Once in the sewers he reached into a dark alcove and produced a small flashlight. The light clicked on and Marcus could see little things scurry from its beam. He felt most at home here among the rats and roaches, and enjoyed interacting with them from time to time. He directed the flashlight into the darkness and used it to guide him through a maze of tunnels until he reached his destination.

The door was closed, and if you hadn’t been looking for it you could easily walk right by. Marcus didn’t know what the room had been designed for, but it was perfect for his needs. The little room had power to it, and Marcus pulled the chain on the fluorescent fixture he had installed with some old wire he had found.

The light swayed back and forth throwing wild shadows around the room. Surprisingly, this room was better furnished then his home. There was a stainless steel table, and a long countertop with jars and a variety of odd instruments that seemed to be collected from many different professions from automotive to medical. There were a few cages in the room, some looking like plastic kennels you would use for transporting your pets, and others merely made from wire and sheet metal.

The table itself had nylon straps bolted to the sides in about six different locations, and it could be moved into various positions from standing straight up, to lying flat and low. Over the table was another light that circled a large magnifying glass. This was what Marcus considered his laboratory. This was his private place where he could perform ghastly experiments.

Nothing was safe from his work. The local rats, cats, dogs, and even the roaches themselves have all contributed to his quest for knowledge. What exact knowledge he was trying to obtain, was anybody’s guess. Marcus himself had no clue why he did what he did, all he knew was that he enjoyed his work, and saw no need to change how he performed it.

This was a rare occasion when he had no patience in the lab. The place was quite for now, but he was formulating a plan that would involve a few dogs, the candy he had gathered, and electricity. A smile grew on his filthy face as he began to plan the various experiments he could try, and what else he would need to do the job properly.

Marcus left his secret room, secured the door, and made his way back through the filth to the ladder. As he climbed the ladder his foot slipped from one of the rungs and he fell backwards about 15 feet onto the hard concrete below. He gave a grunt, and went to pull himself back up, but nothing happened. He could not move anything. He tried again, but not even a twitch of his fingers could be managed.

Laying there for a while Marcus thought that soon he would start feeling better and could once again move. He seemed to be able to see just fine, and breathing didn’t appear to be a problem. So he lay there a while looking at the intricate patterns of the walls. He noticed the ladder that betrayed him had a broken rung on it, and that must have been what caused him to fall.

Marcus had nothing but time on his hands. His mind began thinking of many new things he could do in his underground laboratory. Although he had yet experiment with humans, he had been toying with the idea for some time now. Maybe it still wasn’t too late tonight. The little kids were running around in their costumes, mostly unguarded. With everyone in costumes, and running amok, it would be the perfect time to gather a human specimen. His plans for the candy and electricity changed from using a dog, to using a small child. Then he saw movement on a pipe overhead.

His eyes were somewhat adjust to what little light the fallen flashlight was providing, and he could make out a rat scurrying along one of the many pipes that lined the ceiling of the sewers. Then he noticed that one was actually on his stomach, but he could not feel anything. He noticed it was doing something, but he could not see just what from his angle. The he saw it.

The rat had a little piece of flesh in his mouth, and some blood on his fur. Marcus began to panic inside, but still could not move. As he lay there, helpless as he could ever be, he saw more and more rats begin to crawl all over him. He knew they were tearing at his flesh, but could do nothing to stop them.

A cockroach crawled over his face, tickling his check as he crossed, then disappeared somewhere into his shirt. For a moment he was elated that he had felt the roach on his face. Perhaps he was getting better, and could soon show these rats who the boss really was down here. Another roach showed up, but this one stopped near his nose. The tickling of the tiny feet soon gave way to little painful sensations. The damn roach was biting his nose!

Terror welled up inside Marcus as the roaches and rats began to arrive in larger numbers. Hope was gone that he was ever going to be able to move. He tried to pinch the inside of his nose closed as the roaches ventured further into his nasal passages. He closed his eyes as they started crawling all over his face. He peeked out every now and then when he thought he had a clear moment. The rats now joined in with the roaches nibbling at his face, and the pain was excruciating but he could not scream, or move.

Marcus was trying to blow a rat away from his mouth when the flashlight started to dim. It wasn’t long before the light went out completely. Now Marcus lay in complete darkness, and the pain on his neck and face became surreal. He could feel a roach, or a rat, trying to chew on his eyelids as he tried to keep them tightly closed.

Nobody noticed that Marcus never came around anymore. He was one less vagrant to point at, stare at, and to wonder about. There were many more to fill his place as the weird and the strange on the streets of Los Angeles. There were no missing persons report filed, and no memorial services for him. Marcus had merely disappeared from the Earth.

Somewhere in the sewers of the city of angels, Marcus was distributed to feed the needy. The life of Marcus was finely worth something to nature, as a source of food.

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