The Succubus and Other Stories

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Lost in his Bedroom

        He woke in the night, yielding to the demands of his bladder. Must've been the beer. Funny. He could only remember drinking a single glass.
         He went to the toilet. Urinated. Heard a silver tinkle far, far below. As if he'd relieved himself into a mine shaft. Cool vapors fumed up from the shaft, smelling of copper and lavendar.
        Uncertainly, he backed away, tripped over something soft and soggy (it caught him behind the knees) and fell heavily, sploothing backwards into the softness of a carpet of mushrooms, which embraced him with a massaging passion.
        He rolled free, clipped his head painfully against something hard, and crouched in the darkness, panting.
        Where was he? In his bedroom or the lavatory? Had to be the lavatory, unless the toilet facilities were somehow part of the bedroom. Try as he might, he couldn't remember the layout of his own bedroom.
        "Where am I?" he said.
        "Where you are," came the reply, in a news announcer's voice, neutal, asexual.
        His exploring hands found the hard thing that had clipped his head. A ship's propeller, very large. As he pondered the meaning of this, his eyes slowly became adapted to the dark, and he made out the outlines of the door. The escape hatch. There would be a light switch by the door. Right? Either by it or outside it. One or the other.
        Cautiously, he crept to the door. Fumbled for the switch, but did not find it. Exit, then. He put his hand on the door handle. The cool metal twisted into jaws. Sharp, delicate teeth fastened on his flesh. A hard narrow tongue licked him.
        "Please," he said, in a whisper.
        The teeth retracted. Gently, he twisted his hand free from the tongue. Forget the door. If this was the door, then the bed had to be directly opposite. By the window. Wasn't that right?
        An hour later, he was back in bed, trembling with exhaustion. Almost immediately, he was asleep.
        At 06:30 a.m. his alarm clock awakened him. The bedroom was the same as always, neat and clean, a simple rectangle. No toilet anywhere in sight. The lavatory (he could remember this now) was across the hall.
        Something hard was in the bed beside him. A lump of something. A globe of glass. One of those snow globes; you turned it over and little bits of glitter descended through a kind of fluid, snowing on a Christmasy winter scene complete with a snowman. He could not remember having collected it in the night. But, then, he never remembered all the details of his strange nocturnal episodes.
        He put the snow globe on top of the chest of drawers, lining it up with the souvenirs of other bad nights he'd had that year: a shiny yellow ingot of something which had the heft of gold, a piece of driftwood with the frayed remains of half a dozen goosenecked barnacles clinging to it, and the skull of a small animal which had three separate mouths, each armed with needle-sharp teeth.
        The teeth.
        Remembering, he examined his right hand, the one the door had seized. Okay, but for a single dot of dried blood where one of the teeth had punctured the skin. No need to use the first aid kit, then. Not this time.
        He showered, dressed, breakfasted, left for work. But he'd be back. His bedroom was his prison now, the last place where he had a decent chance of surviving the nights. He remembered the horror of his night in the hotel room on his last out-of-town trip, and flinched.
        So where would it all end?
        "Let's not think about that," he said.
        Most of us know where our lives end, if we think about it too clearly. But he was a sensible man, so chose the course of reason, and didn't.

The End

This bizarre story, "Lost in his Bedroom," was first published when posted online by Hugh Cook 2004 September 4 Saturday. Copyright © 2004 Hugh Cook. All rights reserved.

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