Cthulhu in My Refrigerator
The damp chill that pervaded my apartment seemed mustier than usual as I reluctantly awoke. Carefully opening one eye I peered out of my window, expecting to see the fog once again doing its bit to rust shut the city but, instead, a cheerfully sunny sky peeked between the scabrous brickwork of the warehouses that my overpriced apartment faced.
Mentally shrugging, I began to ease myself out of bed and that's when the hangover struck. Hangovers are sadistic bastards that will allow you that moment of false security. "Hey, I don't feel so bad after all, I think I'll get up, maybe fry some bacon for bleeuuuuuurgh."
And red wine is the worst. My gothic pretentiousness - something I'll only admit to in the privacy of my own mind - insisted that I drink red wine last night. Sulfites and cork particles fought for dominance on my palate as my skull blossomed with a stabbing sensation rather akin to being on the wrong-end of a medieval war-hammer.
A few deep breaths and a fervent prayer to whoever might be listening - accompanied by the usual promise never to drink again - yielded surprisingly good results and the thumping in my skull became bearable after a few moments. Unfortunately, my deep breathing had given me another mouthful of the foul tangy air in the apartment. Unpleasant, but preferable to the hangover.
I wandered, wobbling only slightly, into the living room, hoping that the pervading smell wasn't because of one of my oh-so-considerate guests vomiting on my one rug before leaving last night.
My tiny living space only required a quick check to reveal that no-one had left anything more unpleasant than the usual deitrius of empty bottles and overfull ashtrays around the place, but the musty smell persisted. It lay somewhere between old Chinese food and...brine? I dismissed my hung-over imaginings. It was probably just the ashtrays...
A few moments later, my eyes ran across the book I was showing off to my inebriated buddies the night before.
"Oh shit..." a quiet groan was the noisiest anguish I had the strength for. The stains on the cracked leather binding were normal - as were the waterstained pages and odd illustrations, dancing figures and cityscapes done to an Escher-stick-figure motif. My distress was borne of the fact that the book lay open in the middle floor, a page ripped free from the center.
Grumpiness slouched into my being. I liked that book and its weird occultish look. I found it when browsing one of the pervasive used book dealers that sprout in San Francisco and picked it up for ten bucks. It was beaten up, sure, but essentially intact. And now some jerk had ripped a page out of it, probably to light a fuckin' cigarette - I hoped it wasn't me as I felt a fine anger seething.
The hangover didn't appreciate being muscled out by a hissy fit and reasserted itself rather forcefully. Ouch. Juice, yeh, juice. Yum. My train of thought is usually seriously derailed after a binge.
I stumbled towards the fridge, believing that there was some orange-passionfruit muck that Deedee had brought over still lurking behind the pizza.
Upon the door of the fridge, looking slightly damp and folorn, was the missing page of my battered book. "Oh great. Fucking brilliant." It was a page of text and pictures and some wag - I bet it was Adam, he dug this kind of shit - had colored in parts of the picture in shades of green and blue. "Very pretty, you dickhead." I mumbled, glaring at the altered paper.
A magnet I'd not seen before held the page to the upper half of the fridge's door. The magnet was about the side of a quarter, greenish and oddly textured - something between moss and calamari - but looking at it only my headache worsen and strengthen my weak resolution to get glasses. There was detail on the magnet, but in the dim light of my kitchen, I couldn't focus on it, but I could have sworn the damn thing was shimmering.
I opened the fridge and blindly reached in - I was looking for the Tylenol in a drawer adjacent to the cooler - and jumped back when my hand plunged into freezing water. Not a pitcher of it on a shelf, I realized as I finally looked into the fridge, but the entire appliance was full of cold, greenish water, somehow restrained from gushing across my floor.
The possibility that this was some kind of prank was blown into atoms, followed quickly by my hangover. Damp coldness emanated from the icebox and I realized that this was the source of the musty smell that pervaded the apartment. My dripping hand and sleeve had that same odor and smelled strongly of salt.
"Seawater." I muttered inanely. "I've got a sea in my fridge."
Peering deeper into the greenness, I realized that this was not simply a physics-defying-fridge-full-of-the-ocean-deep. It was overlooking some undersea plateau where the sunlight couldn't have reached, yet it was lit by a distant green phosphoresence. Trying to peer deeper into the murk, I could see broken colonnades of some black stone, stretching across the filth of the seabed and further away, yet, there stood a great building of basalt, lit by a greenish halo and sprawled upon the its steps was...
I didn't get too good a look at the creature upon the foot of the temple, because I had to tear myself away and vomit in the kitchen sink. Whether it was the remnants of cheap wine or the undersea depths that caused me to retch bile onto my dirty dishes - Great, more mess to clean up...the still coherent part of my mind bitched - I wasn't sure but I wasn't eager to find out.
Rather than look at my icebox, I kicked behind me - thankful, for once, for a small living space - and slammed the fridge door shut. I almost convinced myself that I didn't hear a wet squelch.
Nameless panic threatened to overwhelm me. Something about that underwater scene that I just knew wasn't a long-delayed flashback had the power to scatter any rational thought. I had some kind of Ghostbusters-outtake in my Frigidare and damned (and how!) if I knew what to do about it...
As I rinsed my now thoroughly gross-tasting mouth out in the bathroom sink - a vain attempt to put distance between myself and the kitchen without going too far - it occurred to me to call Adam.
"He probably did it himself, the smartass." I muttered to myself. "He's always claiming to be into shit man wasn't meant to know."
At this point, I didn't care if Adam had cast a spell on my fridge. I just hoped he could uncast it. And bring my fridge back. With the dispelling of my hangover (extreme fear seemed to do it, but it's not a treatment I would recommend) I was getting hungry and I knew there was some old pizza in there that was calling my name. Or was that the other thing that was calling my name...?
"Jesus, woman, get a grip." I looked myself in all my disheveled, bloodshot glory and firmly reminded the woman in the mirror that talking oneself into hysterical hallucination was a bad idea. It was rough enough that the landlady couldn't dig the fact that I wore black twenty-four/seven, already.
Adam was awake and he sounded only about half as hungover as I was before opening the icebox - and half-hungover is generally normal for him. After all, he's in college.
"Adam, just listen to me and don't say 'you're fucking nuts' until I'm done, okay?"
To Be Continued....
You are not at the top of the foodchain - The Maternal Jackal