Become a Fan
By William J Neven
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Rated "R" by the Author.
Has appeared in 'My Legacy'- Kay Weems, Ed.- To an undergrad's dismay, the love of his life begins to lose her mind.
----- There are days I curse myself for not having seen it coming; nights where I cannot sleep because of it; my dreams having become recurring nightmares.
----- After all, she might as well be dead.
----- The transformation, itself, however, was sudden not subtle as one might expect.
----- I remember clearly how it had begun as if it were only yesterday. We had made love in her room that morning as usual among pictures of supermodels and movie stars she had carefully mounted and where most everything - even a heart-shaped rug - was colored a passionate pink.
----- Exhausted, I murmured, "You know it felt as if our souls were just joined together somehow, Elaine."
----- She nuzzled up to me in turn and smiled.
----- "I kind of feel that way, too," she said. "But it wasn't really spiritual, you know. I've already had that, Ricky, and it was so-o-o much better."
----- Though I did not know it then something was wrong. Terribly wrong!
----- "And I've never felt sexier in my whole life," she sighed.
----- Then, she began to laugh hysterically.
----- "What's so funny?" I said, concerned.
----- At first, she didn't respond, only closed her eyes.
----- "It's just that you just made me realize something," she said with a much-too-sensual grin. "I think he ravished me."
----- For a moment, I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. Unfortunately.
----- "And know what else?" she said, looking more and more like one of those naive centerfold types my friends and I liked to joke about. "I think I recall when he did it."
----- Now I was confused.
----- "You see, Ricky, what he did was put me in this void and it was so-o-o black. I mean everywhere I looked it was like totally black, and I couldn't get out no matter how hard I tried."
----- She pulled the back of her hair into a knot and laid her head down onto a sheeny, satin-coated pillow.
----- "But you know what really got to me was that I didn't even know he had put me there until he came for me and took me back with him."
----- I of course wanted to know who this 'he' was but instead said: "From this void you were mentioning."
----- As she turned her body to face me, I could smell heated perfume on her naked body, her wet hair and that sweet part of her I had thought until this very moment was mine, alone.
----- "That was where he first touched me, Ricky, where no one - not even you - has ever touched me before, and where for the first time in this existence I finally understood what he had been trying to tell me all along."
----- Trying to smile, I said: "And what was that, Elaine?"
----- Her blue eyes seemed to send out little volts of invisible lightning.
----- "Why about my past lives, Ricky. I don't remember all of them yet, you know, but I do remember the time you had let me be his lover even though you knew even back then that you and I had been lovers several times before."
----- At that, I could only get out, "I did."
----- "I just wonder, you know, how I could have been so -"
----- She ran one of her fuchsia-painted fingernails along her rose-reddened lips and used a word she never had nor ever normally would.
----- "- so nescient? But maybe I was supposed to be unaware of it until you helped to remind me how to do it, Ricky."
----- Though I tried to make light of it, I knew I was visibly failing. Subsequently, I quickly asked: "Like do what?"
----- In return, she considered me with an uncharacteristic blank demeanor, features that were unsettingly reminiscent of a beautiful actress in a low-budget horror flick I had once seen whose human form was gradually changed into a wild animal by a mad scientist.
----- "Why, Ricky," she mused. "How to leave my body, of course."
----- What she was referring to, I was soon to discover, was known as an out-of-body experience - or an "Obe" - whereas the heretofore mentioned gentleman was one Dr. Dominic Masters. It was he who was teaching this elective course at the college at the time.
----- The very next afternoon something happened, something that upset Elaine so much she had forgotten our date and left the ruby ring I had given her that Christmas on the bureau in her room.
----- It was still there when I stopped in to check on her later that evening and the following morning as well. In fact, it wasn't until a week later that I finally found her. She was sitting alone at the entrance to the campus on a small hill that overlooked it.
----- Her eyes were shut tight and her chest was pushed outward.
----- As I approached her, I noticed a figure lurking on the other side of the gate. He ran before I could get a good look but I was sure it was a man.
----- I placed my books down and quietly sat alongside her.
----- And waited.
----- "I'm sorry, Ricky, it's just that I was stuck on strata eighty-two," she said finally. She shook her head as if rousing herself from some sort of deep, meditative state. "And it was just so-o-o awesome just like my partner, Keith, said it would be." With a mischievous hike in her brows, she peeked up at me from over the top of her blue-lensed sunglasses. "Now, Ricky, it's not what you're thinking. Keith is just a friend."
----- Not bothering to respond to that, I asked instead in frustration: "So is that where you've been all this time?"
----- "Oh, Ricky. Don't worry," she said as one of those condescending smiles she knew I disliked formed on her lips. "Besides, guess what? On strata seventy-seven, I was able to go back to all of our marriages but we had so-o-o many of them, you know, that they went by like swoosh -"
----- She sailed one of her hands high up over her head.
----- "- like that except for ones like where Montezuma took you from me later and then had you sacrificed to the mountain gods."
----- Now she slid her sunglasses down to the very end of her nose.
----- "Don't look so sad, Ricky. You were brave and of course I did cry for you, you know, especially after you started screaming. But so what?"
----- Her mouth wriggled into a pout.
----- "Don't you remember how in Egypt I died during labor because you wouldn't call the high priestess over to help?"
----- Making a fist, she waved it playfully at me.
----- "Better not do that to me again, Ricky, because Dommy thinks that you and I will be lovers every now and then until the end of time."
----- "Dommy?" I said, knowing full well who she meant.
----- "Professor Dominic Masters," she confirmed. She shrugged. "He's been my lover, too, you know, but he said he was glad he isn't this time."
----- Rather than try to understand what was going on inside her head as I should have, I became angry.
----- "And how do I know he isn't, Elaine?" I snapped out at her.
----- She stood up and looked the other way.
----- "You know you're so-o-o jealous, Ricky, you wouldn't believe me if I told you," she said. "Just like you can't remember how we all once lived on a planet that is millions of light years away from Earth. I thought it was called 'Zee-ex-something' but both Dommy and Keith said they didn't think so. I only know that - next time - I won't choose a form like this one."
----- She held out a hand and examined it as she turned it over.
----- "I mean it's just so-o-o restricting, you know."
----- Though I tried to apologize for my outburst, she would hear none of it and then wouldn't see me for yet another week. When she did, her brown hair had been cropped short and highlighted in red whereas the decor in her room was now an almost an immaculate white.
----- She then said she would agree to be with me again on one condition - that I attend one of her Obe sessions that very evening.
----- Once there, I was surprised to find the president of our college, Dr. Pyburn, in attendance along with two members of the faculty as well as Pyburn's wife. She was much younger than he and very pretty. Having recently been a coed, herself, she was well known to most of the student body.
----- As we waited in our seats, Elaine came over and whispered to me, "You know, Ricky, in our next lives I think we should be magnetic life forms." She twisted her shoulders about. "I mean these shells we're in now are just so-o-o restricting."
----- Masters soon appeared on the small stage in front. He was a middle-aged man with silvery hair and a full black beard, reminding me a little of a picture of a Hollywood celebrity Elaine used to have mounted on a wall in her room.
----- Behind him were two black containers, each of which he explained were called 'floatation tanks'. To ensure they worked properly, he said, the water inside them had been heavily salted, necessary to allow a subject to enter the deepest state of relaxation possible. This was important, he maintained, in order to enable one's consciousness to temporarily escape the limitations imposed on it by one's body.
----- That done, he extended a hand to Elaine. Once she accepted it, they walked up to one of the two capsules where she removed her lab coat, revealing a tight-fitting wet suit she was wearing underneath.
----- Masters then did the same, asserting as he did that such clothing was essential to eliminate any potentially-negative vibrations.
----- Meanwhile, his assistant - that gawky-looking Keith Elaine had previously mentioned - came up and affixed a pair of electrodes to both of their temples. A monitor at the foot of the stage, Masters announced simultaneously, would be used to display the patterns of each of their brain waves.
----- All this time, Dr. Pyburn was grimly silent while, beside him, his two colleagues quietly conferred.
----- On his other side, though, I couldn't help but notice a familiar-looking smile affixed to his buxom wife's face.
----- Masters and Elaine settled themselves into their respective tanks, meantime, whereas Keith attended to the scanner. Almost immediately, the jagged blue line on the left side of the monitor began to merge with the pink one on the right, and everything seemed to be going along as planned.
----- That is until Pyburn's wife tried to secretively blow a kiss at the Obe professor.
----- For, upon seeing that, Pyburn jumped up, seized the nearby monitor, raced forward and hurled it into Master's tank. His wife screamed as he did. I leapt up. The lights flickered. Pyburn's two colleagues tackled him. Keith kicked the plug from the socket.
----- After he did, I fought past the struggling men and the puddles that had been washed out onto the floor, working my way over to Elaine's tank. Once there, I anxiously lifted the door that had closed down over her, praying that she was still alive.
----- My hands were trembling as I looked in. I could hear Keith crying nearby; Pyburn's wife calling out for help behind me; the two professors shouting at Pyburn.
----- But Elaine said nothing at all.
----- Later, Pyburn was convicted for murder; his wife divorced him; the two professors retired early; and poor Keith committed suicide.
----- That was something I, myself, have considered doing at times even though I know I never can nor ever will.
----- After all, Elaine had only told me at the hospital - was it yesterday? No, it must have been today. Yes, it was definitely today, "Too bad you can't join Dommy and I, Ricky. That is of course when we're not making love in our other cosmic bodies because this human one we share now, you know, is just so-o-o restricting."
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|Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione
|Hell yeah -- this one is good. Another Chicago based horror writer on here too, I grew up in Glendale Heights and Roselle started writing off the places dark history and one being tied to me directly in form of a friend of mine doing a murder. About the short story you wrote -- it has a tinge of Robert Bloch in there maybe a bit of John Saul in there colaborating with him . But all the same it is a very dark write. Check out "Shadow of the Gathering" if you want to see some Midwest based Cthulhu Mythos.|