Subcutaneous Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 25

Medium by Ben Clayton The house was a beautiful light blue. Exotic flowers and bushy trees surrounded the well landscaped yard. Was this truly the house? Had they given me the wrong address? I was here. I might as well ring the doorbell. Pressing the button, a light and friendly tune jingled in response. I was in the wrong place. I had to be. I turned, embarrassed, and began to walk away. Click. The door unlocked. “Hello? May I help you?” a young female voice asked. I turned slowly, my cheeks a shade of red. Before me was a beautiful young Hispanic woman, with deep dark eyes. Stuttering at first, I finally found my voice. “I’m sorry to bother you. I’m certain that I have the wrong address.” I turned again to leave. “But, Mr. Greeves. We’ve been expecting you.” I stopped, my feet frozen in place. From what I had heard, this could not be the place. How could this be the house? Turning back slowly, I looked at her with concern. “Yes, Mr. Greeves. Please. Come in.” Walking back to the front, I took a step inside, hesitating. It was nothing similar to the outside. Cold and dark, the light came from candles on the walls and tables. I had to admit, it was more of what I had imagined, minus dust and cobwebs. “May I take your coat and your bag, Mr. Greeves?” the young lady questioned. I nodded. “Just my coat please. I’d rather keep my bag.” “As you wish,” she replied. Taking my coat, she hung it in a large closet, and closing that door, she stated, “Please follow me.” Picking up a candelabra from a nearby table, she walked down a long, dark hallway. The shadows were ethereal but moved strangely in respect to the light from the candles. At the end of the hallway, the woman turned right, and right again to descend a set of stairs into the darkness. Following closely, we reached the basement, our footsteps echoing against rock floors and aged wooden walls. I guessed that it would be a room at the end of the hall. In the movies, it was always the room at the end of the hall. The stains on the walls were mold, the damp environment a protagonist for its birth. I walked in her footsteps, afraid of ghostly dangers that might not even be there... but what if they were? After all, I was here for... Well. I was here. Seeming to feel my concern, she looked to me and assured me with her gaze, that I was safe. At the end of the hall, as expected, she turned to me and asked that I sit in a chair mimicking the color of the walls and floor. I looked to the chair, to the dank hallway and to the wet light emanating in echo from the walls and back to the candles. Slowly sitting, anticipating the chair to be weak with decay, I found that I was incorrect and the chair was in fact quite sturdy. My initial impression of the house drifted away as I began to realize, I was exactly where I had intended to be. The young woman cautiously entered the next room, watching me carefully, as she opened and partially entered the door. “Please wait here,” she said, closing the door. The door’s handle was bronze and clean, gleaming in the dank and dark hallway. Its reflection from the dim light made it flicker and change, but still the gleam remained the same. I stared at the handle for a time, and eventually it began to turn. My heart fluttered for a moment in surprise and contemplation if this was really what I wanted to do. These things were highly regulated, or so I had heard, because, in fact, anyone who had done them never seemed to have much to say on the subject. “It is a beautiful house.” “The tea was lovely.” “It was a fine experience.” Only my friend had given me more, and he had not given much. “It’s never what it seems. Remain relaxed and accept the result. The worst that will happen is disappointment.” The door opened and the young woman appeared. “Mr. Greeves? Are you ready?” I nodded, my hands twisting together nervously. As I stood, the woman gestured for me to pass her and enter. I did as she said, looking back only to see her leave, closing the door behind her. In front of me were dark curtains, perhaps velvet, crossing in an upside