Room of Mothercreep
Bang. Bang. Bang.
“Help!” Clarissa cries out from behind a rusted metal door. “Please, someone! Help us! Oh, God. Why?” She melts to the floor, weeping uncontrollably. Her left hand is unhinged from the mold-incrusted doorknob.
A green dim light hangs over the center of the room, flickering. The room is cramped and empty, aside from Clarissa, a wrought-iron hospital bed, and Derek. It’s windowless, yet there is an occupied curtain rod, plastered to the albino wall behind the bed. Fermenting durian custard belly flushes the air.
“Oh, quit your goddamn whining!” Derek mutters. He scurries back and forth like a banana smoothie over-blending. “Of all the places you could have gone, you had to trail through the abandoned, Yenther Hut Health Hospital!”
“What choice did I have? A voice called out to me.”
“You’re too proud to admit this is your fault.”
“How is this my fault?”
“Uh, let’s see…” His mind trails off for a moment. “You walked out on me during my Holliday Conference over some bull! Then ––”
“You cheated on me!” Clarissa howls.
“Like you didn’t cheat on me multiple times, you slut?” Derek’s hand kisses Clarissa’s cheek.
There’s a tapping on the door. Clarissa flinches, shuffling quickly on all fours to the other side of the room. A rat, she is, hunkering under the bedframe. Derek submerges under a dusty, quilted blanket. Laying on the forever-deteriorating mattress. The door swings open. It vibrates the walls of the small room.
Seven slinky, spiny legs pitter-patter and sneak across the floor.
“Ahhh!” Derek cries as it hurtles him from his hiding place. “Clarissa, save me!”
Her calves glue to the floor. Clarissa plugs her ears from the sounds of ripping flesh. Those blood-curdling screams. She peels the skin curtain over her eyes from the horrific display of limbs twisting away like freshly cooked chicken.
The screams stop. Dead. Silence. Her hands slice the curtain away.
Something clambers into the room. A woman.
Infused fried egg-yolk and rice noodle is her hair. She has ginger freckles and root beer eyes. Her lips are beet-red –– plump –– from assault. The woman wears a tattered off-shoulder marshmallow sleeved blouse, red. And her pants… Well, there is none. Just chocolate licorice underwear and blueberry welts along her thighs.
Clarissa recognizes her.
The door slams shut.
“Hello?” The woman calls out.
Hesitant, Clarissa is. Derek had an affair with the woman. Mustard with courage, she asks, “Fauna?” Clarissa wriggles from underneath the bed, exposing herself under the light.
“Never, in a million years, would I have pictured myself in a room with you.”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean!” Clarissa scowls, scrunching her nose in disgust.
Fauna scoffs aimlessly at the wall to her right and scooches over to rest her back against it.
“Why did you do it?” Clarissa asks.
“Sleep with my husband?”
“You’re still hung up on that?” Fauna smarmily responds, “People are dying, and you have the nerve to ask me about what type of relationship I had with your husband? Unbelievable.”
“He died. Just moments ago.”
“I’m sure you lavished Derek’s mutilated carcass.”
“No.” Clarissa chokes on her response. “I panicked. It was like I couldn’t move, and then suddenly…” She pauses. Water droplets surface for a coming downpour. “He was being devoured by this, this, this monster. All I could see were legs and Derek. Oh, God!”
“I’m so sorry you had to witness something so horrific,” Fauna insincerely replied. “But Derek's death would have –– and could have –– been prevented if you would have remained loyal to him.”
“W-What?” asks Clarissa. “What are you implying?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“No. I do not follow.”
“There were signs, Clarissa. Derek despised being married to you.” Fauna studies Clarissa. “He was constantly stressed out at the office, and with you gone –– screwing Tom, Dick, and Harry –– you weren’t there to support him. So, naturally, he stumbled across me.”
“That’s not true!” Clarissa replied. “I did support him. I even left notecards in his briefcase to show my love. It wasn’t until I discovered texts on his phone that you both exchanged that I no longer supported his interests. I needed a scapegoat from his abusive spells!”
Fauna cackles. Her skin tightens, fresh for shucking. The eyes bead like blackberries in the sun. Her stomach grovels and wails.
“There are monsters. Here. In this building. Mothercreep is the worst of them all.”
“Who is Mothercreep?” Clarissa goes pale as though a rotting grapefruit hugs her nose, churning a sour stomach.
“Mothercreep is the devourer of unfaithful men. She preys upon the weak and lures them down to the cellars. This cellar. And she lurks in plain sight, blending with her surroundings.”
“You’re lying. There are no monsters here.”
“But wasn’t your husband devoured by Mothercreep, earlier?”
“No, he was consumed by a seven-legged, hairless, spidery beast.” Clarissa’s heart thumps and pounds. Her brain feeds her sugar-coated whispers. The hairs on her neck convulse. Dry ice, her breathe, smoking in sequestering air.
“I need to get out of here.” Clarissa bullets to the metal door. Bang. Bang. Bang. “Help! Somebody! Anybody!”
“Nobody is coming,” Fauna sighs.
“Someone will come. They have to.”
“You have to face the truth.”
“What truth? I am trapped here. Somehow Derek is mysteriously dismembered,” Clarissa says. “No body to be seen. Then you appear out of thin air? It’s like you’re… the monster.”
“What a clever wench! I have never crept on your kind, before. You’re the first to be unfaithful to a sleazy husband.”
Breathe in. Breathe out, she thinks to herself as wafts of century eggs permeate her lungs. Clarissa turns away.
Fauna’s crinkling shell tears away, birthing stringy, spinous appendages from her ribs. Blood spools rancidly across the mildew eggshell walls. Rambutan fangs sprout from her lower jaw, click-clacking gluttonously. Her stomach is kettle corn, nearly bursting. Just famishing over her meal.
“I am Mothercreep, Devourer of Men. Now women.”