Illness

I had woken up early. That happened during the week: denied that last sweet hour of sleep before waking up for work. Sighing in resignation, I went to perform my morning routine in the bathroom. Shower, shave, washing the strange ethereal blood from my hands. The usual. It was only as I was getting dressed I realized that the house was quiet. I did not hear the hollow, massive breathing of the thing that lives in the crawlspace. Wondering if it had gotten an early start, I slipped on my shoes and went outside to one of the openings in the crawlspace and took a peek inside.

No, it was still there. But its breathing was all wrong. It was weaker, shallower, lacking the strength to shake the foundations of my house as it normally did. I frowned in concern, wondering what could be wrong. In the shadows, I could see the slick chitin and its massive, coiled form resting throughout the crawlspace. That’s when it sneezed. A great sound like a shotgun stuffed with wet paper going off. I could hear a splatter on the underside of the floor. Then it all made sense.

It was sick.

“I’ll be right back,” I promised the thing that lived in the crawlspace before I made my leave to the deli just down the street.

I returned ten minutes later with a quart of chicken noodle soup and a quart of red sports drink. It was the items my mother and father would bring me when I was sick and had been my standby whenever I had fallen ill. Resting both items just inside of the crawlspace, I went back inside to make myself some tea. When I checked in the early afternoon, both items appeared to have been dragged into the darkness under the house.

For the next three days, I did the same thing: a quart of chicken noodle soup and a quart of sports drink. I varied up the flavors though: yellow on the second day, purple on the third and light blue on the fourth. But not the dark blue one. I did not like the dark blue one. And it seems even for the things hatred for the colors other than red, it still accepted them and left the discarded containers for me to collect later in the evening.

When I awakened on the fifth day, I heard howling like sharp nails dragging down glass, like the tortured souls of Pandamonium. It appears that the thing that lived under my house was feeling better and back to its own usual routine. It was a small comfort that my living mate had recovered from its illness and I heard it slithering out into the neighborhood as I stepped out from the shower. I smiled, glad it was feeling better.

It was then I decided to finally name it. We had been living in the same house for quite some time and we had reached an understanding. To call it a thing or it all the time seemed lacking heart. It needed a proper name, something simple to convey the simple life it led, living under my house, eating insects and burglars and generally keeping to itself.

George. Yes. Yes, that would do nicely.

(source) story by (/u/HeadSmashDesk)

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