The Wretched

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Robert's wife is sick. Gross.

Submitted: April 26, 2017

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Content

Submitted: April 26, 2017

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The Creature

 

Robert’s phone vibrated at him like a trapped bee. He acknowledged its buzz.

‘Karen.’

There was a slurp. ‘Robbie.’

‘Yes, Karen?’

 ‘I’m sfhick.’

‘I don’t know that word.’

‘I’m sfhick.’

‘Make that noise differently.’

‘I dun feel well.’

‘Poor Karrypoo,’ said Robert. ‘Do you want me to croon to you?’

‘Yeth. Bud get me medizine too.’

‘What do you need?’

‘Doze sftuff and throat.’

‘Anythi-‘

 ‘Choclits,’ she nearly screamed at him.

‘Ok.’

‘How long you gon’ be?’ Karen asked.

‘About an hour. I only just got out of work.’

‘Too long! Be quick.’

The phone bleeped at him.

*

Robert opened the front door.

Nyurgh!’ Karen gurgled from upstairs.

 He walked up, armed with pharmacy bags and steely resolve. On walking into the room, the air around him seemed to condense into a warm flat jelly. Karen snorted and sniffed from underneath the blanket. She honked at him. Robert sat on the edge of the bed and observed the shapeless mass quivering beneath the blanket.

‘Karen.’

She grunted.

‘Karen, I’ve got stuff for you.’

‘Gib it me.’

He withdrew a bottle of cough syrup. In this dank and dark room it looked like a medieval potion bottle, full of pure grotesque. He unscrewed the cap for her, poured some of the bruise-purple goop into it and tapped what he assumed was her head.

‘Pookie,’ he said.

‘Guh.’

‘I’ve got some cough syrup for you. You need to take it.’

Karen choked out a response that started off audibly enough, but soon devolved into a series of chokes and splutters so heinous that Robert half-expected one of Karen’s lungs to jump out of her body like some slime-laden hairball. Karen poked her head out from underneath the blanket and looked up at Robert. Her dismal face was the texture and melancholy of an ancient oil painting, with sunken zombie eyes and a pallor so ghostly she might have been made of smoke. Her hair sat on her head like some decrepit crow’s nest and a smell emanated from her corpse-like figure that made it seem like decomposition had already begun its insistent tug.

Robert winced and he pulled away, unacknowledged by his wife.

‘Gimme dat.’

He stood up and passed the cap at arm’s reach. He put his other arm across his face.

With a groan like a diseased hound, Karen pushed herself up and sat cross-legged, enclosed by her blanket like some overgrown hermit crab. She stuck an arm out from within the blanket, took the cap, and reined it back into the safety of the blanket. She buried her head inwards as a tortoise would, and sipped the goop out like one would an oyster. Robert withdrew his arm and stepped back a few paces.

When Karen poked out her head again, she demanded, ‘moe medizine.’ Strings of hair were pasted to her face by glimmering sweat.

Shaking, Robert dove back into the pharmacy bag and withdrew a box of painkillers.

‘I need doze dow!’ his harpy squawked.

He threw the box to her but it went unacknowledged.

‘I cun’d do it byself,’ she said. You had to gibbe.’

‘Yes,’ said Robert, forcing himself to focus only on the box of painkillers.

‘And you hab to gibbe walter,’ she said.

 ‘Yes!’

He escaped into the kitchen and filled up a glass for her, his brain urging him to put on a face mask and gloves. His body ignored it and Robert approached that which must not be gazed upon. He shuffled to her, snatched the box up, and offered her water and two… actually three pills. Karen didn’t move her body, but simply let her jaw fall down, exposing a slimed cave. Robert gulped. One by one he popped a pill in, tilted water into her mouth and waited for her to swallow. Water splashed off her cracked, desert lips. It felt as if he were desperately trying to water an already baked and shrivelled plant. Karen spluttered and coughed up something neither green nor yellow, and Robert made a mental note to burn the blanket later. She swallowed the rest of the water, which Robert imagined to be just a few drops after it had mostly dissolved on that dead sandpaper tongue.

Doze drops!’

Robert didn’t immediately respond, although he understood her command.

She vomited the words out again. ‘Doze drops!’

Robert took out the nose drops and brought it to her. He held it out for her to take.

‘Pud id in my doze,’ she said.

Robert, regretting his decision to not wear gloves, brought his face inches from hers. Her pores were bitter and her sweat pulsed like live frogspawn. Having stared into the abyss, he had to look away, unworthy of baring witness to it. He held the nose drops out like a lit matchstick and inserted the pump into his wife’s glistening nose. He depressed the pump and when Karen inhaled, it was like listening to a boot being pulled out of wet mud. He repeated the process for her other nostril and when he pulled away, he let the bottle drop from his fingers, where it sat on the floor like some venomous lizard.

‘Thag you,’ she said.

‘It’s okay,’ he told the she-thing.

You ged me chocorlate?’

He passed it to her.

‘Caramel?’ she asked.

‘Yes.’

She put food in her face, chewing loudly.

‘Anything else?’ he asked.

‘Kith.’

‘Huh?’

Kith,’ she insisted, pointing to her lips.

Truly he was mad to lay his lips on hers, but he did. He felt the dry bumps and uneven texture, and grimaced when something solid transferred from her mouth to his. When it was his turn to lay in bed making inaudible, slurping demands a week later, Karen, too, had to overcome the same horror and disgust in order to take care of her spouse.  

 

END


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