Museum of Horrors Part 3

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Encourage Writing Inc.


Rose is slowly trying to adjust to her predicament with the help of Jack. It's almost show time for the Museum of Horrors. Will Rose be able to hold it together during the show, or will she break
and have to face the consequences?

Submitted: February 16, 2018

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Submitted: February 16, 2018

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Low murmurs drag me back to reality.  Slowly, I feel myself resurface to as if swimming up from a deep pool of water.  When I open my eyes, the lights are muted to a dull glow.  I can see that I’m still on the floor from when I passed out earlier.

I struggle to sit up and wince when I feel my head throbbing.  Tentatively, I reach up and probe the pain I feel on my forehead.  “That’s a nice bump you’ve got there.  A nice shade of purple is already blossoming.  You should really be more careful where you land.” Says the centaur playfully.  “No duh Sherlock.  Thanks for the tip.  I’ll plan out the location next time I decide to faint.”

The centaur chuckles at my sarcastic response.  In the dim light, I can see a mischievous twinkle light up his eyes and possibly…pride?  “You’ve got spunk still. That’s good!  You need it to survive in this place.  Go ahead and take a look across the room.  See that guy?”  The centaur points across the room. 

I follow his finger and glance across the room.  Occupied in one of the many glass cages is a creature slouched haphazardly in the corner.  I can’t identify all of his features in the dim lighting, but what I do see makes me shudder. 

I can’t even tell whether the creature is a man or a woman.  The poor thing is mutilated so badly that the gender is a mystery.  Its skin is charred black and flaky.  Blood and puss oozes from some of the sores on his ruined skin.  I cannot imagine what his confines must smell like with those open wounds.  A long leather tail trails down on the floor, curled up by its enlarged, clawed feet.  Its hands are hanging limply at its sides.  Lifeless. 

A glint from something on the floor draws my attention.  I squint to peer even closer and realize that the glint is coming from his hands.  Razor blades protrude out of each finger at least 3 feet long.

I’m thankful that the lights are low and that I’m unable to see its face.  With all I’ve seen so far, I cannot fathom what the rest of its face looks like.  The centaur’s voice draws my eyes back to him.  “His name use to be Brissy.  He refused to play his part when the clients would come.  The Man warned him what would happen if he was defied, but Brissy refused to entertain.  Each day that he refused, he would undergo more modifications.  Over time, the surgeries became too much to bear.  His last surgery was on his face.  What he saw in the mirror finally broke him.  He…”

Centaur’s shoulders shake violently as he sobs quietly.  After a little while, he pulls in a shuddering breath, and composes himself.  When he looks back up at me his kind face morphs into something quite fierce.  “He is broken now.  My best friend.  I tried to warn him.  I tried to help him, but he was always so stubborn.  He was determined that he would never cower down to The Man’s desires.  Now, all that’s left of him is this shell.  Tomorrow morning, he will go to the ‘Play Room’.” 

Several times this room has been brought up.  Several times it has been used as a threat.  What could possibly be worse than this?  How can mankind possibly any more cruel?  I cannot imagine going through this alone, but to do it and have to watch your best friend suffer?

I try to find the words to ease his pain, but my tongue stumbles over the words.  “I’m so sorry, um…”  The centaur gives me a small smile, “Jack.  My name is Jack.  I’m also known as The Centaur and The Beast, but I usually prefer Jack.”  He adds with a little wink.

I give him a little smile in return.  “Jack, I’m so sorry about Brissy.  What The Man did was wrong.  I cannot being to comprehend how hard it was for you, to have to watch what happened to your friend unfold and be unable to help.”  Jack heaves a sigh, and looks over at the shell of a man that was his best friend.  His rough features soften as they gaze at his broken friend.  Just as suddenly, his face becomes steely and he fixes his eyes to mine.

“You have to do as The Man says.  You cannot fight this battle on his level.  The surgeries will just become more horrific.  They’ll become more painful and hideous.  He’ll take away your pain meds and make you suffer through your recovery.  If you still fight him, he will even keep you awake during the surgeries.”  A shudder runs through his body as he mentions this last bit. 

Shrugging off whatever image is plastered in his mind, he continues on.  “Just go along with it.  All of it.  I’m coming up with a plan and I cannot do it on my own.  I need you.  We can’t do anything yet.  It’s too soon to act out.  For now, just keep your head down and do as he says.  We WILL get out of here.  I promise you we will, uh, I just realized that I don’t know your name.  I’m assuming you don’t want me to call you whatever name is engraved on the plaque in front of your cage.”  Jack says with a lopsided grin.

I stare in shock at him.  His tenacious grip on hope astounds me.  After all he just told me.  After all he has seen and been through, he still hasn’t given up.  I draw from his courage and sit up straight.  “My name is Rose.  If you can do this, if you really think we have a chance, then I’m in.  For better or worse.”

His lopsided grin turns into a full blown smile.  I can’t help but to smile back just as big in return.  Hope burns hot inside of me like a raging fire.  I’m not alone anymore.  I can do this.  We can do this!  Nothing will get in my way.  Not the clients, not the surgeon, and not even The Man.  He has no idea what’s coming for him, but when it does, oh I’ll make him pay.  Not just for what he did to me, but for Jack, Brissy, and all the other poor souls trapped against their will.  For those still living and those who have been lost.

Oh yeah, I’m coming for you sick freak.  Ready or not, here I come.

***

After talking with Jack for a little while longer, the effects of the surgery and headache I induced upon myself begins to make me groggy.  Jack notices my lagging attention and bides me goodnight. “Get some rest Rose.  Tomorrow is the grand opening of the Museum.  When you arrived here, it was just one of the many beta tests The Man has run to test his clients curiosity.  Only a select few have been allowed to see some of us.  Tomorrow is the real deal.  Remember, you must perform!”  With that lovely parting, Jack carelessly throws himself down on his cot, and closes his eyes.

Apprehension makes my stomach queasy.  I try to lay down on my back and immediately regret it.  The newly attached spikes and wings protest at my weight.  Quickly, I turn on my side and try to find relief.  I growl in frustration as I realize that I’m now laying on a flap of my wing.  I swipe angrily at it and make if flare out behind me.  Settled down once more I try to relax, but it doesn’t come easy to me.

I can hear the sounds of the other poor trapped souls.  I cannot make myself call them creatures anymore, for they are no different than I.  Some of them are laying down quietly.  Others are pacing like trapped animals.  A few are crying wherever they’ve collapsed, and some are pounding at the walls screaming their hearts out in desperation. 

I peek over my shoulder to look behind me.  Jack is already passed out face down.  I can hear snores rumbling out from him.  I guess after being here for some time, the noises don’t bother him anymore. 

I turn back around and try again to snuggle into a more comfortable position.  Sleep doesn’t come for a long time, but when it does, I welcome it as a brief escape from here.

***

Bright lights snap on and I instantly jerk awake.  All the lights are on and I can see everyone slowly waking up.  A loud banging noise starts down the aisle and works its way towards me.  It’s a huge fat man banging on a pot!

He has on a stained wife beater shirt, an apron that’s just as filthy, ripped baggy jeans, and thick steel toed boots.  His face is grotesquely big.  His eyes are beady and shifty like a rat.  The nose is bulbous and crooked, and his mouth is missing a few teeth.  The fat man stops at each cage and bangs on his pot until each man/woman presses their back flat against the wall.

When they’ve cooperated, the fat man opens a small flap in the middle of the glass cube, puts a bowl on the ledge, and pours something resembling slop into it.  Then, he pushes it into the cage where the ledge is mounted, and locks the hole back up.

He proceeds to do this to every cage.  Those that cannot or will not stand at the back of the cage are not given any food rations.  The fat man just walks right past them while bellowing out profane comments to each occupant.  Anger boils inside of me.

How dare he pass those poor people!  They’ve been through enough hell already!  I’m about to open my mouth when I see motion to my left.  I look away from the fat man to Jack.  He shakes his head quickly and gives me an imploring stare.

I seethe at being unable to voice my rage, and clamp my mouth shut with great effort.  Jack is right.  All my complaints would serve me is an empty stomach and possible trouble.  There are 15 people to my left and it takes the fat man a while to reach my cage.  When he does, I instantly wish he had moved on by.

Even with the glass cage between us, I can still smell him.  He openly ogles me with no shame.  He catches my stare and grins with glee.  “Oye!  Like what ya see love?  Big Baxter has a lot ta give ya!  Come a little closer.  I won’t bite.  Unless that’s what you’re in to.  Big Baxter doesn’t judge!”  he says with a wink and sneer.  “Come on over.  I’ll give ya a free feel through this slot eh?”

He whistles at me and begins to rub himself.  I’m appalled and disgusted by his open display of vulgarity.  I back away from the slot to try and get as much space from his as possible.  Braxton’s features turn from glee to rage.  His red face beings to purple.  “I’m not good enough for you eh?  You ain’t exactly my top pick either ya filthy mutant!  Ungrateful mongrel.  Let’s see how high and mighty ya feel later tonight with an empty stomach!”

He makes a disgusting hacking sound, and lobs a wad of slime onto my cage.  Then, he waddles off to the next 10 cages to the right, banging that dang pot of his.  I sigh with relief and walk back to my cot.  I look over to Jack and see him glaring tight lipped at the fat pig.  As if feeling my eyes on him, he turns to look at me with his hazel golden eyes.  It’s eerie how he can sense me looking at him.  I give Jack a reassuring smile and lay back down on my bed.  It’s not like I have much else to do.

Once again, I have to struggle with my extra appendages to find a comfortable spot.  I hear a soft rumbling sound and turn to my left.  It’s Jack laughing at me!  He catches me looking and tries to hide his amusement with a coughing fit.  Too irritated to say anything, I fix him with my best evil glare.  He purposefully ignores my death glare and focuses very hard on his tray of food. 

I flop over with a huff only to have to wrestle with my wing once again.  I can hear his chuckles turn into gails of laughter.  Fluster and mortally embarrassed, I quiet fighting with my wing, and sit up to turn my back on Jack.  I can hear him muffle a response to me as he fits to suppress his laughter, but I ignore it.

“Oh come on now Rose!”  He chokes out as he tries compose himself.  “I wasn’t making fun of you.  Honest I wasn’t!  Come now, you have to admit it was kind of funny!”  Still, I ignore him.  Let him sit and be ashamed and guilty for laughing at my difficulties. 

I Keep my back turned to him and stubbornly refuse to acknowledge him.  Sobered up now, he tries again to console me, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.  You’ve got to understand, in a place like this, there is no relief.  No joy.  No happiness.  Nothing.  When life brings you lemons, you make lemonade.” 

He pauses to see if I’m listening.  Whatever he sees in me, he keeps going, “Everyday, I try to find something that makes me happy or laugh.  It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.  I truly am.  Please don’t be mad at me Rose.”  Well dang it.  How can I stay mad at him now?  He does make a fair point.  We all have to find some way to cope and let off steam once in a while. 

I let out a huff and turn back to face, “It’s ok.  I’m sorry for being so sensitive…Everything is just so new and overwhelming.  I’m scared Jack.  I’m so scared about tonight’s grand opening.  How am I suppose to perform?!”

Jack ponders for a moment as he stares at me.  I being to feel uncomfortable and shift my weight on the cot as he pins me with his gorgeous eyes.  Suddenly, his eyes light up and he dashes to the cage wall to get closer to me.  “Your wings, I saw you twitch them just a little when you first woke up after your surgery!  Maybe you can manipulate your wings.  That would give the clients an eyeful!” 

Briefly, I think back on that morning after my involuntary surgery.  I do remember feeling a brief fluttering movement behind my back!  I try to make them wiggle, twitch, to do something, but nothing happens.  I try again after a few more minutes but still nothing happens.  “It’s pointless!”  I yell out as I throw my hands up in frustration.  “They’re as useless as paper weights!”

Jack gives me an exasperated look like you would a child throwing a tantrum.  “Of course nothing is happening.  You’re looking at this all wrong.  Think of your wings as muscles.  You can’t expect to do a pull up with your arms if you haven’t made them strong!  Your wings are the exact same way.  They’re weak right now.”  I roll my eyes at his stubborn determination to get these useless things moving.  Still, I have to admit, he has a good point.  What else have I got to do with my time anyways?

I close my eyes, and focus really hard.  I imagine in my head where my wings are connected to the top of my spine.  Very carefully, I try to make them twitch.  “There!”  Jack yells excitedly. “I just saw one of them move just a bit.  They do work!  Don’t stop Rose!  Concentrate on the small movements then work your way up.”

The next hour is pent focusing on my darn wings, but low and behold, they really do work!  After about 10 minutes, I can make them move a few inches.  After 30 minutes, I’m able to raise them up half way for a few seconds.  An hour later and I can almost raise them all the way up!  Sweat trickles down my body in streams from all the effort.  I’m exhausted and gasping for breath after my last attempt.  I’m too tired to walk over to my bed, and settle for sitting on the cool floor.

Jack beams at me with wonder and pride.  I can’t help but blush at his enthusiasm.  I give shy smile back and thank him.  “You don’t have to thank me.  That was all you.  You’ve done so well!  Get some rest now.  It will be show time in a few hours.”

Dread balls itself up into the bottom of my empty stomach.  I’m too exhausted to get up off the floor, and decide to stretch myself out on the ground.  I make sure to raise my aching wings up first so I can properly get into position this time.  I can’t help but feel a little pride for myself and my little accomplishment.  Hey, everyone has to have a goal right?

***

I wasn’t aware of falling asleep, but all too soon I hear a foreign voice over head blaring at me.  I jerk at the sudden noise and scramble to my feet.  I search around for the voice and feel silly when I realize that it’s an intercom system.

Attention:  The Museum of Horrors will be open in one hour.  Please being final preparations.”  The message repeats a few more times before it shuts off.  A little disorientated at the sudden wake up call, I look around and see everyone shuffling around in their cages.  Everyone is preparing in various ways:  stretching their various parts and appendages of their bodies (natural and unnatural alike), grooming, and some are even showering in plain view!

I the side of one young woman a few cages down to my right across the room.  She’s absolutely stunning!  She’s the kind of woman every woman loves to hate for her natural beauty.  She’s tall and thin.  Her hair is like a golden mane; shiny and luscious all the way down her bare back like a gleaming waterfall.  Her face is just as equally stunning.  The big bright green eyes, full eye lashes, small perky nose, perfect cupids bow lips, and dainty chin.  But when she turns to face me, I can’t help but to gasp and stare.

Her beauty is only complete on one side.  The other is marred and hideously scarred.  She looks like a burn victim.  Her skin is all puckered up and discolored from the healing process.  Her eye brow, eyelashes, and hair are all gone.  Only a few patches of hair remain on her burned side.  I look at her name plaque and it read Two Faced.

I don’t know who this woman is.  I don’t know what she was like out of this cage, but no matter what her flaws may have been, she did not deserve this.  I feel fresh sorrow for this poor woman. 

The woman sees my look of pity and hisses at me.  She actually hisses!  I jump at her unexpected reaction, and quickly turn around.  “Don’t mind Seraphina,” Jack says casually to me. “just ignore her and you won’t have any trouble from her.  Isn’t that right Sera!”  Seraphina gives him a cold look and flips him off. 

Jack chuckles and turns back to me.  He sees me staring confused at the commotion of everyone in the room.  “It’s prep time.  Everyone gets ready to be presentable in their own way.  As you can see, the showers have no curtains for privacy.  We use to until The Man found one of his “creations” had hanged themselves with it.  That’s why you don’t have any material in your cell.”  He gives me an apologetic look, and tips his head towards the shower. “Yours is by the back of the wall to the right.  You might want to get started.”

I look at the shower and quickly glance at Jack.  He quirks his mouth and gives a little shake of his head. “I may look like a beast, but inside I’m still a proper gentleman.  On my honor, I won’t look at you while you shower.  I promise.”  I look into his eyes for any sign of teasing, but I see no sign of it. 

I give him a little nod and turn to face the shower.  Slowly, I start to peel off the long spaghetti strap hospital gown.  Undressing isn’t a simple chore anymore.  My wings are still hard to control and the gown keeps getting caught on the spikes.

Frustration builds each time I think I’ve got the hang of it, only to have my wing swipe the gown away from my hands, or to have the blasted spikes snap the material at the last second.  Finally, I manage to take off the gown.  Without underclothes, I’m undressed all too soon.

I look closely at the wall for a handle.  I don’t see anything except a button.  There’s nothing to indicate a way to change the temperature.  Taking a deep breath, I step forward and press the button.  I squeal at the burst of cold water.  Shivering hard, I quickly hurry to finish.  There’s nothing left out for me to clean myself with, so I rub myself down in an attempt to try and freshen up.

Across the room,  I can hear Seraphina hollering at me, “Woohoo!  Look at this fresh meat Jack.  My my, I must say, they do like to keep pretty women stocked next to you don’t they?  I do wonder, how do you deal with the frustration of having so many pretty things so close but so far away?  Does the beast inside of you roar for release?  I bet you would just love to…”

“Enough!”  roars Jack.  “You leave her alone Sera.  For once, why can’t you be compassionate to the new people.  You know how hard it was for all of us starting out.  Leave her be.  She has enough to deal with without you adding to the mix.”  Seraphina lets out a pretty bell of laughter.  I peek over my bare shoulder to look at her, and catch her making an obscene gesture to Jack.

 When she turns to me, I quickly turn around and focus on finishing my shower.  As clean as I’ll ever be, I press the button and step away from the shower.  I glance around for a towel and I’m dismayed to see none.  I briefly remember Jack saying The Man banned all cloths from our cells. 

I try to wipe the beads of water off my body and give up the futile effort.  Instead, I close my eyes and concentrate on moving my wings.  When I can feel them halfway up I grab the tips of them, and pull them across my body as a shield.  A sudden booing noise starts up.  “Oh come on you tease!  Don’t be such a prude.  You’re stringing the poor Beasty along.  I was just starting to get off on it myself!”

She’s about to say more when she turns to look at Jack.  Whatever look he gives her is enough to shut her up.  She gives me a little shrug and sways seductively back to her cot.  She throws herself down and positions herself promiscuously. 

I look over the top of my wings and mouth a thank you to Jack.  The overhead blares once again, “30 minutes till the big event.  Everyone finish up with their final preparations.  No exceptions.” 

While keeping my wings tight around me, I try to braid my hair.  The effort proves to be too much, and I settle instead for a tight bun.  I reach over to put my nightgown on when I hear a voice in front of me. “Oh you won’t be needing that my sweet.  No one wears clothes when the Museum is open for all to see.  I find that it takes away from the mystery and wonder of my creations.  Remember, put on a show, and I’ll reward you.  Disobey, and you may live to regret it.”  I can feel the tendrils of fear slink inside my body.

The intercom interrupts his final warning, “10 minute count down.  Will personnel please escort the inmates to their displays please.”  Armed soldier looking men come out of the doors to my right.  These men don’t seem like ordinary soldiers.  These men are like huge mountains of moving muscle.  The armed men troop out of the doors to my right. 

The work in pairs for each cage.  One opens the door of a cell while the other aims their gun on the captive.  They then handcuff their captive’s hands and feet, and walk them through the doors.  One by one we are all escorted out. 

When it’s my turn, it feels amazing to walk more than a few feet, even if I’m weighed down by my shackles.  Through the double door we go into the darkness.  Strip lights line the floors like you would see at the movies.  I try to look around but everything is hidden in shadows.

I can see dim, faint outlines of cages but nothing else is identifiable.  Suddenly, I’m yanked to a halt and thrust up a few steps.  I stumble at the top, and I’m thrown impatiently to the floor of my new cell.  The soldier chuckles as I struggle to sit up, and roughly removes my cuffs.

He’s quick and efficient with no room for error.  When he removes my chains, he steps out without taking his eyes off me, and slams the door shut.  I stand up and try in vain to look for Jack, but it’s still too dim to see clearly.

“One minute till show time.  Let the count down commence.”  This is it.  It’s live or die.  I have to make the best of it until Jack can find a way to set us free.  I hold that little flame of hope close to my heart and hold my head up high.

“3…2…1…”  It’s show time.

 

 

 


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