Mr. Bingsley and the Inkblot Invaders

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
An old man fights against his ailing body.

It's a graphic story, consider yourself warned.

Submitted: October 21, 2018

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Submitted: October 21, 2018

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“Ready to go, man?  The impulse hat’s all charged.  Oh yeah, eat this.”

Dr. Hommand brushed his scraggly hair aside.  He pinched a set of tweezers, pulling a tiny stamp from a medicine jar.  His patient, Mr. Bingsley, stuck out his tongue to accept the micro-dose of LSD.  It nearly wedged under his dentures, such a miniscule flake of mind expansion.

Mr. Bingsley cringed but not from the taste.  “Excuse me, Doctor.”

“I told you, bud, call me Rowan.”

“O-Okay, uh, Mr. Rowan, would you mind putting on some shoe—“

The doctor cut him off.  “Hold that thought.  The current’s finally stabilized.  Just sit back, let your mind do its thing, and watch the movie.  It’s a wild ride.”

Mr. Bingsley glanced at his butler.  Manny met his eyes while stifling a laugh.  But, before Mr. Bingsley could react, an electrical arc tickled his scalp. 

A metal hat enclosed his bald head.  Hundreds of wires connected it to a tabletop generator.

The barefoot doctor knelt down in front of his patient.  “Don’t take your eyes off the screen.  It’s a trip, but you’ll get used to it.  Wait, you’re not an epileptic are you?”

Mr. Bingsley shook his head.

The doctor slapped the old man’s leg.  “Gotta ask, you know, liability and all that.  Here we go!”

He clicked the remote.  Orange strobe lights ignited a projection screen, with them, thousands of photographs flickered.  Each picture appeared to be an inkblot; his mind interpreted them accordingly. 

The LSD opened neural pathways while the inkblots stimulated their development, an experimental procedure to cure a decaying mind.

From now until the old man died, Dr. Hommand would return every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  For a fee, of course.

 

****

 

Mrs. Bingsley rolled her power-chair in a crazy loop around the dining hall.  Papers littered every inch of the banquet table.

The old man propped against the entryway.  My dear, some habits can’t be blamed on old age.

Fifty-seven years together, Mr. Bingsley still quipped the same lines; although, a few names had changed.  “Dotty, why don’t you let Manny help you with that?”

Her answer, the same as always.  “He’s awfully busy tending the lilacs.  I’d rather not trouble him.”

The familiarity tugged at his chest, but the implications made him blink away a tear.  It’s the middle of November…and we pulled the shrubs ages ago.

Supported by his cane, he gimped to the table.  “Isn’t that it, dear?”

Her dull eyes lit for a moment.  “Oh!  If it was a snake, it would have bit me.”

Mr. Bingsley attempted to reach for the referral letter, but his inflamed gut wouldn’t allow it.  Bony fingers grabbed his hand.

His wife’s wrinkled lips curled into a gummy smile.  “I can manage that much.”

She scooted to the edge of her chair and pawed around for the letter, eventually snagging it with a jittery thumb.  “We best get going.  It’s bad manners if we don’t arrive early on a first visit.”

He scratched his wrist.  It’s the third appointment this week.

She leaned back, calling into the other room.  “Ms. Tiddlesworth, would you like to go on a trip?  Kitty, kitty, kitty.”

It didn’t respond, but Manny did.  He brought in a stiff black cat and nestled the stuffed animal into her lap.  She scratched under its chin.  “There, there, dear.  I know how you like the Buick.”

The expense of a taxidermist couldn’t compare to his wife’s peace of mind.  Dotty, what am I to do with you?

 

 

Manny, Mrs. Bingsley, and Ms. Tiddlesworth waited in the foyer.  The old man sat in the specialist’s study.  His very expensive private doctor thumbed through a manila folder; exasperation strained his face. 

The expected words finally came.  “I’m afraid nothing has changed.”

In response, Mr. Bingsley handed over the referral letter, the one written by a surprising colleague of the specialist.

Dr. Drassus’ eyes widened.  He scanned the letter several times, pausing in between to gauge his patient’s reaction.  “This is an extremely pricey treatment option.”

The old man laid a check on the table.  “It’s no concern.”

“However, there is a confidentiality—“

“The extra’s already been figured in.”

Dr. Drassus clapped his hands together. “Wonderful.  It’s quite the circumstance, no?”

“I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

“Ah, well, Dr. Hommand is maintaining your actual brain’s health, correct?  However, were you aware the digestive tract is often called the second brain?  I’ll be in charge of that.”

“How many procedures?”

“Just one.  It’ll be a multiple organ transplant.”

“About the candidate, doctor…”

“Ethically sourced, of course.”

 

****

 

Several months later, a new pain throbbed the old man’s gut, the feeling of fresh stitches being tugged apart.

A firm hand helped guide him into his chair.  Even the scrawny Dr. Hommand seemed like an iron fortress when compared to the feeble old man.  “T-thank you, Mr. Rowan.”

The doctor nodded.  He lowered down the iron helmet and rechecked the wiring.  “You’re going to be an interesting case study from here on out, bud.”

“I don’t follow?”

“Most of your enteric nervous system has been replaced.  It’s gonna be a trip to see how it affects your progress.  Even more so since we’ll have data from before and after.”

The old man fidgeted.  A trip?  The fuck’s that even mean?

This time, the doctor pulled a much larger stamp from the medicine jar.

The old man dissolved it under his tongue.  Familiar strobe lights lit up the screen in front of him, but the pictures seemed more…carnal in nature.

He noticed the doctor’s stare; the guy shamelessly scribbled notes on a memo.  The scrape of his pen couldn’t be ignored.  Incessant racket.

Flashing inkblots morphed into grotesque imagery.  The old man pursed his lips, but it proved futile.  A laugh slipped out.

The scribbling stopped.  Dr. Hommand tilted his head.  “See something funny?”

“It always ends the same.  Don’t you think, Doctor?”

“The movie, you mean?  We can change the slides.”  He rifled through some VHS tapes.

“Haha.  No, the picture is fine.  When you get to be my age, you’ll understand, young man.”

“When I get to be your age, dementia will hopefully be a thing of the past.”  The doctor clicked his pen, and continued scribbling notes.

 

****

 

Manny situated Mrs. Bingsley into the Cadillac.  After checking her comfort, he folded the power-chair into the trunk.  The old man crawled in next to his wife.

As he sat down, she clutched his hand and scooted closer.  “That was a wonderful dinner, dear.  The foie gras is always superb.”

He winced at her glazed eyes.  It was lentil soup, you toothless old hag.

Her face lit up with the usual wrinkled dimples.  “Ms. Tiddlesworth will just die for the leftovers.”

A thought stuck her.  Forgetting the old man, her head darted around the backseat.  “Ms. Tiddlesworth, grandma’s got a treat for you.  Kitty, Kitty, Kitty.”

Mr. Bingsley sighed.  He didn’t expect his wife to have another episode so soon.  Dotty, what am I to do with you?

Thinking quickly, he poked his head out the door.  “Manny, may I borrow your jacket?  She’s having a conniption back here.”

Quizzically, his butler complied.  “Of course, sir.  May I offer any other assistance?”

“Grab that pillow from the trunk.”

Manny did as he was told.  The old man snatched away the pillow and buttoned the black jacket around it.  For some reason, butterflies tingled his gut.

He nestled the jacket-cased pillow into her lap.  “Here she is, Dotty.”

Mrs. Binsley graciously accepted it.  “Oh, Ms. Tiddlesworth, you worried me, sweetheart.”

She scratched the underside of the jacket.  “You’ve gotten plump, dear.  Ms. Tiddlesworth?”

Her hand struck a button.  The scratching stopped.

Large, horrified eyes swiveled to the old man.  Her mouth whimpered, then opened to let loose a scream.  Her wailing sirens alerted everyone in the vicinity; the restaurant’s hostess, people loitering outside, families exiting their automobiles—they all ran over in confusion.

Manny ripped open the door and stole the pillow away.

However, one person wasn’t startled.  The old man’s smug face soaked up every morsel of the chaos.

 

****

 

The scene outside the restaurant inspired a new hobby.

Manny retrofitted the sun-room into a workshop.  His new duties included ordering exotic specimens.  A heap of small animals crammed into a spacious deep freeze.

 The old man began spending his evenings sculpting clay forms.  A special dehydration freezer hummed next to him.

Large ventilation fans whisked away the pungent odor of glue and deteriorating flesh.

After finishing a form, he’d take a carcass from storage.  It needed to rest a few hours to soften.  This afforded him time to sketch small lines on its body, lines he’d use for the incisions.

His first projects were rough.  His scalpel often nicked into the meat.  This sometimes led to chilled organs spilling onto the fur, creating unnecessary clean up later.  But, soon, he learned the technique to chop through the fatty layer while gently peeling away the skin. 

He’d discard the meat into a trash bag and hang the hide on a clothes line.  As it dripped clean, he painted glue onto the clay form.  The glue dried slowly; this gave him time to stretch the hide around it. 

He liked to stuff cotton balls around the meatier portions.  It gave a more pleasing texture; one his wife couldn’t distinguish against.

In fact, very few of his crude taxidermies alerted her.  The black spray paint helped.  He started with a Canadian lynx, then slowly worked his way up to a Swedish Viking rat. 

She dearly treasured each, her precious Ms. Tiddlesworth.

Tonight, he wanted to see just how far he could push his joke.

A tender voice called from the dining hall.  Ms. Bingsley searched for her cat.

The old man popped open the dehydration freezer.  As he removed his latest project, the cold stiff model inspired an excuse. 

The whine of her chair’s electric motor entered his workshop.  “Dear, have you seen Ms. Tiddlesworth?  She’s been out since breakfast.”

Butterflies churned his stomach.  They sent a small jolt of adrenaline into his brain.  “Wouldn’t you know it, Dotty?  I just found her stuck in the rosebush.  Good thing, too, it’s awfully chilly tonight.”

Her mouth hung open in shock.  With outstretched arms, she pleaded with her husband.  “Give her here!  My sweet darling, let grandma warm you up.”

Her loving embrace nestled the creature into her bosom.  She rubbed her face against its frozen hide.  “Oh my!  You’re like an ice—“

Her words cut short.  Unknowingly, her thin cheeks pet against the grain.  Instantaneous blood gushed from the corner of her mouth.  Shocked, she dropped the stuffed animal.

A quill retracted from her face.  The porcupine flopped to the floor, shattering its clay skeleton.

Screams gurgled from her mouth.  In an instant, Manny appeared in the room.  He tilted her head forward to drain the pooling blood from her windpipe. 

Mr. Bingsley could feel Manny’s fury.  It didn’t take much imagination to assess the situation.  But he didn’t care.  A nostalgic sensation tightened his waistband, a thrill long lost to the decay of old age.

 

****

 

The old man stood outside Manny’s bedroom door. 

After the porcupine incident, the butler put in a two weeks’ notice.  He’d also taken the liberty to alert the couple’s children.  Their daughter would arrive next Tuesday.

Mr. Bingsley twisted the skeleton key into the lock.  The door opened.

Manny didn’t stir.  The tranquilizer in his dinner seemed to be working.

The old man entered; the casters of an IV pole squeaked behind him.  He rested it next to the bed.  His bony hands flipped over the sleeping man’s arm and tied an elastic band around it.  The restricted blood flow swelled Manny’s veins.

He stuck a flashlight between his teeth, using the light to probe a needle into the exposed arm.  After several attempts, it found a vein.

Manny stirred, groggy.  His eyelids fluttered open.  “Mr…Mr. Bings…wh-what’s happening?”

His employer didn’t answer.  Instead, he turned a valve on the IV pole.  Formaldehyde trickled down the hose.

Manny began convulsing.  The old man stabilized his arm, he didn’t want the needle to pull out.

After several minutes, the spasms slowed. 

Mr. Bingsley watched his butler die; however, the butterflies couldn’t overshadow a moment of clarity.  Manny…I’m sorry.  You-you did this to yourself.  Just mind your own damn business, for Christ sake!

He shook his head while shuffling to the other side of the bed.  Another needle poked into Manny, this one connected to an open ended hose.  Through it, Manny’s bloody cocktail drained onto the floor.

The old man replaced the IV bag and left the room.  The transfusion would take several hours.

 

****

 

Liza waited for her baggage on the carousel.  Dozens of people crowded around her, all shoving closer to the conveyor belt. 

She hated these flights home.  The stress of travel didn’t help, but, mostly, she hated wasting her precious vacation days.

Her parents were the epitome of stability.  No matter how often she visited, their boring routine never changed.  Frankly, she didn’t see the point of frequent trips.  A phone call sufficed just fine.

Though her mother received an injury, Manny got her to the ER without incident.  But, for some reason, he asked for Liza’s help.  Apparently, the issue couldn’t be fixed remotely.

Her brother’s flight didn’t arrive until tomorrow.  Good thing, too, Danny didn’t do well with stress.  It would give Liza some time to assess the situation.

Finally, her pink suitcase scrolled by.  With a sigh, she drug it off and typed a text message.  ‘Just landed.  See you tomorrow.’

With that, she hailed a cab and left the airport.

 

****

 

Danny dialed his sister’s phone number one last time. 

It went to voicemail.  “Hey, Lizzy, I just got to Mom and Dad’s.  Are you even home?  Let me know…I’m worried.”

A heavily accented voice came from his cab.  “Did you not reach her?”

Danny shrugged.  “Eh, I’ve got a key.  I’ll be alright.”

“Okay.  That will be $27.40.”

He handed the man a fifty dollar bill.  “Keep the change.”

With a wave, his driver sped off.

Danny punched a code in the cast iron gate.  Its well-oiled tracks glided open.  He walked in, dragging his suitcase up the long driveway.

 

****

 

“I’m home!”

Danny shook off his loafers by the door.  “You guys here?”

Nobody responded. 

Instead, the sound of swirling fans emanated from the sun-room.  Danny scrunched his nose; he’d forgotten how bad old people smelled.

His bare feet slapped against the wood floor as he crossed the foyer.  A growling stomach reminded him of the seven hour trip.

Entering the kitchen, he found the fridge.  Inside, only a lonely jar of cottage cheese remained. 

His stomach growled.  The fans continued to swirl.

He began to raid the pantry.  Nothing but cans of tuna-flavored cat food stocked the shelves.

Exasperated, he began to look up the number for Mr. Cho’s takeout.  But, before his fingers could dial, a whimper came from the other room.

“Lizzy?  You home?  Hey, we need to fire Manny.  This place is shit.”

He followed the sound.  The fans grew louder.

Rounding a corner, his mother’s empty power-chair sat at the end of the hall.  Danny walked closer.

Strange leather straps affixed to the armrests, their loops, much too large for her tiny wrists.  A reddish white slurry stained the seat.

Danny couldn’t comprehend it.  Instead, he continued on.

Approaching the sun-room, he caught a glimpse of his sister sitting in the corner.

Anger boiled inside him.  “What the fuck, Lizzy!  Why didn’t you—“

He stopped mid-sentence.  Something wasn’t right.  Liza hugged her knees, rocking back and forth.  Her face appeared blank, emotionless.  Tiny hiccups escaped her lips.

Perplexed, Danny walked inside.

A wall of rotten air struck him; the fans couldn’t keep up.  Turning his head, he greeted the source of the putrid odor, a mountain of black trash bags stacked in the corner.  From the bay windows, bright sunlight illuminated hundreds of buzzing flies.

His throat convulsed.  A gagging fit brought him to his knees, but an empty stomach couldn’t produce any vomit.

Teary eyed, he looked up.  Suddenly, his sister’s catatonic state made sense.

A clay mannequin stared at him.  It sat atop a wooden chair.  Yellow glue crusted its features.

Slumped onto its shoulder, a dimpled face smiled brightly, his mother’s face.

Her hollowed skin draped across the humanoid doll—his mother, a skin blanket.

An old man sat at her feet.  His head rested on the doll’s knee.  One bony hand clutched an empty skin glove, its flat fingers intertwined his; the other hand gripped a pair of scissors.

The old man didn’t move.  A vertical slit in his abdomen prevented it.  From the slit, a string of reddish sausages poured out.  He’d removed his own intestines.

His children couldn’t cope.  They lost their minds. 

And the world continued on.


© Copyright 2018 TomDelay1252. All rights reserved.

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