Theory of Disintigration

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The slow falling-apart of the Lara family.

Submitted: September 08, 2012

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Submitted: September 08, 2012

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The house, in my head, was reduced to a single room. A large bed laden with expensive quilts and covers dominated the floor along with a genuine Persian rug where the aged rocker stood, upon which I sat many a night listening to her feeble breathing. A stack of books, ranging from wildlife studies to cryptic manuals on spirit persuasion, towered from the coffee table immediately to the right of the creaking chair. This faux sculpture of assorted literature, though it blocked my view of Griselda, made the nights I spent in that room bearable. Like I had said earlier, the house was but a room in my mind´s eye for the countless hours I wasted with her kept me from further investigating the enormous, Gothic estate. Griselda had given me two keys: for the front gate and the door the cobblestone path led me to. From outside, the building was in a state of disrepair. Neglected by its owners, Griselda’s home slowly rotted in a fashion startlingly similar to the fall of her clan. The Lara family estate generated money from the forest in its heyday. From it grew nuts of every sort, which were harvested seasonally by the locals. As you can imagine, the forest behind the Lara Estate made the family the barons they used to be. A fire erupted in the barn, burning William Lara’s son, several prized horses, and farmhand alive. Also, a diseased oak tree, struck by the very lightning that ignited the barn blaze, fell through the son’s respective room’s roof.

“ ‘The horses! Griselda, the horses! ‘ ” Griselda said to me on the rare days she had the strength to speak, “Mother had shrieked that very phrase while the livestock died inside the barn,” she mumbled with disdain, “ ‘Robert´s in there with the men! Oh God, Griselda!’ She sprinted to the barn with her bloomers flapping from her dress like a panicked hen. I remember sitting in this very bed with Dr. Rictofen looking over the sores on my chest. Mother never believed me when I told her the doctor would clamp my breasts with his sweaty hands during the check-ups. ‘It’s a procedure, my dear. You don’t understand the doctor because he’s from Germany and they do things differently. I told her something about blowing up cruise ships. She slapped me. Hard, too. Do you think she was having an affair with the German?”

To that question I could only shrug.

 

Griselda came down with her sickness in 1915 during the First World War and tensions against the Germans were higher in the East than the West notably here in Colorado where anti-German sentiment was low. Around that time, the doctor had moved his practice to these parts. Griselda and I were just friends back then. The joyful nights we shared atop the barn’s loft, sneaking into the servicemen’s quarters and stealing a draft of alcohol from them, finding Grandpa Lara, face down in the dirt with a chunk of his head caved in by a horse-shoed hoof. Gregory Lara’s favorite room, the study, fell victim to another mishap: a flood. The water eroded the room’s foundation which later came apart when wood gave away under it. The room was demolished for another project but the servicemen deemed the ground unsteady and any structure built upon it would be unstable.

 

I found an emotionally-weakened Griselda easier to conquer. I had been her first boyfriend; she wasn’t a virgin. Dr. Rickofen left the household for good after the incident with Bill Lara, Griselda’s father.  From what the investigators had gleamed, he slipped on the wet floor while shaving and landed on the razor he used to shave himself with. Bill’s “habitat” would easily be the upstairs study. Termites compromised the structure causing the floor to fall in, effectively killing Griselda’s younger brother with a splintered beam in his bedroom.

 

By the war’s end, the only living Lara members couldn’t manage the large company, which was chiefly run by the men. The family sunk into a depression likewise with the one the U.S. was undergoing. The last Lara male met his end at the hands of his servicemen. The angry unpaid workers set Thomas Henry Lara’s cottage aflame after he, the chief-shareholder, sold the company and the forest behind the Lara mansion.

 

The forest, then named the Lara forest, had also been home to the aforementioned party. They were promptly evicted by the new land owners, who in turn lost the land due to the tough economical times. Later renamed by the locals as the Pit, the forest continued to grow as it stayed undisturbed for several years. The mansion’s dark history seemed to end when the forest broke past the main gate and engulfed the house in what may have been the slowest battle I’ve ever witnessed.

 

The Lara clan only consisted of Griselda and her twin sisters (both having already moved upstate). I always insisted any notions of setting up in the place for the superstitions the locals bestowed upon the mansion regarding its history with male inhabitants. Money to support the women came from hidden caches distributed in every room belonging to a male as a sort of last-ditch effort to keep them afloat. Grandpa Lara’s hid a wooden chest with a Romanesque cross adorned in jewels; Bill Lara had also kept a chest underneath the wooden planks, inside it, an assortment of similar value. Other artifacts and valuables had been unearthed in the barn and Robert’s closet along with a red Ku Klux Klan robe. Affiliation with the Klan only went as deep as Robert, the most wayward Lara. The two other boys, Donald and Thomas, had jars with the perfectly-preserved heads of several known criminals with high bounties.

 

Griselda stirred in her bed. I left the latest book, North American Tribes and their Rituals, on the newest stack. Griselda lay staring at the ceiling as if there were moving pictures projected on it.

I shook her from her daze, “Gris. Is anything wrong?”

She mouthed: restroom, please.

I hooked my arms around my feeble, barren wife’s legs and back, then gently placed her frail frame on her wheelchair. Her head lolled on her shoulders as I pushed her forward. We couldn’t have children because of her body’s disability; I haven’t enjoyed a day with her since the sickness hit her legs; I’ve had to care for every facility she needed.

 

The woman I married donned strong, red hair. This skeletal being wore blonde hair of a jaded quality, like dried ear of corn. My Griselda had sizeable breasts; this Griselda had a boy’s pectorals. No more were the nights we spent trying foolishly to unravel the universe’s mysteries and instead unraveling our clothing. Gone were the times she hid in the forest during the foggy mornings. The ground lost to those misplaced clouds, transforming the area something more than just a forest. Now, the red-headed adventurer/philosophizer with extraordinary ideas had gnarled and shrunk like only corpse can. The intruding plants encasing the mansion kept sunlight out in a fashion most disturbing; I could aptly compare it to being inside some horrible abomination’s clutches. This once-peaceful estate had been home to a wealthy, industrious family. They had supplied the ghost town roughly 10 miles away with a means for survival by opening the forest for harvest. Maybe the forest had decided to harvest the people that exploited it. The countless pets that had been reported chasing a rabbit or such into the dark place and never returning, the children said to have “gone for a second” but never recovered could all be accredited to townsfolk’s fables of witches, druids, feral beasts, and the regular Boogeyman. I see coincidence where they see patterns; I see simple cause-and-effect where they see karma.

 

I pushed Griselda to the restroom while she sat idly in her wheelchair. On the hallway walls, there had been portraits hung as epitaphs for the deceased members. Gregory Lara: 1852-1920; Heather Elisabeth Lara: 1853-1900. Further down, I found my parents-in-law: William Kyle Lara: 1880-1920; Beatriz Regina Lara: 1882-1936. Bill had been posing in his work clothes when they first harvested from the forest. A photographer from upstate decided to cover the story, naming it: Rural Town Surviving Thanks to Local Forest. The idea had been turned down by the chief editor so the amiable photographer gave the picture to Bill. Beatriz, Gregory, and Heather, though, had a painter come to the house for their portraits when the money allowed such squandering. Those paintings’ eyes never “followed” me as most paintings usually do; these stare blankly ahead like Griselda. From eldest to youngest: Robert John Lara, Griselda Lara, Felicity Beatriz Lara, Denise Heather Lara, Donald Gregory Lara, and Thomas Henry Lara born on 1900-1920, 1900-, 1901-, 1901-, 1909-1920, 1909-1920, respectively. Robert’s portrait was really a small black-and-white frame bloated into a 3’ by 4’ frame by the same person who’d done the previous paintings. It showed Rob carrying a shovel on his shoulders with his arms draped over the ends. With his skinny frame and the morose feeling the portrait emitted, he resembled some sort of living scarecrow. The twins shared the next equally sized painting clad in bulky dresses too big for their 16 year old bodies. They also shared a face of obvious annoyance. Griselda’s didn’t do her any justice as no painter can replicate the beauty she permitted only to me. It perhaps showed a glimpse of how gorgeous she truly is. Or was. Donald stood scenically by an acorn tree for his rendering. The boy had always been thick but not fat as the painter had portrayed him. I placed him at about 10 in this one. Lastly, a colorful painting depicted Thomas atop one of the prized horses as he usually spent his days. The hall demanded one should turn so I obliged, naturally. After passing the sightless eyes and around that peculiar, undecorated corner, we had arrived. I set Griselda down on the toilet and gave her privacy so she could do her necessities. This end of the corridor, illuminated only by a feeble light bulb, seemed to end immediately where the light ends, as if nothing exists past that point. I recovered Griselda from inside and placed her back in the wheelchair. We continued back down to her room. On the way to it, there’s a staircase that leads to the 2nd floor then finally the ground level. It was here where I sent her down the two flights of stairs. She tumbled head over heels for a sick amount of time. The handrail caught the wheelchair halfway down, ejecting her. After losing momentum, Griselda finally came to a full stop at the flat before the next descend. To this day, I regret not doing it sooner.


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