Short fiction

Works of fiction by Ignatius

The Shower (Black Mold part 2)

I feel faint. I open the cupboard for a glass, intending to drink, but the glasses are covered in a thick dust. That isn't a problem though. I already left some dish soap by the kitchen sink, I'll just clean one or two glasses. I put the stopper into the sink and turn the knob to start the water. I hear bangs and tapping from below, a small wail comes out of the nozzle, but no water.

The pipes band and complain. The sound creeps up and down the metal inside the walls, as if calling roll for each of this house's dreary rooms. I hear the sound moving closer and closer. The sound is enough to bring a temporary drowsiness, almost a hypnosis. I am lulled into a semi-conscious state until the tap finally explodes to life. The water comes out lukewarm and brown. The rust and sediment of years of neglect finally find release. They are carried from the copper pipes and out into the basin.

This water is unusable. There is more brown than there is clear. I pull the stopper and try to let the water flow for a few minutes. The banging below takes the rhythm of some ancient church calling some unknown inhabitants to a long-forgotten prayer service while the brown water slowly grows darker. This is not water anymore, there is more sediment to it than there is liquid. This is mud, and it keeps getting thicker.

The basin is filling too quickly and I'm scared that it will soon overflow. Not only will I have disgusting water, I'll be unable to clean it up. I turn the knob but the flow only grows thicker. The fluid is now viscous, denser than oil and growing darker. It was clear, then it was brown, now it is almost black. I can see the darkness through the murkiness pooling at the bottom of the sink. It is a growing blob and I don't know how to stop it.

As the water finally clears the basin and starts to overflow, I remember the emergency shut-off valve beneath the sink. I open the cabinet as the colored… fluid… comes over the side. I try to avoid getting the rest of me wet, but I fail. My hand passes into the waterfall and I'm bathed in the ricochet, but I finally stop the faucet. The entire area around the sink now smells of rot and rusted metal. The basin is stopped with sediment and slop and I went from needing a drink to needing a bath.

I want to change. I need to change I need to get away from the kitchen. The noxious smell is almost unbearable, but it will just be worse later, so before I try washing with Brillo, I start looking for a way to clean the room. I have a bucket under the sink. That will be enough to bail, but I need a place to get rid of it.

I can't throw it outside. The back door feels stuck, and the kitchen window is behind the sink. I don't want to carry this stink through the house to the front door, but maybe if I spread out the sediment it can make it down the toilet. Toilets are built for that type of thing anyway.

It's strange. The bathroom water works fine. The toilet flushes the bad water and the sink provides water that is cold and clear. The shower rattles a bit, but it also seems to be working. At least when I finish bailing I'll be able to get myself clean.

Emptying the basin doesn't take long. A few trips across the room and the clogged sink is flowing slowly again. There is still plenty of sediment in there, but I'll need to rinse that out slowly. I certainly won't risk using the faucet again. I grab a towel and sop up the remainder of the waste from the floor and the sink. I can't do anything about the smell, but at least the kitchen will have a chance to air out.

I throw the towel in the garbage, There is no way I'll ever use that one again.

I start the water and undress. I wait until the bathroom is filled with steam before stepping into the clear, refreshing fountain. The warms feels good against my skin as I close my eyes, trying to focus solely on cleaning myself after the ordeal. I realize that I never did get that drink earlier and I open my mouth, only to find the strong taste of copper. My eyelids fly open, I see red, and scream.

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