Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Featured Creature: A Room at the Alta Viso

Rocco waited until the last car had passed before he slid under the plastic tarp and into the building.  The sun was almost set and in the long shadows he was sure no one could see him.  He moved quietly through the dust and darkening rooms.  On cold nights, the Alta Viso building was his secret spot, at least for now. 

The second night he'd slept here, Rocco overheard two contractors discussing the pending renovation of the Alta Viso.  The old business plaza had approval pending as an historical landmark.  This meant that any renovations were on hold until the approval passed. From the way the contractors had talked, it sounded like the process would take months.  Rocco had slept here every night since.

As he snuck through the lobby and past the scaffolding he noticed the doorway to the basement hung ajar.  The fetid odor of rot and sewage drifted up through the open door.  No renovations there yet, he thought.  He rushed up the stairs.

Rocco never slept in basements.  He'd slept in one only once with his buddy, Frank.  They'd woken in the middle of the night covered in a swarm of rats.  They were both bitten repeatedly and Frank later lost his left eye to an infection.

Rocco thought he'd be kicked out of the Alta Viso when a security guard showed up one night.  The guard, Jenkins, let him stay as long as he was the only one sleeping in the building.  Rocco had promised and Jenkins did not bother him after, asking only that he left at sunrise.  Jenkins was a good guy.  From time to time, he would check on Rocco and occasionally bring him a sandwich or a beer or a blanket.  Rocco always left the room as clean as he'd found it.

As Rocco reached his room on the second floor he noticed that the stench from the basement was here too.  He looked around for a dead coon or dog, but found nothing.  He noticed a slick wet spot near the door.  It reeked with the same smell of death.  Smeared through it was a shoe print.  Just then a gurgling noise came from the darkness at the far end of the room.

"Jenkins?  Is that you?"  There was a long silence.  The last rays of the sunset danced between the buildings and suffused the room with fading golden light.  Rocco could just make out the shape of a man slumped in a corner at the far end of the room.  At the sound of his voice it shifted and stood.  As the figure moved towards him, the wet gurgling sound came again followed by a fainting hissing.


What had once been Jenkins shambled into the light.  It walked as if each step were painful, its arms curled against itself.  Half of the face and most of its left arm were covered in boils that each terminated in a shining red eye.  The skin of the thing seemed to shift as Rocco watched.  It gurgled again and a bubble of vomit splatted wetly on the floor.  It hissed repeatedly as it moved towards Rocco.

"Whiii...ssee...Whii...ssee..."  It opened its mouth wide and raised its enfeebled arms towards Rocco as if to hug him.

Rocco recoiled.  He ran, down the hall, down the stairs, out.  He ran until his vision blurred with tears.  He ran until he could not breathe.  He ran until he could not remember the wheezing dripping thing in the shadowed rooms of the Alta Viso.

{8x5.33,  created in Adobe Photoshop}

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