Chapter 2 - The Doom Of The Hollow - Mr Noodle
The bedroom was as dark as the music. Beautiful, yet intense, voices meandered around the shadowed walls. The soprano’s pitch chilled the spine of the man sat on the cushioned wooden chair and stirred his emotions before fading away into silence. The dull moon stretched through the open window. It caused the furniture and the ornaments to be glazed in silver light and cast long drawn shadows that flickered as the thin branches of the tree outside gently swayed in the soft breeze. The candles on the dressing tables had burned to nothing, yet their aroma of smoke and vanilla drifted into every recess in the room and across every exposed pore of the man's skin. The choral music continued.
A figure lay in the bed. Its features were almost hidden by the darkness. It lay motionless, silent. Its eyes almost sunken, its transparent hair thin and brittle. A crescendo of voices raised in the air once more as the man sitting beside the bed held the hand of the seemingly lifeless figure. He stroked the almost leather like texture of the skin. Its blotched brown pigment melted into the long colourless nails at the end of every finger. He continued caressing the hand while staring out of the clear window and into the night sky. A tear rolled down his cheek as the voices grew further into a wall of sound, but within seconds the voices had gone leaving behind an echo of massive reverb. The figure groaned. A deep almost monotone groan that was brought out of natural reaction more than wilful life. The man gently placed the figure’s frail hand onto the bed and stood up. He leaned over the thin, gaunt figure lying helplessly beneath a thin white sheet and kissed its forehead.
"Of course." He whispered, and walked towards the stereo system in the opposite corner of the room. He reached out his hand and pressed the 'play' button. The voices began once more but in soft, dulcet tones. The man returned to his seat and held the figure's hand once more and waited for the voices to smother him. His thumb gently rubbed the back of the figure's hand. Its skin folded over with the gentle pressure taking several seconds to fall back. A soft moaning entered the air as the figure in the bed attempted to move. The man leaned over the worn face, his ear close to the lipless mouth. The figure continued to murmur incoherent mumblings, its warm breath dampening the man's lobe. He frowned as he tried to listen intently in an attempt to make sense of the utterances but its speech was a string of senseless monosyllabic tones.
The man leaned back and stroked the balding scalp. The head was oily and unwashed. He took a tissue from his trouser pocket and wiped the soft material across the figure’s head. Hair started to come away in his hand so he folded the tissue over and brushed the cotton across the figure's sunken cheeks. The music rose in volume and washed over him causing his throat to stiffen and his tear ducts to swell. He winced as he brought the tissue to his nose. Its smell was coarse like rotten meat, the cotton stained brown through sweat and grease. He stood up once more and placed the tissue in his pocket. The music continued as he approached the window and looked into the night sky.
Forty-five minutes had passed before the man left the room. The sound of the brooding music and the feeble groaning of the figure followed him as he slowly walked down the stairs. The bottom step opened into a short hallway where the man saw his wife standing at the open front door. She looked out into the street before turning back and shouting up the stairs, “Sasha, there are no monsters out here, now turn your light out and go to sleep.” She closed the door and looked at her husband. His eyes looked sorrowful and they walked towards each other. The soft voices continued but their melody was dulled by the distance. They embraced until the music finally stopped. The man sighed and left the grace of his wife's arms. He walked into the front room and watched the real fire burn. He was consumed by his thoughts whilst he stared at the dancing flames. His wife followed him and rubbed his upper right arm. "Robert?" she asked.
He slowly turned and looked at her. His eyes were glazed, distant. "It's the beginning of the end," he said looking back at the fire.