Monday, October 12, 2009

The Nonsense Room (Part 2)

SHORT STORY MONDAY

Picking up where we left off, the home Greg and Leslie Moore found in Stillwater MN was an enormous handyman's special with an appealing price and a strange history. "People get deranged in that house," the grocer told Leslie at Thanksgiving. "The place either finds 'em cracked or leaves 'em that way." When they moved an old refrigerator in the spring, they found a door.


The Nonsense Room
Part 2

"Where do you think it goes?" Greg said.

Leslie reminded him of the rumors that circulated in town regarding the house.

Using a hammer and chisel, Greg mangled the hasp. As he turned the knob the motor kicked in on the fridge, giving them both a fright.

The room was little bigger than a closet, no more than four feet deep and perhaps six feet wide, the walls and ceiling completely overspread with pictographs, calligraphy, scribbles and assorted mystical inscriptions seemingly as countless as the stars.

"It gives me the creeps," Leslie said.

Greg found the writing on the walls intriguing, but he didn't say anything. After Leslie had gone to bed that night, Greg found a lantern that he could set on the floor to study the closet room in more detail.

For a long time he simply stood scanning, taking in the big picture, much as a man might take in the immensity of a night sky upon his first experience of it away from the bright lights of the city. His first impression, which he suppressed - reasoning that it was impossible - was that it was infinite, that the closet scribblings simply had no beginning and no end.

Even his initial cursory study of the closet's walls instilled in Greg a sense that there were relationships amongst the clusters of words and images. He was reminded of the early cave men who studied the celestial heavens, noting and naming its constellations. Sections of the closet seemed to contain whole galaxies of graffiti.

What first caught his attention and attracted him to the room's details was a tiny pyramid on the far wall opposite the door at the top of which was drawn, with a fair amount of exactitude, an eye with lines radiating out from it. Above the eye, in a medieval German script, were the words, En Sof. Greg was on his knees inside the closet studying the detail in the pupil of the eye. Upon closer inspection, he observed that the spokes which shot out from the eye were in actuality lines of fine print, much of it readable, though some too minute or too poorly scrawled to decipher.

With both apprehension and wonder he became absorbed with reading bits and pieces of text, some of it hinting toward meanings, albeit obscure ones at best, but most of it elusive and cryptic. Thus he read, "an esoteric religiosity of the Unconscious"and "Powers, the abyss, Numen and Tremendum" and "This is the God that the sense of the sacred feeds upon" and "This same God is often shown in an opposite way" and "Infatuated with the awesome and the fascinating" and "in speaking of Him we celebrate our ignorance."

There were also Latin and Hebrew texts, hieroglyphic symbols, and codified images which appeared to have some sort of ceremonial significance.

What happened after that began to disturb him. It was the pyramid with the eye and the inscription En Sof which first captivated him, and he returned to his knees in order to find it, but could not, and it frustrated him. It had been a small icon for sure, but not so small as to be impossible to locate again, and he began systematically examining the region of the closet where he had first observed it, to no avail, and it set his nerves on edge so that the night's sleep which followed proved fitful and unsatisfying.

Before leaving for the bank the next morning (he worked as an auditor there) Greg resisted a strong urge to return to the closet room for "one more little peek." This did not relieve him of its influence, however, as he spent much of his day distracted by the effects he experienced in the closet the night before.

"Honey, I'm home," he shouted that evening upon coming in the door. Hearing no greeting in reply he tensed up and walked hastily to the kitchen. "Leslie?" he called again. He hurried to the closet room and was opening it just as his wife entered the kitchen from the yard.

"Is something wrong?" she said.

"I, well, you didn't answer when I came in. I just-"

"What would I be doing in that stupid old closet?" She recognized by the uneasy fear that revealed itself in his face that the closet had made an impression upon him as something dangerous, something to be reckoned with. This realization made her uncomfortable.

All through supper he was absent from her, waiting to be finished with the task of eating. What he found dreadful was the role-playing, pretending nonchalance about both what had happened and about his plans for the evening. When the dishes were washed he proceeded to the closet room. She said nothing to dissuade him.

He set about directly to locate the original Eye with the words En Sof above but his determination was only half hearted. Instead, playing explorer-philosopher Greg began reading again the varied and unusual collage of inscriptions, at first casually, and then with a growing desire to comprehend. Unfortunately, the sentences fluctuated between legibility and illegibility, leaving him with only partial meanings and suggested texts. Nothing was complete, nothing wholly cohesive.

CONTINUED

2 comments:

Christella said...

The suspense is building and the hook is in. I think I would move, rather than stay in this house.

ENNYMAN said...

Well, we'll see what happens...