Friday, 8 March 2013

The caretaker

The Caretaker

Limbo  Is not as devoid and desolate as it may sound. It was once said that all roads lead to Rome...well all dimensional rifts lead to limbo...eventually. Limbo sits at the nexus of all of the multi-verse. Rifts open up every now and again and deposit the contents from some random universe into the nothingness of limbo. This is how the caretaker came to be there. He does not remember how he came to be there (and that is a different tale for another time). Time does funny things inside limbo and it affects his memories but he does remember the sensation of falling and a blinding light. The caretaker (or that’s what he calls himself his old name is a mystery to him) keeps limbo tidy not too difficult when you remember that it’s basically an infinite white nothingness.  However now and again objects large and small fall through rifts and into the white wilderness of limbo.
 Like the house. The house was old. Not so old as to be falling apart but it had the feel of an older building iron radiators lower door frames and a kitchen that wouldn’t be out of place in a quaint cottage. Cast iron stove with a pile of logs waiting to be used to boil the kettle or cook some food. The old wooden staircase creaked as he moved on it. The Living room stacked from floor to ceiling with knickknacks, statues and allsorts that the caretaker had found liked and brought home (he was kind of like a magpie except he picked up most crap even if it wasn’t shiny) He sat in it now, one gnarly fur covered hand caressing an old picture frame, strange he hadn’t touched it in years (or was that days?) He vaguely remembers when he first found the house and the picture.
 Years ago (or was it months he was not sure) He had been wandering the great white. That day had been quite eventful he had found a strange machine with wings like a bird. It had come through one of the rifts its pilot a female human had died either on impact or more likely due to the shock of passing through the rift. Humans were fragile like that he thought they seemed to brake easily. Where was he…? Oh yes the day he found the house. He felt like he had been walking for a very long time (or not at all) after the strange craft when he saw it on the horizon a huge rift opened. Bigger than any he had seen before, and out it came sliding almost gently onto the ground.
  The caretaker had just stared at it wondering how something as solid as a house had fallen through a rift. The outside appeared to be undamaged from its journey. The square windows with their white painted frames were all intact as was its moss green front door with a silver character unknown to him, it gave the impression that the building had a sad face and a green mouth with one silver tooth. He approached it cautiously. Examining the door he saw that it was ajar slightly. Mustering his courage he pushed it gently and it swung slowly backwards. The hallway was deserted however. All the pictures had fallen to the floor and were lying there coated in a film of plaster dust. A wooden hat stand was smashed across the stairs coats spilled on to the floor like black and green pools of water. “hello?” he called out not knowing if he would receive an answer. None was forthcoming. Un-shouldering his pack he placed it gently on the floor next to the front door. Walking towards the first open door he heard a crunching sound. Looking down he had trodden on a picture he bent down and picked it up. Shaking off the loose glass he studied the picture. Two small human boys grinned back at him they were either side of a table and appeared to be drawing or writing. He sighed and placed it carefully on the floor leaning against the wall. He made his way into the first room.
 The devastation in here was much worse, most of the furnishings were broken and there was glass everywhere. Some of the things looked salvageable but he wanted to explore further before he started poking through the debris. He headed back out into the hallway and started towards the next open door. This turned out to be the kitchen, In here was not so bad as the other room many of the cupboards had spilled their contents all over the floor but nothing looked too badly damaged. He bent down and looked at some of the cylindrical objects that were scattered around…one had a picture of tomatoes on another a picture of a fish. There were words printed on them but he could not read the strange language. Taking a small knife from his tunic pocket he stabbed into the can with the picture of a fish on. Juice shot out it smelled salty continuing to work the knife up and down he managed to saw the top off the can glistening fish flakes were in there covered in what remained of the salt water. He gingerly popped a small chunk in his mouth. It tasted really salty but not un pleasant he smiled as he sat down and finished the rest. After he finished, he looked round the rest of the room.
 The room was painted yellow here and there on the walls there were drawings, obviously done by a child some were quite good others were hastily drawn and were more scribbles than anything else. He moved around the room looking in the cupboards and draws for anything that could be of use. In one draw he found many eating implements as well as lots of different size screws and nails, putting them in his pack he decided to explore upstairs. Heading out into the hallway he climbed the stairs which creaked loudly in protest. At the top there were three doors the one opposite him he recognised as the bathroom its large white tub and tiled walls, however he was at a loss as to why there was a white chair with a hole in the people that lived here must have been uncomfortable sitting on that he imagined. He nosed around looking at the sponges and the soaps, opened up the small cabinet on the wall which was filled with many different bottles all brown in colour with white labels in that writing he could not understand.
Closing the cabinet he moved onto the next room, this room was decorated more than any of the other rooms it had blue walls and frilly curtains hung at the window. More picture frames lay on the floor…except for one it was of a human boy it hung on the wall opposite the bed, He stared at it, it was one of the boys from the picture downstairs, his green eyes stared out from under a mop of brown hair he was smiling in the picture and next to his mouth there was a little red mark like he had cut his face or picked a spot. This must be the boy’s home he thought so this would be the room of his parents. As he moved round the room he felt like he was being watched he kept turning round to look at the picture of the boy his eyes seemed to follow him round the room.
 He sighed and turned the picture around to face the wall, even so he still felt the eyes on him while he looked through the wardrobes. No good in there clothes made for humans wouldn’t fit him well but maybe he could fashion himself something out of several items. In the corner of the room was a large mirror he strolled over to it. His reflection stared back at him, his grey woollen tunic did indeed look as though it had seen better days as did the head band that tied back his long blue grey ears. He twitched his whiskers and the reflection did the same he smiled showing of his white teeth and four large incisors, he winked one of his large brown eyes he still got it all right…shame that none of his race were here to appreciate it, especially the females. He scooped up some likely looking fabrics and threw them on the bed, he would come back to them later he decided. Leaving the room he turned int the last of the rooms, this must have been the Childs room the walls were adorned with pictures of a strange machine that was blue and had a smiling grey face, the same motif was on the bed cloths that were on the small bed in the centre of the room. There was a large yellow box at the end of the bed full of toys and a small bookshelf on the wall which held a few slim books and some larger thicker ones.
There was a picture on the bedside table, picking it up there the boy was in the middle green eyes shining a big grin on his face wearing a t-shirt with the grey faced machine on. Either side of him were two adult humans probably his parents. The female had dark curly hair and wore large glasses she was dressed in a dark top and jeans she was holding a small sapling. The man appeared to be losing his hair which gave him the look of someone trying to grow a Mohawk without having to shave the sides; he was dressed in a green jumper and was holding a spade in one hand. He replaced the picture where he had found it and began to make his way back to the other room.
The building shook violently snapping him out of his reprieve, a rift was opening close to the house, a big one by the feel of it. The caretaker put down the picture frame and strode out into the hallway, new paintings adorned the walls now and the repaired coat stand stood next to the door, another big shockwave rocked the house and it fell onto the floor. He picked it up and removed his coat a long brown duster that he had found on another poor unfortunate who fell through a rift. Who or what would today bring he wondered. He sprang out the front door and looked up the black grey crack in the sky had appeared which heralded the rift opening, strange they had not opened up by here since the house arrived years ago (or months you never could tell). The noise began a loud thrumming noise which set his teeth on edge, the electricity swirled round the building vortex striking the ground by the house. It seemed to him at that moment that it was like fingers reaching out trying to find a purchase. Suddenly the centre of the vortex turned a deep purple and something came tumbling out it hit the ground and rolled. He ran over to it. It was a body he sighed and rolled it over. It was a body all right a human male blood had soaked through his clothes and one side of his face had a huge gash from his temple to his jaw. The caretaker was used to bodies they turned up a lot more recently, This one was different though….this one was breathing.

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