Oct
02
2019
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The House, Part 21/x.

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

There is a saying among occultists: as above, so below.  I respect the saying, if not those who said it, for I have always looked for the patterns that must exist under the surface of random, mundane life.  Now that I found myself pulled into whatever vortex was embedded here in the house, I could start to see the hints of an underlying, colossal order that always seemed to elude me before.  I dared not look too close, for I instinctively knew that my brain would splatter inside my skull if I was not infinitely careful. But even a wavy reflection of the awful truths out there promised great revelations.

As above, so below.  My dreams grew heavy with symbolism and a certain hunger for knowledge; and that hunger began to direct my waking moments.  I knew from the start that this was something that had been imposed upon me, for I was never a man to wonder too closely about the lives of his fellows; but just as my night-jaws chewed on cord after cord, my waking hours were spent seeking out my neighbors, and teasing out details about them and their lives.  Something inside of me was looking for something, and while it seemed to know what it needed it could not quite grasp what it was looking for.

Fortunately, I had a brain and will, and soon I worked out for both of us what we needed.  The children. We needed to make use of the children.

Oct
01
2019
1

The House, Part 20/x

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

The narrative of the dreams stayed stable, even repetitive at first, but as the nights began to grow longer the details began to change.  A few nights after I started bringing the mice into the house my dream-self noticed that the cords binding the owl seemed somehow less tangled than before.  They were still handily immobilizing the great bird, but they began to shift from the wings and the neck to the legs and claws.  

The bird began to look more alert, too, although never violent or even very threatening.  It would watch my mouse-self with those steady, unblinking eyes seen in nature shows. As if it were waiting for me to come within range of its sharp-looking beak.  And I would come closer! Every night, my mouse-self would drift a bit nearer to the owl. And the owl would continue to watch. To bide.

As I said: I did not have the owl dream for several nights after Wayne mentioned it at dinner.  But when at last I did have the dream, I could see that the details had shifted again. This time it started with my mouse-self well within striking distance by the owl, which by now was restrained only by a few cords about its claws.  I could see those cords; I could even smell them. And i could only begin to imagine the taste of them.

Which left me no choice, I thought; so that night I started, ever so carefully, to gnaw at them.

Sep
30
2019
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The House, Part 19/x

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

I did not have the owl dream again for several nights. Perhaps I was fighting it, in my head. Contrary of me, but I often am that. It suits me well.

The dream always started the same way: in it, I am a mouse.  When awake, I recognize that the dream had put me in some sort of barn; but in the dream itself it is just a vast dark and chilly space above me, full of giant, misshapen things that smell of men and danger.  I scurry through the straw and between cracks in the walls, because I am looking for something. For the first dreams, I did not know what I was looking for.

In later dreams, I finally found what I was searching for: it was a bird.  An owl, in case you had somehow not guessed. But it did not smell of danger to me, because even as a mouse I could see that it was tangled and bound up in rawhide cords that kept it from flying or moving.  The floor suggested a wild struggle in the past, but now the owl was tired, and simply lay there, only weakly moving. I was safe from the owl.

Sep
29
2019
2

The House, Part 18/x

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

The rest of our dinner was convivial, as usual.  Wayne was an interesting raconteur, if you had a taste for the slightly morbid; so I flatter myself that I was an attentive listener.  By now summer had finally began to turn to a proper autumn, so naturally Halloween was mentioned. Wayne felt obliged to warn me that the holiday might be stressful for tenants of the house.

“It’s the children of the neighborhood,” he explained.  “They find the house fascinating at this time of year. Irresistible, even.”

(more…)

Sep
28
2019
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The House, Part 17/x

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

“Odd,” I said.  “The house is really very pleasant to live in.” And it was.  I found it easy to physically relax while inside, or in the yard.  The decor did seem to suit my mood, and I had very quickly adjusted to living there.  I even knew some of my neighbors’ first names! The thought of actually purchasing the house and living there permanently had crossed my mind; I could certainly afford it, after all.

Wayne looked at me in what I would later conclude was a decidedly odd way.  “Really? No starting at sudden silences, as if darkened eyes staring at you from beyond the windowpane? No sudden waves of chilly wind, washing over your bed at night?  Do you never have nightmares about owls?”

I laughed. “Nothing of the sort! Oh, the house is free of squeaking” — Not even a squeak from the mice, I thought irreverently — and I keep a window open for cool midnight breezes.  But there is nothing horrid in the house. No. No, I am certain of it.” I forbore to answer his question about dreams of owls; and from Wayne’s flickering look of satisfaction, he noted that lack of response.  But it was true; I had been dreaming of owls.

Sep
27
2019
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The House, Part 16/x.

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

What else was I doing, while all of this was going on?  Going through the house itself, looking for clues. I had checked the attic first, but had not found the de rigeur battered old sea-chest filled with a cryptic set of journals that would reveal the Horrible Truth about the house, just slightly too late.  I was grateful for this, as it would have been humiliating to find out that I was embedded in any sort of cliche, let alone a terminal one.

But there was one thing that I did finally notice about the decor: there was a remarkable amount of bird-themed art and decoration scattered about the house.  At first I assumed that it was simply the eccentric whim of whoever it was that decorated the house, but when I mentioned it to my newly dear old friend Wayne at our now-weekly lunches he laughed and shook his head.  “I’ve never received any instructions about the decorations there at all,” Wayne said. “I truly don’t think that the owner cares, either. Any art you’ll see there was left behind by a former tenant.”

(more…)

Sep
26
2019
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The House, Part 15/x.

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

After about a week or so, things seemed to slow down.  The house would take about five mice every three days, more or less regularly; I did have to keep the live cricket aquarium refilled daily, though.  The nice thing about that was, I noticed very quickly that it did not matter if a cricket got loose; loose ones would disappear almost immediately. I thought about getting a snake or something else that actually did eat crickets as cover for my daily purchases, except that I was unsure that it would last for very long, and snakes can be expensive.

So. I was apparently feeding a house.  My original worries that I was building up its appetite seemed more and more unreasonable; I suspected that what I was doing instead was sating its appetite, possibly for the first time in years.  I imagined that being locked in place and having to wait for its meals to wander by was not the best evolutionary strategy, but it was what the house had here and now.  I also noted the continuing lack of insect life in the area, and concluded that the house continued to consume such things out of habit.

I tested this, actually.  A frozen dead mouse stayed around until it started to smell; but frozen crickets would go almost as quickly as live ones did. Perhaps the house merely likes the crunch.

Sep
25
2019
1

The House, Part 14/x.

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

The first few days, the animals disappeared quickly, always when I was not actually looking at them.  But the sixteenth mouse did not vanish immediately; it managed to stay in its cage for a good six hours before the inevitable happened.  The seventeenth through twentieth mice had about the same longevity; starting with the twenty-first and twenty-second ones, I acquired a webcam and another cage in order to film one mouse while the other one was left out as a, well, offering.  

The mouse being viewed lasted for a full two days, even when there were no other mice available.  This relieved me a bit, because it implied that whatever was going on in the house could possibly be defended against, if necessary.  Not that there were any indications that something in the house would eat people, but then again I was feeding it regularly.  It would be highly ironic if I was feeding up something that might want to snack on me, eventually.

Speaking of which: once I was reasonably certain that the webcam defense would work I turned it off.  It had been two days, and whatever it was in the house that was feeding on the mice probably felt at least a little peckish at that point.  I am not a monster.

Sep
23
2019
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The House, Part 12/x

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

So much for my mid-morning to early afternoon.  Although it was probably for the best; I felt more relaxed and perceptive, afterward.  I do not shun the company of other people, understand. I do not dislike them, either (this is common enough misapprehension of my behavior that I can only assume that I give off that impression).  But maintaining relationships is difficult for me. I’m not a sociopath, though admittedly I know this mostly because I keep my promises and do not blame other people for my own failings. I am simply capable of great detachment.

Which is why I promptly went to a local pet supply store, once Betty finally left. I did not know whether or not the house really attracted small animals, presumably terminally.  But if the house did, it would be simple enough to test for.

No cats, birds, or dogs, though.  People care about those. They do care about white mice, too — but only the ones that are not sold as snake food.  So I acquired one of those. Oh, and a small supply of food, litter, a cage; assuming that the experiment didn’t work, I would have a live mouse to deal with, at least until I finally let it loose in the yard myself, and I do not find cruelty interesting.

Not that it mattered.

Sep
23
2019
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The House, Part 11/x

I knew I forgot to do something yesterday: to wit, put this up.

http://moelane.com/tag/the-house/

“But where do they go?” I asked.  Betty gave me a look; it took me a moment to realize that this was also meant to be a response.  “I think that I would have noticed a pack of dogs around the house!” I said.

Betty poured herself a cup of coffee.  “I didn’t say that it was you doing it.  Just that everytime anybody did see a lost pet, they always saw it last around where you’re living now.  And not just cats and dogs, either. At least one person, maybe twenty years ago, moved here and he brought a parrot with him.  I remember seeing it in the cage, being carried up the sidewalk to the house, and I said to myself Man, that’s a shame.  It was a pretty bird.  And a week later, it was gone.”  Betty shook her head. “Must of gotten the cage door open.  That’s what my dad said, at least.”

“And the window? Did the parrot open that, too?” I asked.

“They’re smart birds. Maybe it used its beak.  You ever see any feathers around the place?”

“No,” I said. “Not a one.  You’re welcome to look” — and then I winced, inside, as she brightened a little at that.  Betty looked at the wall clock, gave a half smile, and stood up.

“That’s very friendly of you.  I think I will.”

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