I moved into a post-graduate only section halls of residence at a new university recently. All's been well except my flatmate's room started leaking from the ceiling and, long story short, she had to move rooms temporarily! This story stemmed from that...
It’s been a ‘lights on, curtains closed’ day thanks to the clouds that quelled the sunshine and, come nearly midnight, things aren’t improving weather-wise. No matter since I don’t have any concerns that involve the outside world other than food shopping which I did this morning.
I find myself in my usual position at around midnight: cross-legged on the swivel chair staring at the screen of my laptop. A few Facebook messages, various amusing status updates, some email – knock –
The sound makes me glance sideways but otherwise no other bodily movement. I continue by replying to a message about guided tours around Oxford’s beautiful city centre. Various different types of tour are available and we want to try them all out by the end of the year, well some of them anyway – knock –
This time I turn my head sharply and stare in the direction of the bedroom door. I scan the bottom where it meets the floor to see if I can make out the two shadows that a person’s feet make when they’re awaiting entry to a room but there are none...
Odd, I think, frowning in confusion. Seconds pass before I go back once again to the laptop, wary this time of the weird noises...
It’s especially strange because my flatmates are either in bed, at their boyfriends’ or elsewhere so I’m assuming the sounds are coming from the walls or its the building talking like they sometimes do – knock –
Right, what the hell is happening? The third time the sound was louder and more defined. Something is definitely in the en suit –
Knock, knock, knock, knock –
“Fuck off”, I say in more of an inviting tone, as if to say ‘come in’, rather than the tone in which it should be uttered in such circumstances. But it doesn’t matter how I say it because the noises don’t stop. They continue to the point at which I snap, slide back on the chair and march over to the closed en suit door.
I’m two steps in and the door is literally blown off its hinges and smashes into the opposing wall about a foot away. The door, if it were human, is dazed and drifts into unconsciousness before falling face first onto the floor. I am cemented to the spot, eyes transfixed on what just happened. I am defenceless against whatever’s just smashed my bathroom door to bits.
Watching on in awe, still glued to where I stand, mouth agape, eyes unblinking I watch as the thing emerges from the en suit. First I see a pool of water slithering its way onto the carpet and splashing up the wall. Fucking great, I think. Now I’m going to get wet socks...Next I hear the toilet flushing. Oh, how dramatic of you, I think. You build up anticipation and break down my door, now you want to hold off attacking me so you can have a piss? Professional.
Suddenly my mouth is making noises I’ve never heard come from me, or any other human, before. Imagine a seal being skinned alive with a belt sander. The gushing sound isn’t the violent door-smasher finishing himself off, it’s him.
He, although I don’t know if it’s his real name, is a water-man. He stands before me, dripping and sloshing in the room; although the water that hits the floor seems to be cyclical i.e. it’s going back into his body instead of him constantly reproducing water. Either way he stands about eight feet tall, his head an oval shape with tears continually pouring from his welled up eyes, his body a mass of swelling fluid rippling as he slides wetly towards me. One...two...I back off, dodging his slippery outstretched hands but realise I only have so far to go before I collapse backwards onto the bed in a seated position. He grows in height within seconds and I am a small child staring the bogey-man in the face.
He gushes closer, still with the terrible toilet flushing sounds, and opens his cascading waterfall mouth. I get splashed from the spray of his liquefied tongue as it lashes and licks the air around my face. He lunges as me. I stick my arms in front of my head as if blocking a football but his watery form envelopes me whole. I open my eyes and my vision is, quite literally, swimming. I can see my room but it’s like looking out of the window today; droplets of water sluice their way down and around and I feel myself being moved with the water-man.
We’re heading back to the bathroom. I see my laptop and my shelves whiz past as he turns. All the while I’m holding my breath, my thrashing arms and legs powerless against the might of the water-man. My being inside him seems to have made him double in size. Escape is impossible.
I close my eyes again and wake up in an instant...I’m looking down on myself. It’s like there’s a camera on the ceiling overlooking my body and I am its only operator.
So, this is what death’s like, huh? Well, don’t I look wonderful? Turns out I’ve not been dragged down the toilet by a rampaging aquatic humanoid – there was a freak ‘flash flood’ of sorts in my halls of residence. I was totally wiped out, along with tens of other students. The newly built halls are, dare I say it, awash with corpses, paramedics and other emergency operators. I heard someone say it’s because of the amount of snow that melted through the roof last winter and has gradually been seeping through the ceilings. The torrential rain hasn’t helped either. The most rain we’d had for weeks apparently – a year’s worth in a fortnight. The building couldn’t take it and the ceilings fell in, bringing the water with them and into our rooms. My parents will be told later that I drowned.
Still, at least I’ve still got my clothes on. They’re all matted and ruffled from the pounding I took from the collapse. My belly’s all bloated and there are veins bulging in places I never knew I had. They’re like water slides curling around the sides of my stomach about to burst with the amount of liquid I swallowed. A ceiling tile or piece of brick from above it seems to have cracked me on the bonce, too. Bit of the old thinking organ spilled out on the floor there, that’ll cause a few gasps – nicely done. Oh, broken legs? Showing off a bit, are we?
Well, I make a nice looking corpse so hopefully I’ll get lots of pictures taken for the forensics. Better go and see how my family’s doing. Got to haunt them now, I suppose. Front row seat at my funeral. I might catch a ride on the roof of the hearse, that’ll be fun. Then warm myself up by the retort at the crematorium and watch everyone get weepy-pissed at the wake.
What an afterlife after death this will be!