tagErotic HorrorRfH Ch. 05: Into the Crucible

RfH Ch. 05: Into the Crucible

bykristaoconnors©

Welcome back to the fifth chapter of the Roommate from Hell series. For those of you who are just joining us, there will be a little recap. However if you would like to start at the beginning, please read "RfH Ch. 01: That Thing in the Corner," followed by "RfH Ch. 02: Between Secrets and Semen," then move onto "RfH Ch. 03: Plans Best Laid," and finally check out "RfH Ch. 04: Household of Three" to get fully up to date before starting this chapter.

As always, we do not condone the words or actions of any of the characters.


*****

There are many roads in this world. We do our best to map out a route that will send us somewhere pleasant, but sometimes our choices take us down roads that do not lead to our intended destination.

Me for example, I thought I was driving to my parent's house to announce my plans to marry my long time girlfriend; Cindy. Had I known our true destination at the end of this road, I would never even have started the truck.

But for now there was only me, the love of my life, and the long forest road stretched out before us as we listened to Journey in my old pickup.

I found myself glancing out the window into the trees. Nothing in particular had caught my eye, yet for reasons I will never understand, I looked away for only a second.

One second too long. I heard my fiancée scream "Look out!" But it was too late. We hit... Something. What ever it was caused the truck to roll and threw me from the cab.

I found myself laying on the side of the road. My head was facing the wreck. I could see Cindy hanging there in the overturned vehicle, trying to escape. The entire front end had been smashed in, and the dash had her legs pinned to the seat. I could smell fuel pouring from the ruptured gas tank. The expanding puddle made contact with a sparking brake-light wire and ignited. The flames rapidly spread to the cab, and I could hear my fiancée panicking as she struggled desperately to escape.

"David, I can't get out!" She called to me. I tried to get up, I tried to help her, I tried to dash headlong into the billowing flames, but my body was completely unresponsive as it laid there stationary.

"David please help me! Why are you just laying there?! It burns! Please don't let this happen to me!" She begged as the flames bit into her flesh. I struggled to move, but I couldn't, because I hadn't.

When my wife died in this car accident last year, they had found me on the side of the road unconscious. I had mercifully slept through her agonized screams as she was burnt alive just ten yards away from me, but there would be no mercy this time. I would now have to experience every second in excruciating detail. I had caused the accident, I had let her die, I deserved this.

"I'm sorry." She wailed in between her suffering shrieks as she slowly succumbed to the fire. I could smell her skin burning, her hair singed away, and her body roasting in the enormous heat. I remained motionless, unable to even cry until the sound of approaching sirens woke me from my lucid paralysis.

At that point I could only lay on the ground trembling until I noticed that I wasn't alone on the side of the road.

Rolling pathetically to face my silent witness, I found my roommate Melissa standing there with the same expression she had worn the night she left. She justifiably gazed in horror and disgust at my refusal to even attempt to save my dying fiancée.

"What the hell are you?" She murmured once more, and I finally awoke.

"Well that one was weird." I muttered into the darkness of my empty bedroom. Although empty is a bit of a stretch, as that thing in the corner wordlessly perspired in agreement. Normally a fixture of the living room, the mysterious organism had been slowly migrating through the wall into my bedroom ever since Melissa up and flew away. Perhaps it was fleeing from the remains of its previous abode, perhaps it was trying to keep an eye on me, or perhaps it was just lonely.

Normally I'd be revolted by the invasion of my personal space; that thing and I hadn't exactly gotten to know each other on the best of terms. But after seeing what it could do to protect those it served, and being exposed to the horrific reality that there are things out there I desperately need protection from, I opted not to resist its soggy advances.

Besides, maybe I was a bit lonely too. This whole place felt so empty since my roommate left, and that inescapable feeling that I'm being watched provided to me by the living, breathing, growing monster in the wall helped ease my feelings of desolation.

My alarm hadn't gone off yet, but there was no way I was going to get back to sleep after a nightmare like that. So after stretching wearily, I decided to get ready for work early. As I sat up I noticed my slippers placed at my bedside.

This also had been going on since Melissa left, and I could only assume that the mysterious creature had taken it upon itself to pull them out of the closet for me every night. It reminded me of a trick my dog did for me I when I was growing up. So when I first saw them laying there at me feet I groggily commented: "Good boy Hank." It was originally just a joke, but as time went on I found myself regularly referring to that thing in the corner by the name of the late Golden Retriever, and it didn't seem to disagree.

"Thanks Hank." I mumbled as I put on my slippers and lumbered to the shower.

My indifference to the strangeness of this situation was not an attitude born overnight, but developed from months of living with insanity, and the insane. I thought things were weird when I showed up to move in a couple months ago and there was that humungous creature growing out of the damn wall. Since then I have witnessed magic, demonic possession, and a violent sexual tryst ending in murder.

Strange was no longer the exception. In this madhouse, strange was the new normal. Speaking of new normals, it had been three days since the incident that had demolished our living room, and inexplicably caused my roommate to flee. All things considered, I thought we'd grown a lot closer through our shared experience. But just when things were heating up, she suddenly freaked out on me.

I don't know why. Had I pushed thing too fast? Had I said or done something wrong? Why had she given me that look? She was the one flying around on a broom stick with the power to control the very gates of hell in the palm of her hand. Why was she suddenly so afraid of me?

"What the hell are you?" Her last words to me echoed in my memory. The more I thought about it, the less it made sense.

Showered and dressed, I dropped my slippers off back in the closet and exited my bedroom. The place wasn't much better than it had been the night we'd accidentally invited a demon into our house and had to banish the damn thing back to hell from our own living room. The perfectly circular cut in the floor that had previously lead to the fiery pits of the underworld was lazily marked out with caution tape; the sole safety precaution to keep people from falling into the apartment of my unfortunate neighbors below. The furniture was strewn across the room in pieces, and there were human-shaped gouges in the walls where the demonic being had repeatedly bashed us into them.

The wall facing the street was absent entirely, as it had been since that hell spawn tossed a couch through it. I nodded cordially at one of the laborers setting up frames for the replacement wall from the scaffolding that covered that entire side of the building.

"Good morning sir. Quite a quake we had the other night." He commented socially. It turns out that banishing a demon is no simple task, our building and several others nearby had been damaged in the process.

"It was quite a doozy, for a minute there we thought we weren't going to make it." I answered honestly.

"Yeah, my grandma lives down the street from here, and she felt like her entire house was going to come down. I thought her place looked bad, but it looks like you guys got the worst of it." He offered sympathetically, observing the remains of my once comfortable living quarters.

"Yeah, I'm real sorry about your grandma." I offered apologetically, I felt somewhat responsible for this unnatural disaster.

"Don't worry about it, she's fine and my boss's construction company is doing great! Check it out!" He told me excitedly as he held out the front page of the local newspaper. Glass crunched underfoot as I walked across the living room to take a look.

"City signs ten thousand dollar contract with Estevez Construction to repair the damages from recent earthquake" It read. The massive price tag did little to assuage my guilt.

"Congratulations..." I grumbled in unspoken embarrassment.

"For sure dude, we are gonna be set for weeks!" The worker exclaimed jubilantly. "I almost forgot, I found this in the street below, wasn't sure which floor it fell from, is it yours by any chance?" He asked as he dragged the battered remains of my beloved air conditioner onto the scaffolding from the fire escape.

"I'm a afraid so." I relayed woefully. "I don't think it will work anymore though." I admitted.

"I dunno man, I've seen worse. Do you want me to throw it away?" He offered.

"No!" I declared a bit more loudly than I meant to. "I mean, maybe I can fix it or something..." I lied. I had stubbornly carried the appliance up three flights of stairs and nearly died setting it up. It was just a hunk of scrap metal now, but I wasn't willing to let go of it. Not yet.

"What ever you say boss." He said as he handed me the broken machine.

Unsure how to respond, I muttered a quiet thanks and returned my busted conditioning unit to the kitchen counter.

Just as I was finishing breakfast, there was a knock at the door. Thinking that it could be Melissa at last, I dropped my cereal and dashed across the room to let her in.

Unfortunately, it was only my landlord at the door.

"Hey, we had an earthquake a couple days ago." He informed me as if I wasn't standing in the rubble of the epicenter. "We're going to have a team of workers come in and fix things up, so you might hear some noise for the next couple weeks." He informed me as if strangers hadn't been talking to me every morning through the giant hole in my apartment. "Under the circumstances, we've decided to drop everyone's rent this month by 15%." He informed the only person stupid enough to remain in the building.

"Well that's very generous, thank you fo-" I started.

"Well I hope to see your rent check on the first. Where's your roommate?" He interrupted.

"She's... Out of town." I guessed.

"Is that going to be a problem?" He inquired.

"No, even if she doesn't get back soon, I have enough in my savi-" I attempted to reassure him.

"That's good. Have a nice day." He interjected quickly before closing my own door on me and leaving.

Disappointed and frustrated, I gave up on finishing breakfast and just left for work.

The bus dropped me off on another day at the steel mill. They had me on crane duty today, so I got into my hard hat, changed into my uniform, and got to work.

I found my mind drifting as I listlessly moved one-thousand tons of scrap metal into the massive chromite lined melting vat. It takes a long to time melt wrought iron. So after I'd moved it all into the ladle, there was some down time before anyone could move on to the next step.

I could have hung out with my co-workers in the rec room, but I didn't really know anyone and I was feeling restless. With nothing else to do, I started wandering towards the main work floor to wait for the next phase. I was stopped on the way by Kurt, the new kid.

"Dude, there's like totally someone here to see you." He relayed to me ineloquently.

Someone was visiting me at work? None of my friends had told me about plans to visit from out of town, and I hadn't exactly been sociable since I moved here. The only other man who knew where I worked was my Dad, and we hadn't exactly parted on the best of terms last we spoke.

"Really? What does he look like?" I asked.

"Not he, she. And she's a super hotty." He laughed.

I also hadn't been on any dates in the last several months, and I couldn't think of any friends I still knew that were particularly attractive unless...

"Oh no." I whispered in horror. "What is she doing here? What did she say? Did she hurt anybody?" I asked desperately.

"Just this boner dude, chick gave me a stiffy like you wouldn't believe. She could put a spell on anyone with that sexy costume of hers." He explained while crudely adjusting his junk.

"Costume?!" I exclaimed frantically. "What kind of costume?!"

"Check it out for yourself bro." He said as he pointed across the mill.

Sure enough, there was my previously missing roommate strolling down the work floor. All pretenses of appearing to be a regular human being had been dropped, as her head unabashedly bore a conical, wide brimmed hat straight out of a Halloween catalog. The cap band kept her lengthy, onyx hair out her face, but not from flowing behind her.

She had a silly broom in her hand, and her spooky dagger sheathed to a studded belt around her waist. I'd seen both of them used enough to know that they weren't props.

Her fishnet sweater exposed the glory of her upper body save for what was barely concealed within the confines of her dusky swim top. The material struggled amicably to contain the bountiful trembling of its mountainous burden.

Her rear swayed and jiggled with each step, wrapped tightly in a brown leather mini'. Her hips spilled out at the top, and her thighs peaked out at the bottom of the undersized skirt. The sweltering intensity of the forge caused her to sweat profusely, lining her luxurious skin in feminine oils that glistened in the amber glow of the liquid metal.

Her rusty cape billowed in the heat of the furnace, and sparks flew around her as the graphite electrodes repeatedly fired fifty-six-million watts of electricity into the crucible through deafening blasts of lightning.

Melissa's eyes blazed with comparable destructive power as she marched purposefully across the floor towards me.

I realized that it was pointless to run. Even if she wasn't intimately aware of where I worked, lived, and slept, I could tell that she would pursue me to hell and back if she had to, and I knew from experience that she was capable of it.

Knowing full well that I didn't stand a chance, I picked up a large wrench. The distance rapidly closed as I shuffled out to give her my last stand. Her high heeled boots kicked up dust as she finally halted less than ten feet away from me.

We stood there wordlessly for a moment as the electron arc furnace crashed behind us. She gave me the look of someone sizing up all the best cuts for a slab of meat. I gave her the look of someone begging her not to do this. Finally she smirked condescendingly and addressed me.

"Oh David, I thought you would put up mo-" She was interrupted by the thundering crack of the electrodes firing.

"You can't fool me, I know you're -" She attempted to accuse me before she was cut off again.

"If you think you can just-" She tried more frantically this time, but all for naught as the cacophony of electric discharge caused her to visibly cringe. Normally people weren't supposed to stand this close without hearing protection.

She glared at me helplessly as her frustration began to bleed through her hardened exterior. This was the same woman who had kissed me the other night, and the same woman who as of yet had not killed me. Maybe there was still a chance.

Shrugging sympathetically, I tossed my wrench to the side and offered my hands in surrender. It was probably very foolish of me, but the tool would not have made much of a difference against such overwhelming power.

She stood there with her arms crossed for a few moments of uncertainty before sighing in exasperation. "Is there somewhere quiet we ca-" She began. I still couldn't hear the rest of her sentence, but I got the idea. Thinking quickly, I pointed to a stairwell that lead up to the balcony. There was a storeroom up there that would offer both privacy, and silence.

She angrily stormed passed me to get up those stairs and away from all the noise. I let out the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding, and reluctantly followed her.

Kurt gave me a double thumbs up in a suggestive thrusting motion as I walked passed. I rolled my eyes, continued up the stairs, and across the catwalk. This lead to a observation deck above the ladle. I found Melissa standing at the railing, gazing into the cauldron of bubbling metal below. She looked at home in such a Faustian light. I knew this was not the first time she had gazed into the inferno.

Gently placing my hand on her shoulder, she remarkably decided not to cut it off. I gestured to the door behind the observation deck, and led her through.

This storage room was used to store metallurgical additives to be tossed into the ladle from the observation deck to purify the mixture. We wouldn't know exactly how much of each chemical to put in until the lab analyzed a sample, and we couldn't take a sample until the metal reached a minimum of three thousand degrees. So there was plenty of time before anyone would have reason to come in. Plenty of time alone in a room with a deranged, supernatural murderer. Plenty of time for her to take her leave before anyone found my bloody, lacerated, lifeless body.

Regardless, I closed the door behind us. Blocking out the noise from the mill. "So does this mean you're not going to kill me?" I offered hopefully.

She sighed in exasperation before responding: "I could ask the same of you. You certainly had the opportunity before I recognized you as a threat." She admitted as she hopped up onto a pile of bituminous coal sacks to take a seat.

"How could I possibly be a threat to you?" I asked incredulously as I sat down on some buckets of iron pyrite. "I don't even know what's going on." I added in frustration.

"I realize you have a lot of questions. But I have to ask you something first. Have you ever heard of the Lymantria of Despair?" She asked with the utmost of sincerity.

I wanted to answer her question, I wanted to give her something that could make her trust me, or at least not make me sound dumb, but it just sounded like she was speaking jibberish. I honestly shrugged and confessed that I had no idea what she was talking about. She spent a few more somber moments trying to read me before continuing.

"Fine. I had a feeling your were clueless, I was just caught off guard when you told me that you could see the Dryad." She explained.

"The hell's a Dryad? You mean Hank?" I asked in bewilderment.

"Hank?" She interjected in confusion.

"What the hell is that thing? What the hell are you? Why are random strangers and demons from hell trying to kill you? What the hell is going on?" I rambled angrily.

"One question at a time." She warned me impatiently.

"Fine." I replied, before taking my time to phrase something good. After spending several moments unable to come up with anything clever, I decided to just start at the beginning. "What are you?"

"Really David? That's your first question?" She reprimanded, but I could only stare back in blank puzzlement. "I'm the Dalai Lama of the fifth dimension. I'm on the run from the remains of the Third Reich. The CIA used alien technology from Area Fifty One to give me a sex change, and now I live as a casual apartment dweller by day, but heroic vampire hunter by night. You have found my dirty secret." She told me condescendingly. After all we'd been through, it wasn't entirely unbelievable, so I couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic.

"For real?" I asked cautiously.

"No you idiot! What the hell do you think I am?!" She exclaimed in annoyance.

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