Welcome to the Neighborhood
The couple felt a presence the first time they came to see the house. It was a modern monstrosity, in that it was beautiful and tasteful but an otherwise unnecessary, lavish and decadent addition to the neighborhood. While the clean, white lines suggested minimalism, the millions that went into drilling, shipping and installing the slabs of white marble flooring and countertops proved more. The couple felt it their dream home despite the home’s initial apathy to the couple.
The sterility of the building leant itself to a colder atmosphere. The presence negated any effects of forced air heating and below-floor tile warming. Turning the dial up to seventy, then eighty degrees did nothing to dampen the ever present chill in the air. Even when dry, objects felt moist to the touch, so entrenched in the cold as they were. The couple’s breath clung in wisps in front of their noses and mouth, marking their progress through the home, and the homes progress in them.
The couple noticed changes within themselves almost immediately. Seeking to mimic the presence and the house, to better blend in, the couple began dressing themselves in neutral grays, whites and beiges. They attempted to disguise themselves as the low-backed furniture with coordinating, decorative pillows or disappear into the abstract artwork that adorned the walls, lest they be found. Thick oil paints depicting White Wolves in the Snow, and Seaside Dock with Fog, added texture to the otherwise smooth walls and gave camouflage when clothing wasn’t enough.
Hidden cabinets and storage spaces maintained eye-lines and one had to deduce where the plates and pantry lived. It was a struggle to prepare a meal, let alone eat with the ever present bone chill crippling their joints.
The couple found themselves soft-footed tip-toeing from room to room, hoping to warm their feet on an ironic, white shag rug or at least find one another in the expansive space. The changes surmounted as growing isolation encapsulated the couple. The couple grew pale, then ashen, their skin beginning to slough off in great flakes. Moisturizing left them greasy, with great oozing trails following in their wake.
Without each other to turn to for comfort, they begin to turn on themselves.
What bold reds, deep crimsons and sinful burgundies adorned the kitchen sink, the bathroom and the laundry. What earthy browns, warm greens and crisp clays added delightful texture and scent to the pristine furniture and dinner setting. What putrid yellows, viscous ochre and fresh chartreuse stained the walls and windows. Obscuring neutrality with bodily excretions became their only goal and pastime.
It was only months later during a routine window washing and landscaping touch-up were they found – huddled together, naked, great strips of flesh shorn from their shins, calves, thighs and buttocks. Breasts, chunks of scalp and hair and great fat deposits hanging from the ceiling, the entire dining room redecorated in a manner, of beautiful human vestige. The room was warm.