The deepest darkest night lulled over that Saturday. Ominous clouds embraced the moon, light disappeared.
He was alone in the bathroom, going through the usual routine. It had been a tiring day at work. Slumped shoulders bore the weight of resent, of bitterness and regrets. He slinked into the bathtub, wishing and wanting for the soapy suds to ease the stress away. He wasn’t used to the dead silence, even though it has already been months since she took off with their only daughter, gushing in the arms of another man.
Bubbles form on the placid surface where bubbles once were. It has been half an hour, but he was still soaking. The warmth of the bath too, has long left. He let out a fart, watching in near amusement as they gently rose to the surface.
“Bloooop.. bloop blooop blooop”
He froze. Somewhere at the far end of the tub, where his feet were perched against the smooth ceramic, were bubbles rising to the surface. That can’t be him!
He was unable to move. Eyes fixated on the spot, he found himself gripping both edges of the tub, stricken with fear.
“Blooooooop. Blooop Bloop Blooop”
It continued. Bubbles were emerging, breaking out on the surface almost violently.
Could it be the stopper coming loose by accident? He snapped out of his fear and dismissed it as childish. All the months of living alone must have gotten to him. In a bid to be rationale and solution orientated, he plucked his hand away from the edge. Blood flowed through his palm once more.
He bent forward, hand dipping into the lukewarm water, searching for the stopper.
The soapy water suddenly looks like a horrid shade of dirty brick red, no thanks to the last drops of bubble wash from his daughter Kiki, He groped around aimlessly for the stopper.
His fingers touched something. As though an electric shock, fear shot through his body, leaving him paralyzed from the touch. His fingers grabbed onto the object instinctively as he pulled it out from the water.
It was a large pile of hair.
Long, dark, crinkled strands of hair. They seem to flow endlessly like a ball of mating snakes, writhing in his hand.
His heart palpitated so fast as he threw the ball of hair away from him, and bolted out of the water.
“What the fuck?” he murmured to himself as he grabbed on to his towel.
“Okay, Ben, relax, you fucking idiot. It’s just hair. This is what you get for leaving the toilet unkempt since Lylia left.” Hands worked in synchronization as he worked hard with the towel, drying himself up in a bid to regain his composure.
Ben turned to face the tub. The tub was being emptied all the sudden.
He could feel his jaw dropping, feet rooted to the ground. He watched, dumbfounded and face marred with horror.
The water was receding. The sides of the tub was dyed with remnants of the obnoxious orange bubbles. Slowly, an outline became visible.
“…..” Ben gasped.
It was mortifying. The last droplets escaped through the sinkhole. What was left, was the body of a young child. Naked, and white as death.
He took off for the door without so much as a second look. Towel wrapped gingerly around his privates, he ran into his bedroom and tried to reach for his phone.
The ceiling light flickered, and then went off. He was basked in darkness. The only light that came, was the soft orange glow from the bathroom. Ben continued looking for his phone, clumsily groping in pitch black.
“Daddy… help me… help”
Soft cries came from the bathroom.
“Was it the child corpse? It’s alive?????” Thoughts ran amok in his head.
“Please… daddy. Please help me.”
The cries streamed on, loud and distinct, chiming across the room.
“Run.” Ben’s mind urged him logically. But his feet were doing just the opposite.
He inched towards the bathroom. Slowly…. the tub came into sight. Bony fingers were grasping the edge of the tub.
The sound of bones cracking reverberated throughout the bathroom. He was planted firmly in his spot as the corpse mustered strength to pull itself upright.
He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Kiki. Or, rather, something that resembled her. Her eyes were lifeless, and her body was skeletal. Hair was partially ripped out from her skull.
“…Kiki?” Words left his mouth without much thought.
Upon hearing her name, the girl started crying.
Ben tried to inch towards the tub, but fear was standing against him. His heart was slamming against his rib cage in protest.
He reached out his fingers. Suddenly, the girl stared blankly at him, her jaw dropping to an impossible length as though it has dislocated. The light went out with a sharp flicker.
“SAVE HER!!!!!” The young crying voice morphed into something deep and hoarse. Her eyes started bleeding.
Ben yelled in horror.
The lights then came back on. It was gone.
The tub was still filled with the fizzy orange water. There was no girl, no hair, and no sound. It was back to the silence that filled the house once before.
The only sound came from the rampant beating of his heart.
Ben lunged forward to the tub. There was nothing in the water. His hands sloshed around. He reached for the stopper to drain the water out.
His head was in a mess. He stared hard at the tub as the water went out. Then there it was, scribbled like nails against a chalkboard, were poorly written words. Almost illegible.