Spooktober Prompt # 7 – Killer Creatures
“My girlfriend’s hair gets everywhere.”
by Penny Tailsup
There is no worse feeling than unexpectedly stepping into two inches of cold, dirty bathwater.
That’s how the morning started. I was expecting to take a hot shower, but instead found myself standing in a puddle of standing water.
“Cassidy! You clogged the drain again!”
I jumped out of the tub and wiped my feet on the bathmat with disgust. I reached for the plumber’s snake, which was always on hand for exactly this reason. This happened a lot. More than usual, lately.
Muttering under my breath, I eased the snake into the drain. I knew exactly what I’d find: a big, slimy ball of hair.
Cassidy in the doorway behind me. She shuffled in that cute, apologetic way she always did when I had to unclog the drain. I wasn’t mad at her, of course. Not really. I just really, really hated having to unclog the drain.
“Sooooorry, Dolan! I pulled some gunk out last night, I guess there was more there than I thought…”
“If you’re not pulling out a wet cat, it’s not enough.” I was joking, kind of. Not really. I glanced at her over my shoulder, and from her apologetic smile, I knew she could tell. It wasn’t her fault, but it was hard not to feel frustrated.
“I’ll make breakfast this morning.” she volunteered, trying to make it up to me. She didn’t have to, but I still appreciated the gesture. I was a grumpy bastard, but I loved her!
“Bacon?” I smiled at her, and she smiled back.
When I asked my friends what it was like to live with their girlfriends, they all had one grievance in common: hair. Hair everywhere! I thought they were exaggerating, but they really weren’t. Of course, I love Cassidy enough to overlook something so petty. Usually. Not at 6 a.m. though.
At first, as the truth ran through more lintrollers than I could count, I thought it was funny and perplexing. How? How did she shed so much? Why wasn’t she bald?
Cassidy’s long, curly black hair was one of the many things that attracted me to her in the first place. Living with her, I had a new appreciation for all the work that went into her looks. What I couldn’t understand was how her hair ended up where it did. It wrapped around my toes! Hell, I’ve pulled a strand out of my buttcrack. Apparently I’m not the only guy either! What the heck!
It’s part of the beautiful girlfriend package, right? A seemingly universal grievance. I could tolerate most of it: pulling her hair out of the lint trap, cutting her hair out of the vacuum brushroll… Hell, even I could even tolerate replacing said vacuum every 6 months like clockwork! What I couldn’t stand was the hair clogs in the bathtub.
Intellectually, I know that hair isn’t disgusting the second is leaves your head… but it is disgusting after it sits in a drain, collecting whatever nasty slime that washes away in the shower. No matter how many times I’ve done it, which is a lot, unclogging the drain is the most revolting chore in the world. I’d rather do anything else!
Once I felt resistance, I began to rotate the snake slowly. My stomach roiled with anticipation of what I was going to fish out– apparently this one was a monster of a clog because I didn’t feel the auger head break through that mess.
When I tried to pull the clog out, the snake didn’t budge. In fact, the clog seemed to retreat deeper into the pipe! Before I even realized what was happening, I found myself yanked forward. My head smashed against the shower tile and I let out an angry yell of pain.
Cassidy heard the commotion. She came running in, wide-eyed. She found me holding my head in my hands, still needing a moment to recover.
“Dolan! Are you okay? Did you slip?”
A little dazed, I nodded. I guess I had slipped? Or something. I wasn’t entirely sure, but I didn’t want her to worry about it.
“It’s really lodged in there. I think I accidentally pushed it in deeper, though.” I already had a headache.
“… Well,” she looked pale but smiled through her worry for me. “You should probably get dressed and go to the doctor, just in case.”
I looked down at myself, remembering I was naked. Oh yeah. It looked like I wasn’t getting my morning shower after all.
“Nah, I don’t need to go to the doctor for a bump. It’s not that bad. It’s not like I was knocked unconscious.”
“You can’t really be too careful with head injuries…” Cassidy persisted.
“If I get symptoms besides a headache and a bruise, I’ll go in.” I brushed her off. “Don’t worry.” I added, swooping in to give her a quick kiss. “I’m not an idiot.”
“You kind of are.” she laughed, but I could tell she was still tense. She was a worrier.
“You’re not burning breakfast, are you? That would be a real emergency.”
“Oh! Uhm… I’ll go check that.” I watched her dash back out of the bathroom, heading back to the kitchen. Hopefully the bacon would be spared! Maybe my morning could still be salvaged.
Chuckling to myself, I reached down into the tub to retrieve the snake… only to find that it wasn’t there. Ok… that had never happened before. Now I had to figure out how to get a snake out of the pipe too? I tried sticking my finger in so I could feel around for it, but my fingers were too thick. I felt a slimy film, but nothing else.
“Alrighty then..” I straightened up, standing there for a moment. I shook my head in disbelief, about to give up on my morning when I heard a strange metallic banging sound. It moved along the floor with the hissing sound of water. At least, I thought it was water? If I had to call a plumber I was going to be pissed! I wasn’t the most handy, but I’d try to fix it myself first.
I washed my hands, got dressed and headed into the kitchen. The eggs were ruined, but the bacon wasn’t. The hash browns looked extra crispy, but I actually liked them that way. Cassidy’s cheeks were a little pink from embarrassment. Cute.
“Breakfast looks great!” I beamed, hoping she knew I wasn’t mad. At least, not at her. I was trying not to show my frustration, because I knew it stressed her out even if it wasn’t directed at her.
“Are you going to stay home today?” she asked with concern.
“… Yeah. I can’t go in if I haven’t showered anyway.” I didn’t really want to miss work, but taking care of the plumbing was pretty important. Plus, I had a headache and wanted to monitor my head injury just in case.
She made me a plate, then joined me at the table. Normally, I did the cooking because I enjoyed it, but it was really nice to have her cook for me now and then. Breakfast always tastes better when you’re not the one who made it.
“Sorry about the drain. I really did try and fix it last night.” she explained.
“It happens. This one’s extra bad, apparently. If I couldn’t get it out with the snake, you definitely couldn’t.” I assured her. “We might even need a plumber.” I added, “But that’s a last resort, if I have anything to say about it.”
“You still love me, right?” she batted her eyelashes at me. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“It’ll take more than a hairball to tear us apart.”
After breakfast, I went to the store to pick up some baking soda, vinegar and another plumber’s snake. I grabbed a drano, too, just in case– though I tried to avoid using chemicals in our old pipes as much as I could.
I mixed together ¼ a cup each of baking soda and vinegar, dumping the concoction directly into the drain. The standing water was grey and foul-smelling, but most of it had drained away slowly. I noticed an odd gurgling sound coming from the pipes, which I hoped was a good sign.
I left the tub, giving the baking soda and vinegar an hour to cut through the gunk. I went to lie down, waiting for my headache to go away. Cassidy had the day off, so I listened to her putter around the house. She poked her head in the room to check on me after awhile.
“Can I shower?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s time to flush everything down with hot water anyway. I’m sure it’s fine.” I closed my eyes, “Come get me when you’re done, I need to try and get the other snake out.”
“It fell in?”
“I guess.” It seemed more like it got pulled in, but that didn’t really make sense. Some weird accident of physics, like an air bubble or water pressure probably made it seem that way. “I’ll take care of it, come get me when you’re done.”
She nodded, though came in to give me a quick kiss. “Ok. Love you.”
“Love you more.” I winked, “Maybe I’ll join you in a minute, actually. I still need a shower too.”
“Ha! Well, you know where I’ll be.” I watched her go, enjoying the view and seriously considering going after her.
After a moment, I heard the soft sssshhh of the shower going. Cassidy hummed cheerful tune I didn’t recognize. I closed my eyes, smiling. I was about to drift off to sleep, but I was jolted awake by a sudden, sharp scream and a loud bang. “Cassidy!” at record speed, I threw off the covers and flew down the hall. I burst into the bathroom, finding Cassidy holding the back of her head. Her face was the color of sour milk and she was visibly shaking.
The tub she was standing in was filled with filthy grey water. It smelled so bad I gagged. Hell, vomit smelled better than the putrid slop! Cassidy was sobbing in horror and disgust, but I couldn’t tell if she was seriously hurt.
“You ok?” I managed to keep myself from puking long enough to ask.
“N-no. All this water just… exploded out! It knocked me into the wall!” I could see a film of slime and debris drifting sluggishly across the surface of the water. I shuddered, but pushed back my revulsion so I could help her.
“It’s ok… you’re ok.” I said in as soothing a voice I could manage. I reached out, guiding her out of the tub carefully. Her legs were coated with the contents of the tub, and I felt her almost slip. I steadied her carefully in my arms, only letting go when she had solid footing.
I handed her a towel, pinching my nose. Something moved in the corner of my eye; something dark and writhing. It looked like something black and oily was oozing out of the drain and into the filthy water, but I couldn’t see what it was through the cloudy liquid. Had the clog come bursting out of the drain somehow?
“I’m… going to call a plumber. One sec. And a doctor…?” I trailed off, looking at her for verification. She shook her head.
“No, I’m fine. I’m just startled, and… grossed out.”
“You and me both.” I agreed, still pinching my nose. Whatever this problem was, it was way out of my depth. I left Cassidy to make the call while leaned over the tub, looking at the water with repulsed fascination.
I found my phone by the bedside table, still holding back bile. Before I could even make the call, she screamed again. This time her cry was abruptly cut off, sounding… muffled? That wasn’t right.
I hurried back, finding Cassidy on the bathroom floor. Her mouth was open wide, but something black and slimy was jammed between her lips. Her fingers kept trying to catch hold of whatever it was, but it wouldn’t budge.
It was hair.
Without hesitation, I grabbed onto the slimy tangle and tried to pull it out of her mouth. She was trying to scream, she just couldn’t! The whole hairy mass was wriggling and pulsing, like it was a living thing. For some reason, it was trying to jam itself deeper down her throat.
I couldn’t get a solid grip. It felt wiry and slippery, scraping my hands that couldn’t get a firm hold. Cassidy’s eyes were wide with terror and tears, her face going red as she struggled to breathe.
Despite my best efforts, the hairball jammed itself completely down her throat– taking my fingernails with it. My bloody fingertips followed the thing into her mouth, but I couldn’t get ahold of it. My girlfriend was still choking, her dark eyes losing focus.
I didn’t know what to do. I called for an ambulance, frantically trying to explain what had happened. They didn’t understand a word I said, but help was on the way. Cassidy was blue. I spotted the unopened drain snake I’d bought, and had a horrible idea.
I tore it open quickly, and after a moment of hesitation– I pushed it down her throat. Whatever it was, I could see the lump it created in her throat. I yanked, trying to pull it back out. I only managed to pull out a few black strands. Whatever this thing was, it was impenetrable!
“Please, please, please…” I begged, though I don’t know who I was begging. Cassidy? God? The hairball in her throat?
I tried again, using a little more force. Again, I only succeeded in pulling out a few clumps of hair… I couldn’t unclog her throat. Black curls covered in slime stuck to her trembling chin, protruding from her mouth like tentacles.
“No, no, no… this isn’t happening!”
The paramedics broke down the door some time later. I hadn’t heard them arrive. I hadn’t heard anything but the roaring panic in my ears and the gurgles coming from Cassidy’s throat. I could hear the thing hissing in her throat, like a feral rat.
The paramedics found me with a plumber’s snake in hand, I was still bent over Cassidy’s prone form– trying to stab the auger into the heart of the hairball so I could pull it out of her. I must have looked deranged. One of them forcibly pulled me away from her. I cried, trying to get back to her–still screaming her name.
I watched in horror as they stabbed a hole for her to breathe through… I tried to explain that I’d only used the snake as a last-ditch effort to save her, but I don’t think they believed me. The rest of that time is a blur. Police were called, and Cassidy was taken away on a stretcher.
Fortunately, the doctors were able to surgically remove the massive knot of hair… but they saw nothing unusual about it– aside from the size, and the fact that they’d found it split between my girlfriend’s throat and stomach.
Cassidy is in a coma. She’s in bad shape, but she’s breathing. I’m grateful for that. There’s still hope.
I haven’t been charged with a crime… yet. It’s coming. The investigators are putting a case against me together, trying to figure out what happened. I know how it looks, though. They think I’m an abuser. Looking back, I can see why they’d think that.
The police asked if I was mad at my girlfriend for clogging the drain. They think I did this to her, jamming the hair down her throat in a fit of rage. That’s ridiculous! I love her, I’d never hurt her over anything so stupid! Maybe it was annoying sometimes, but I’d never truly blamed her.
Unfortunately, Cassidy can’t tell them they’re wrong. The hospital won’t let me see her, either! Her family thinks I’m responsible too. We’re not married, so I can’t force my way in. I’m sure a restraining order will be issued with the warrant.
I don’t know how to convince a jury that my insane story about a killer hairball is true. The only person who can prove it might never wake up.