I puzzled over the trail for weeks. Where was it coming from? What could make such a thing?
I decided the only thing to do was wait in the bathroom.
Wait, and watch.
It starts as a single black drop of goo coming out of the C tap.
Drip, drip, drip.
The stuff has the consistency of puss leaking from an infected wound. Soon, the drip turns into a steady trickle. And then a torrent. Soon it blocks the drain, and the level of gunk rises until it overflows its porcelain prison and dribbles down onto the sparkly-white tiled floor where it gathers in an ever-expanding pool.
It smells like stagnant water and festering shit.
You would think that would be enough.
If I stay long enough, shivering in the doorway, mouth hanging open and facial muscles twitching, I see the stringy black stuff on the bathroom floor begin to move and take shape. It writhes around in little currents, each particle seemingly following its own agenda as it moulds itself into a seething mass in the centre of the bath tub, all the while drawing more volume from the tap as it spews forth a steady stream.
I notice that whatever strange magic has taken over the C tap has also affected the shower head. Strings of the black goo are being drawn out of it some unseen force like matted hair being pulled from a drain.
I feel my stomach flip over and the strength ebb out my legs. I swallow back a mouthful of bitter bile as my supper tries to rise. I want to turn around, run away, but my feet remain planted firmly on the cold tiled floor. A cold shiver racks my body, my goose-pimpled flesh crawls.
I watch, transfixed, as the black gooey stuff in my bath tub gathers in mass and form. Now I can make out little, stubby arms and the beginnings of a head.
This is where my nerve generally deserts me. I back out of the bathroom, close the door and go back to bed where I huddle under the sheets. Eventually, sleep comes and in the morning, I pretend it was all a dream.
But tonight is different. Tonight, I cannot move. I want to see this play through to the end.
The thing now has a mouth, a huge gaping void. Black fluid spills out of it and down its emerging chin. It makes thick gurgling sounds, as if it is trying to say something. In spite of myself, I take a step closer. Some strange compulsion drives me forward. If it is going to say something, I want to hear.
It is much bigger now, and seems to be taking the form of a person hunched over, kneeling in the bath tub. It is shaking violently, as if suffering some kind of seizure. And still, those awful gurgling sounds…
I feel my face contort into a grimace as I lean closer. I hold my breath, but the fetid, heavy stench hanging in the air still brings tears to my eyes. I can’t believe this is happening. The world shimmers in and out of clarity, I feel woozy and nauseous. I sink to the floor next to the bath tub, hands and knees melting into the cold, congealing black mess that continues to spew out of the C tap and shower head.
I hear voices, whispering in my ear. But I cannot distinguish any words. It sounds like hundreds or thousands of people all talking at once.
Then there is a sound like a rush of water, a liquid roar, and struggle to raise my head. Instinctively, I know what made that sound. The creature in my bath tub is not kneeling any more. It is standing, towering above me.
I open my eyes, it’s like staring down a long tunnel at a single point of light in the distance. The point of light enlarges, bombarding me with fragments of fractured colour and shapes like a kaleidoscope. I see the a vast black tide descending to engulf me as the monstrosity in the bath tub flexes and wraps its arms around me as everything goes black.
About the author: The dark fiction of C.M. Saunders has appeared in over 30 magazines, ezines and anthologies, including Raw Nerve, Fantastic Horror, Trigger Warning, Liquid imagination, and the Literary Hatchet. He is a hybrid author with nine long-from releases under his belt, the most recent being the novel Sker House and the charity novella No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches. He is represented by Media Bitch literary agency.