's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Fridge Problems "

Submitted by Charred Newt

10.35 a.m.

The fridge has been thumping for a handful of minutes now. The kitchen door does nothing to stop the noise. It makes reading a bit harder, but not impossible. I focus on the page in front of me, trying to make the rhythmic knocks fade in the background along with the traffic outside. It doesn’t completely work, the fridge is too close and too loud for anything else to drown it. This neighborhood isn’t particularly noisy either. Nothing to share with my old place.

I think it stopped. I keep quiet, waiting for a last thunk that doesn’t come.

When I step into the kitchen everything looks pretty much normal. I check the wall behind the fridge: no new cracks, luckily, not even on the foam panels I rummaged up and put in-between the metal grid and the cheap white plaster. I’ve thought about moving it away from the wall, but the bastard always seems to get heavier whenever I try to make it budge even a little. The kitchen is cramped enough as it is anyways.

I open the fridge and quickly check inside. The light winks and flickers. A shadowy blotch skitters upwards and disappears into the upper right corner. Things look good, all in all. There’s still some meat neatly packed on the shelves, along with some cheese. The carrots have started growing that fluffy white mold again, but still look edible. I’m all out of milk though, and the orange juice is running out.

It has also turned purple.

Time to get some more, I guess.


5.00 p.m.

Back from work. I even managed to stop for some groceries on the way. It’s mostly canned and dried stuff these days. It’s not the best diet, but I’ve seen worse. And hey, I bought some juice so at least getting scurvy will still be out of the question.

Putting everything in its proper place takes little time and concentration. I’ve gotten to know this place by now. As always the fridge is my very last stop. Not like there’s much stuff to keep there, just the bottle a-

The handle is squishy.

Time freezes for a moment. Under my fingers the metal starts vibrating more and more until the whole immense metal bulk is shaking violently. I barely manage to free my hand, steady myself and grab the fridge before it might fall over and crush me under its weight. I can feel it fight to open its door, like there was a beast trapped within, but I try to ignore it and start counting under my breath.

10 (its rubber feet are hammering on the linoleum)… 20 (the bottle is rolling away but didn’t break good very good)… 30 (my arms are getting tired)… 35 (it’s calming down I can make it it’s calming down)… 40. The shaking finally stops. I don’t let it go yet, even if my arms feel stiff and full of white-hot needles. After what feels like an eternity, a deep gurgling groan rumbles from the fridge’s insides. I can finally relax a bit.

The orange juice bottle ended up under the table. I pick it up and put it on the counter: it will have to wait to be in its proper place.

I really need a shower.


3.50 am

Something woke me up. I was having such a nice, feel-good dream too.

There’s a hard banging sound coming from the kitchen. There’s no escaping it, even if I bury my head deep under the blanket. I’m pretty sure this time it’s hitting the wall.

I start counting again, trying not to doze off: I reach 100 but the thrashing is still going strong.

Shit. On a Wednesday night? Really?

I get off my warm, comfortable bed. The floor is freezing cold under my feet, but it’s not a bad thing: right now I need to be awake and sharp. I keep repeating that as I cross the distance between bedroom and kitchen.

Well, my guess was correct. The fridge is tilted against the kitchen wall. A thin spider web of cracks surrounds the point where the upper corner has impacted, even though the panels absorbed most of the force. As I’m watching, the fridge slowly props itself up again, as if an invisible crane was hauling it from the ceiling. It stands still for a second. Then it topples and slams into the wall once again; a brief rain of white plaster powder falls like mist on the scene.

I step over it and reach for the pair of elbow-length rubber gloves, hung on the rack inconspicuously placed in the corner; when the door stays open it’s almost completely hidden. Some more dust falls from the ceiling as I put them on, dotting the dark red rubber. I don’t need to turn my head to know what’s happening. Flexing my fingers to ease the stiff gloves a bit, I get to the counter and grab the wooden mallet inside its upper drawer.

When I open the fridge door the head is there, settled on the third shelf. Under the little flickering light its skin ripples as if an army of ants was marching underneath. Its eyes dart madly back and forth as if they were trying to fly away from their orbits, like they were prisoners of the head instead of part of it. But I still think it can use them to see me, even as its feature keep bubbling and melting. The mouth is the only thing that seems remotely constant: the lips tremble slightly as the head speaks without a pause. The words come out like a flood, in a high-pitched litany that feels like a scream but isn’t much louder than a murmur.

Annie thank god Anniepleaseplease-“ a crown of fish heads sprouts around the left eye, sealing it shut.

“-I’m sorry Iknewit shouldn’t have opened the door butitwassobright-“ one of its ears swells up and falls off the head, dropping besides the chin and immediately fusing with it.

-itsstillsobright itsalwaysbrighthelpmegodplease-“ the right eyes droops down and embeds itself in the cheek underneath.

-willdoeverythingthithtimepleathth”. The words slur away as the tongue bloats and grows rootworm-like legs in an effort to slither towards me.

It’s time.

I bring the mallet down. There is no crunch, only a sort of wet whisper as the heavy wooden head tears into the tissue and is almost engulfed by it. I free it and hit again. The tongue is neatly severed by the teeth’s remains and convulses briefly before melting into a puddle. I hit again. What is left of the head starts dripping over the edges of the shelf, but the droplets shrivel up and disappear in mid-air before they can touch anything. They leave a sharp smell behind. In the end, all that’s left is a damp pinkish stain on the steel, something I can take care of with a sponge and some soap. Next to it, the cheddar has sprouted an unruly patch of spindly grayish tentacles. They leash at my hand as I pick the cheese up, leaving burnt-orange marks on my gloves even though they’re already beginning to dry up and die.

While I slowly pluck them out (it’s still a perfectly good piece of cheddar, damnit) the thought of telling Mrs. Burket that I’ve been seeing her head turn up in my fridge for the past two months, next time I run across her on the stairway, barely crosses my mind. Still sort of curious about who that “Annie” is, though.

It’s amazing what you can get used to.