Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
Wheres The Bathroom
Austin Brooks (email)
Look, first of all, I want to make something perfectly clear. I don't have some sort of bathroom-phobia, okay? It has nothing to do with that. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. I have a perfectly logical reason for doing what I do.
It started at Eric's party last year. You knew Eric, right? Comm major, he just graduated. Anyway we were at his place, and it was just starting to get going, you know, we were just starting to have fun. But then I had to go, you know, go. I looked around a bit, shuffled around, but the bathroom wasn't anywhere real obvious. So I asked, and Eric says it's down the hall to the left.
So I head down this little side hall, and it's pretty narrow, and kinda dark too 'cause there's no lightbulb in it, but there's three doors on the left, so I don't know which ones the bathroom. But I figure, process of elimination, I'll figure it out. The first one was just a water heater. But the second, I open it up and it's like, pitch black inside. Can't see a damn thing. So I step inside and feel around for a light switch.
The walls feel like hard tile, a little wet, so I figured I had the right place. I still couldn't find a light, so I went further inside, but when I did the door swung shut behind me. Maybe I bumped it, I'm not sure. But when it closed, the room lit up. It was a bathroom, but not the kind that's supposed to be part of a house.
It was a public restroom, and a gross one. Two urinals and two stalls, one handicapped. The tile might've been white, once, but now it was the color of old smoker's teeth filled in with pukeish green scum. The mirror was crooked, one corner almost resting on a clogged sink full of cloudy gray water. I stood there for a full minute, baffled by what I was seeing. I backed up towards the door, opened it and stepped through without looking. I didn't want to take my eyes off the bathroom in case I was seeing things.
"Eric! What the fuck is up with your bathroom?!" I called. But nobody answered, except for the weirdly distorted echo of my own voice. I looked down the hall, only to find I was no longer in Eric's house. The door had led me to another bathroom. This one was a good bit larger, with a bank of sinks opposite three urinals and an offshoot that housed the stalls. The tile was blue with red trim, and even though it was cleaner than the last room, the whole place was covered in a layer of dust and cobwebs, as if nobody had been there in years. The only light filtered down from overhead skylights.
"Ehh? Wharts all te yellin abourt?"
A pair of figures shuffled from around the corner. Neither of them looked more than slightly human. The first one, the one who spoke, was only about two feet tall at the shoulder, with a pot-gutted little body and stubby little legs and arms dressed in dingy grey coveralls. The most striking thing about it was its neck which shot straight up to about average human height before bending abruptly in the middle, like it was jointed. The rest of the neck dangled forward like a construction crane, ending in a shaggy mop of hair. As in, like, a literal mop. Greasy grayish dreadlocks covered the whole thing except for a pair of long, chapped looking lips like a pair of mealworms poking out between locks that gave the impression of a unibrow and a bushy goatee.
The second one was over six feet tall, more traditionally human shaped, but cartoonishly muscle-bound. All it wore was a pair of bib overalls with only one suspender fastened and a single yellow rubber glove. The reason it was only wearing one was because its entire left arm, shoulder and head seemed to be mushed inside of a toilet plunger stuck to the top of its body. The body proportions were off, its legs were a little too short and its arm a bit too long, so its fingers brushed the moldy tiles as it walked. Its skin had a dull yellow jaundice to it, looking like filthy piss-stained marble crisscrossed with dim purple veins.
"WHAT THE FUCK"
"Quirt yer yellern or werll have ter throw yer out Te Barthroom."
"WHO ARE YOU"
"AHM Jahn and tharts Itor! STARP YELLERN."
"... Where am I? what is this place?"
The mop-headed thing called Jahn took a deep breath, apparently relieved that I had calmed down. It's weird accent sounded like the worst qualities of Scottish, Australian, and the Deep South thrown into a blender and expected to come out speaking English.
"Yer in Te Barthroom, Piss-Baby."
"The Bathroom? Is that what, what you're trying to say? Look I know I'm in a bathroom but where the hell is this ba-"
"Thart's wart I serd, Lemon-Turd. Barthroom's oner te lergerst zerns ern Te Rernge. Prit ner e'rry zern connercts to it one wer or anerther. Excretery Concerpts evern biggern the Flersh. Prit easy to get yerserf lerst, but flarble surm furlers and yerl klurf on back to yer nartive zern."
"...Ok look I got like, not a fucking bit of that. Why can't I just go back home the way I came?"
" Hrrrm, well ye taste perty yeller, but lemme gert a gerd "loohk" atcha 'n I'll tell ye berter." Then the damn thing, the thing called "Jahn", starts writhing its throat like it's about to hock a massive loogie, and this basketball-sized lump starts moving up its stupid long neck. When it reached the end, Jahn opened up its mouth and there was this huge bloodshot eye inside.
"Sweet Jerpsers! Howsrd a grey get in hur?!" Ive got no idea how it spoke with a mouth full of eyeball. "Itor, unclerg the perr thang! And trah not ter make surch a merss thers term." The lopsided hulk that had been standing by passively suddenly stirred to life, lopping towards me like a one armed ape, the plunger attached to its body pumping up and down violently.
Whatever it was going to do to me, I sure as hell wasn't going to stand there and let it do it. I faked to the left then dove right. Itor took the fake and slid into the bank of urinals when it tried to recover. It pulled itself to its feet, holding onto one of the urinals for support. When it removed its hand, I could see that the strength of its grip had left deep furrows of crushed porcelain. With nowhere else to run I ducked into one of the stalls. Itor was barreling towards me with enough force to dislodge floor tiles, sending them flying like loose gravel as I locked the stall door. I knew it wouldn't hold for long as the brutish homunculus slammed at the barrier. I was hoping that these things were what they kind of looked like, weird inhuman custodians, and that they'd be reluctant to cause anymore damage to the bathroom.
I appeared to be right, because Itor gave up trying to bash the door down and started groping for me under the door with its massive gloved hand. Its arm was long enough to reach past the lip of the toilet, which I had climbed on top of to avoid its reach.
Outside the stall I could see that Jahn had returned to whatever sort of work it had been doing before I arrived- dipping its greasy mop-head into some sort of bizarre organic bucket I hadn't noticed before, the color and texture of wrinkly elephant skin encrusted with something like barnacles, with numerous crustacean legs sprouting from the bottom. Then Jahn would smear its dripping face all over the floors and walls. As the weird secretion dried it took on the properties of thick dust and cobwebs.
I grabbed the top of the stall and hauled my ass up and over it. I meant to jump up and over Itor, but I ended up landing right on plungerhead's back. As it lurched upright I instinctively grabbed onto its handle. Itor seemed to writhe in pain, which only caused me to grab on tighter. I pulled and twisted on the plunger, which seemed locked onto Itor's body with powerful suction. Thick black ichors seeped and oozed out from under the lip of the plunger. I planted both of my feet on its back and pulled like I was uprooting a tree.
The plunger finally came loose in a gout of black bile, sending me on my ass. I watched as Itor's body flop and spasm like a mortally wounded animal, seeming to deflate as more and more of its bodily fluid gushed out of the ragged hole left where the plunger had been.
"Get outta hurr, ye ruffian! Let goa her!" Jahn shouted. The plunger in my hand made a loud noise between a click and a hiss, and when I looked down I saw that inside the suction cup there was a chitinous black beak surrounded by thin, flailing, insectoid legs. I threw it at Jahn's feet and bolted through the door.
The door led me to yet another bathroom. This one was a standard household set-up, single toilet and sink. White tile with pink trim. The shower curtain had flowers on it. But it was moving subtly. I sat for a moment, catching my breath. I listened at the door but heard no signs of Jahn or Itor. The other bathroom probably wasn't even on the other side anymore.
I threw open the curtain without ceremony. Stands of raw ropey viscera dangled from the showerhead, leading to a featureless lump of flesh that filled the tub. It didn't have any sort of orifice, but it seemed to be breathing.
I sat with it for a while, then I finally worked up the nerve to try the door again. On the other side there was another bathroom. And another one after that. Fucking endless bathrooms, in every state and formation imaginable.
Eventually they gave way to what were more or less hallways in bathroom clothing. Wall to wall tile, sinks, toilets and urinals jutting from the walls at odd intervals and angles. Sometimes from the ceiling. Sometimes the halls were filthy beyond measure. Tile caked in layers of filth in every unpleasant color imaginable. Unearthly vermin crawling from the pipes. One of the most common was some sort of rubbery white creature with huge bleeding eyes filled with maggots. Even if I couldn't see them I could sense them by the wave of nausea that rolled over me whenever they were near. Once I'm pretty sure I saw a literal giant germ, the size of a large rat.
Other times, the hallways were inhumanly pristine. Bleached white immaculate tile as far as the eye could see, illuminated by harsh florescent lighting. It almost made it worse. Because sometimes, in halls like that, i would fine a huge red stain, freshly splattered across half the walls. I always tried to find an exit as quickly as I could when I saw that. Im not sure if I dreaded meeting what had made the stain, or what would arrive to make it disappear.
I ended up in bathrooms unlike anything built by mankind. Once I found myself in a what looked like a fastfood restaurant's restroom, walls scrawled with alien graffiti. I'd learned to pay attention to the graffiti, sometimes there'd be messages in it. Human messages. Warnings, logs, left by other people, people like me, lost in this place. I was just starting to examine some when I heard noise on the other side of the door. I ducked into the closest stall. I heard something large and awkward fumbling around. I heard it enter the other stall, the sound of dribbling liquid, and then heard it exit. Curiosity overtook me and I peered out to catch a glimpse of it as it left.
It was a fucking living hamburger.
Like, barely even trying to look natural. It just had huge absurd cartoon eyes and meaty beef limbs. It was even wearing a little chef's hat. It stopped at the sink. It turned the handles and the sink ran ketchup and mustard. After it left I looked in the toilets. They were full of cold grease.
Another time I found myself crawling through some sort of circular access port, like a maintenance tunnel. I could see sunlight! But no. I was at the bottom of a huge cylindrical tower, like a grain silo with an open roof. I wadded out into a cesspool of grey and white sludge. The space far above me was crisscrossed with thin steel beams. I could see hunched figures perched on some. They were twisted avian things, featherless except their wings and tails. Some arrived, dropped their load, and took off again. Others roosted in groups of two or three, apparently communicating. I could see the sun, but I'd never make it t o the top without wings.
One more place sticks out to me, one of the strangest in my mind. It was like a bathroom, but huge. The size of a cafeteria. It was filled with rows and rows of toilets, the walls lined with urinals. Other places I had seen other "people", or things like people, only rarely. But this one was filled. They seemed pretty human. At least downstairs. They were all completely naked from the waist down, male and female. On top they were completely covered with fabric, garments that covered their entire torso. The smallest eyeholes possible, sometimes in the typical human spots and sometimes not. A couple I could see had their hands exposed, but that seemed pretty risque. One was dancing on the table, no sleeved and their shawl tight around their chest, neck, shoulders and head. Some seemed intently invested in them, others seemed to turn away in disgust.
I turned to look at the door I had come in from. It had the typical "mens room" symbol, albeit with a large shape obscuring the head. There was another door with a nearly identical symbol on it directly besides the one I'd came out of. I could hear noises coming from inside. Very quiet, very polite chewing, and the clink of utensils on plates. I could hear the sizzling of something on a skillet, and the smells of something frying. But when I pushed through, all I found was another bathroom.
I guess its fortunate I never seemed to get hungry. The entire time, I never felt the need to eat, just the occasional desire. What I did feel, the entire time, ever since my arrival in that porcelain hell, was the need to shit. For a while I just ignored it. It never got so intense I was desperate, but it was always there. Finally I got fed up and just sat down on the cleanest, most normal toilet I could find.
I don't know how long I sat their. It could have been a couple hours, it could've been three days. But I shat continuously. The entire fucking time. Eventually I got sick of that too and just stood up.
Still had to shit. Still wasn't unbearable. I kept going.
I don't know how long. Months, definitely. Years maybe. I'd look at myself in the mirror when I found one with a clear reflection. Had such a thick beard I looked like goddamn James Harden.
Then one day I found it. I walked through the door one more time, expecting more killer diapers or that unmedicated purple bitch again. But I walked into my own damn house. The bathroom of my own damn house, but still. I sat on the toilet and cried for hours. I finally took a satisfying shit. I shaved. I took a shower, and then sat naked wrapped in towels because I wouldn't put those clothes back on. I would've burned them if I'd had matches or a lighter. I watched the sun set though my fogged window.
The next morning, I heard someone outside the door, calling my name. Its Eric. I yell, "I'm here, oh god, I'm in the bathroom, help me!" He opens the door, he looks kinda confused. "Did you lock yourself in? You left you phone on my table last night. Nobody saw you leave, and it was weird you didn't say goodbye,"
So yeah. That's why I do what I do. I ain't got some fucking phobia, I ain't being irrational. So quit fucking staring. Grab me some T-P out the closet there. And don't you Dare close that Goddamn Door!