's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Fix the Sink

Submitted by WriterJosh (email)

Phil was not handy. He was the sort of man who would find himself trying to screw in Phillips screws with a flathead screwdriver. Allan keys befuddled him. He never shopped at Ikea.

As a firmly non-handy man, Phil not only knew his limitations but strove to avoid any situations where he might find himself with powertools, or any tools at all, in his hand. The problem, however, was that his wife Martha firmly believed that it is a man's job to fix things when they break. He had not known this until the two of them had bought their own home and could no longer rely on the landlord to take care of such matters.

Should it be a faulty wire causing an outlet to quit functioning, or a fuse that needed replacement, or, heaven forbid, roof work, Martha would simply report the problem to Phil and then retire to the sofa with her soaps. Call a repairman? The first, and last, time he had done that, he had gotten an hour-long lecture from Martha on wasting money on things Phil himself could do. She had never asked him if he had any mechanical aptitude, nor was she interested in excuses. He was the man. He fixed things. And as a result, their house had many "repaired" items that were, in fact, worse options than simply leaving the jobs unfinished, including the thermostat, which now had only three settings; Arctic, Lukewarm and Holy Shit The House is On Fire.

Thus, on a particularly wet Saturday morning, Phil found himself staring at his kitchen sink, a pained look on his face.

It had begun while he was in the shower. The strength of the stream had started to gradually weaken until he found himself trying to rinse off under a trickle. He got out and tried flushing the toilet, only for a sucking sound to issue forth from the bowl. The sink choked and ground at him, and before he could even process the idea that he now had a day of home repair ahead of him, he heard Martha shrieking from downstairs: "Phil! We got no water! You're gonna have to fix the sink!"

She couldn't even let him dry off before reminding him.

He found his battered guide to home repair in the bottom drawer of his home office desk. Thumbing through it, he found the section for "Water Works" and his heart sank at the first instruction. "Ensure that all water to the house is shut off."

And just how on god's green earth was he supposed to do that?

There was a forest of valves before him. Somehow he'd found where they were located, but which one was the main water line? The instructions didn't say.

Admitting to Martha that he had no idea how to shut off the water was not an option, so, there was nothing for it but to get his wrench and start turning. He shut off every valve he saw, wondering the entire time just how many seperate water valves were necessary for one average, suburban home.

As he twisted each one, the valves began to get more and more difficult to completely turn. At first there seemed to be simple stiffness as he would pull at the wrench, but after a few it almost seemed like they were resisting his efforts. Eventually, as soon as he let go, the valve would try and twist itself back on, often succeeding. Somehow, fighting with these valves seemed less of a problem than trying to explain to Martha why he had to call a repair man, so he doggedly twisted and twisted again, and eventually got all of them shut off. All but one.

The last valve didn't want to move at all. He could feel its defiance in its determination to remain in the on position.

"I've cut off all its roots of escape," he said aloud to no one. "This is now the only place the water can go and it's a stronger flow as a result." He was positive this had to be the case, despite his utter lack of understanding which of these pipes, if any, even had water running through them when he turned them off.

With a herculean grip on his wrench, the jaws as tight as they could be around the valve, Phil braced himself against the wall and pulled until he was all but certain that he was about to have an aneurysm. The pipes around him began to shake. Then it almost felt as if the floor was shaking.

"Damn, is the house about to fall apart?" he wondered as he felt his grip begin to slip.

Finally, as if giving in, the valve slammed shut. The pipes continued to shake for a bit as an unearthly groan came from within them. The groan became a growl that became a shriek. Finally the pipes settled and the shriek faded to a whine, then back to a groan, and then all was still.

Picking himself up, dusting himself off and sighing the sigh of a man who has accepted his fate, Phil climbed back up the stairs and went once again to the kitchen, ready to consult his book about the next step.

He needn't have bothered. Well before he had gotten to the part he needed to, he heard a scratching sound coming from behind the sink. "Why me," he muttered as he leaned over and touched the wall above the faucet.

Immediately he yanked his hand back. The wall was hot. Burning hot, as if there was a fire in the insulation. Before he could worry about that, however, the source of the scratching revealed itself. A chitinous length of something was reaching out of the faucet, waving around in the air as if searching. It looked like the leg of a coconut crab, only covered with what appeared to be razor-sharp spines. A cactus-crab.

"Dear lord, Philip, are you still at this?" he heard Martha's voice coming from the living room. It was getting closer as she spoke. "Look, I need to get some washing done, and until you man up and fix the sink..."

"D...don't come in here, Martha!" he shouted. "I'm...I'm in the middle of things's very dirty! This is man's work, after all, right?" He could hear the panic in his own voice as the claw (as he began to think of it) began to raise itself up and point straight at him.

"You should be well finished by now!" she was saying, not hearing his warning. "I swear, it takes you longer to do one simple chore than...what in Christ's name is that!?"

The two of them stared, frozen, as the claw pointed straight at the two of them. Something pinkish white began to sproud from its tip. It formed itself into a ball and Phil suddenly realized that it was an eye. A horrible, liquidy eye forming where no eyes should be. It opened its dripping lids and looked straight at the pair.

And then Phil realized what had been happening. This...being...had made the pipes its home, and did not appreciate being forced from what it saw as its domain. It was searching for the cause of its irritation. And it had found it.

"Phil?" asked Martha. "What...what's going on?"

"I...don't..." was all he managed.

The two of them were thrown to the floor as the house was forced from its foundations by something very large beneath it.