The Mansion of Milk

April 23, 2014
Tic tic tic, even the clock is nervous. Plastic chairs are dreadfully uncomfortable, hardly helping the problem. Anxiously, I sit in the waiting room. It's just the same as all the other rooms though, there's more chairs I guess, but otherwise it is a simple continuation of this dread sea of white. They painted the walls with milk and that's why they're always cleaning them with that stuff that has a dreadful stench that you can't really compare to anything. That's why theres always that tinge of yellow only the keenest of eyes, mine included, can possibly notice, that tinge of yellow that appears slyly and never really leaves a white surface again. Jeff had told me all that, about the milk and all, one night in our room. In the morning, when I had asked him about it--it had plagued my dreams, causing me a nightmare wherein I drowned, gasping for a smidgin of air in a pool of bubbling creme--he had said "Huh, that's nonsense. You can't paint with milk." Jeff was my old roommate, before I had to have my own room. He was alright I guess.

"Hello Oscar. Come in and take a seat." She always acts nice, really she's a good actor too. But I can see past it. I guess it's in her eyes or something, that evil thought. No, it's in every molecule and microbe and atom swirling about her whole being. Even the little minuscule bugs in her eyebrows are evil and no one seems to notice but me.

I follow her because I have to, lest I want her goons with their ignorant strength of muscles and numbers to topple me. No one says no to her. Ms. Glum is the Queen of Milk Mansion and an evil queen at that, wielding control over her vicious army of hefty low-paid goons.

She leads me to a room, a white room….The Mansion of Milk…where there is a long, plastic folding table and a chair on each side. It gives me the shakes, or maybe the shivers, because the whole thing is as cold as Ms. Glum's eyes, which are coldest things I've ever encountered in this sorry life and are very probably the coldest spheres in this universe whole. "Oh, I'll just stay standing. I don't care for sitting." It is easier to run when standing but I know I won't run anyways. Still, I like to think that maybe I will.

"Oscar. Sit." Like I'm a dog, a miserable old pooch, she glares and stares me down ordering me about as a mindless automaton, everything but offering me a doggie treat. Like an oblivious little yapper, I obey and take a seat on another plastic chair. Being rather thin, the plastic makes me sore and my legs are already numb and tingling but that ice-cold stare serves to freeze me in place as if I were the most comfortable I could possibly be. The milk has been in the cooler too long.

"Oscar, we need to discuss your progress of late. I've received reports that you haven't been eating, that you won't even touch your food for days at a time. Also, they say you won't take your medicine. This is a very serious ordeal, as you know. Very serious." When she talks her mouth moves in ugly ways that are entirely unnecessary for forming the words that she speaks. It's as if she never really learned to talk and is still experimenting with the fact that her very own mouth produces noises, not in a cute, childish way though. This was different.

I sit staring at her. I know she said something but I can't recall what exactly because I was watching her odd mouth and the dark, red lipstick plastered thickly on her lips, or at least where her lips are supposed to be. Black would be more fitting for her but I can't say this. I can't even ask her to repeat herself. I stare…

"Well? What do you have to say for yourself?" Her tone was sharp this time, cutting and cold. I shake my head to clear the fog that was forming behind my eyes. The image of that mouth...

"Sorry, what?" I regret asking the instant I ask.

"Mr. Oscar, why aren't you eating or taking your medicine?"

"I haven't been?" I play dumb. That's what they all want anyways. I haven't been eating because the vulturous goons of hers watch me with death stares in the cafeteria hoping to fatten me up for harvest so they can nurture their thick, muscly bodies. I eat by myself now, after everyone else does, so they have no one to bother but me and goons must always bother someone. It's bred into them.

Medicine? The medicine I get is no medicine. It is a poison. I become dulled, all of my senses are lagged and I experience time a minute behind when it actually happens…time a minute behind when it actually happens. But it is not a good feeling, it is not a laughing and giggling drug, or even a smiling one. You couldn't give it away to kids on the corner, even for free. It is a drug of stiff joints and aching stomach and knotted muscles and I'm not having fun, guys…medication.

"No, Mr. Oscar, you have not and I'm sure you know full well that you have not. Do you know what can happen if you continue to refuse food and medicine?"

"You'll place me in a room by myself?" Again, I regret saying this the instant my mouth moves. I can't resist though. I used to be a funny guy, a real class clown, and sometimes it soaks through and comes out like some uncontrollable demon wanting to see it's own host destroyed for pleasure. Even here in The Mansion of Milk.

"Oscar! This is no laughing matter! If you choose to not answer me honestly I will have you punished this instant!" Frightened, I stare at her, past her, and on to white-yellow eternity. The Mansion of Milk. "Get out! Go to your room!" It takes a while for this to register….lag….but I get it and I go, thankful to get off of that plastic torture device of a chair.

Her goons are there, in the hallway, staring out their big goon eyes and all ready to start a fight, disappointed, really, that all that yelling hadn't started one. All day they linger about, slouching their big, fleshy bodies against walls and in corners. At night a new set of them comes in but its all the same as they all have that same build, same face, same eyes, same mind…

I walk down the hall, long and lonely and white, but hardly silent. The sounds of my feet echo through the whole thing, nice and loud, sending a dreadful shiver down the center of my spine; the sound itself actually shakes me. Click. Clock. Clop. Like horses feet on cobblestones but not nearly so happy and reverberating tenfold. Suddenly, my room is a million miles away and I'll never get there. My head is dizzy and spotty, leaving pepperoni splotches of blacks and yellows and grays in my eyes. I try to walk faster but I can't because these old canvas shoes feel like socks and they're hardly made for walking on concrete or any other surface. Everything hurts. And…there, my room….the room of milk…appears out of the wall, a product of low echoes and and painful footfalls.

With pepperoni sight and bee buzz-hum hearing I lay down in a shock, my head hurting and my body numb. The bed is hard, like concrete, and cold like it too. I won't sleep and now…the cries are coming.

Every night they do this. They wail and moan and whimper, plead and ply. Women, children and even men burst into tears to cry. There are the angries too, who shout their threats and beat their fists against the milk walls and chicken-wire windows. The goons are always stronger and what's the use anyways? There are the cries to God and the cries to lovers and the cries to all other such things that will never be seen or loved again. Rushing about with their bulging bodies in the white suits of government-approved torturers, the goons hurry to quiet everyone…sedatives. Long needles in the flesh and nighty night you riled screamers, no more noise from you.

I sit in silence now, a silence louder than all the screams I've heard accumulated in one mass misery. There will be no sleep and there will be no rest. Pepperoni vision and a million-thoughts-a-minute and can someone please make a noise…lights out.

DARK…I'm no fan of the dark and this place hasn't helped me in the least smidgin at all; this place has given me a reason to fear the dark. Overgrown rats, the goons, scurry about all the while with their little whispers and whimpers and giggles. They can see in the dark, must be something to those round, bulging eyes protruding too far out of their skulls. All of our eyes, everyone here's, are sunk, making us blind. Like rat-lions the goons surround us, their prey, locking us away in our rooms. Footfall. Footfall. Footfall….echo.

Ms. Glum leaves at night, although I can't imagine her anywhere else but here. This is no good though, because here or not, the goons are under her control. That stare has froze them, leaving icicles around their very hearts, and left them to no other fate but galavanting about, scurrying on their tennis shoes and dealing out sedatives to anyone and everyone who doesn't want them.

My pepperoni vision disappears because all is black and I couldn't tell either way. I don't dare get up, those goons would hear it in an instant. All that's left is to listen...

Scurry scurry, race race, they make their rounds and rounds and rounds like sweet, circular merry-go and I can hear every. single. step. On and on, all night and every night for the sad eternity of a minute there is nothing but footsteps and sadistic chortling echoes reverberating through brick hallways…night.

Every night has been like this but…something's wrong, not yet, not quite, but it's coming. I can feel it in the air, like hot, down south humidity, the atmosphere sweats…this feeling. And…there it is, silence, complete and utter and impossible silence. There isn't scurrying, or laughing; the echoes have dieddieddieddieddown. What…happened?

Night sweats, cold and clammy salt-water molecules shaking in nervous anxiety, soaking through my blanket and into my thick, brick pillow. Twist and turn all I want, no sound is made and no pore is dammed up. I want to run, to sprint into the showers screaming and sloshing off this dreadful film of terror in summer-heat water, but…the goons.

No, no, stay in bed and keep your mouth shut. They're there, they're always there and so is she. It's all a trick, a wicked, sadistic trick so they can hold me down and stab my arms with needles, giving extra, unwarranted shoves just for the hell of it. It's all just a big laugh with them. But it's too quiet, it's not just quiet, it's silent, it's…nothing.

Hours, hours, hours pass in the silent tic tock of invisible brain-clocks of insomniacs. It has to be hours and why hasn't the sun come up yet? Why is there still no sounds at all, not even the old janitor, Joe, making his slow, arthritic rounds with mops and cleaning fumes. Whywhywhywhywhywhywhy?

Get up, it's time to get up, most certainly. It's all a trick, a way for me to miss breakfast or poison line-hand-out-time, a way for wicked ice-heart Ms. Glum to call me into Milk Mansion head office and tell her goons to beat me. Dreadful, dirty trick. A youthful prank with severe adult consequences! Get up, walk.

Cement…cool and dry. I realize, touching the floor, how clammy and freezing my feet are, how my toes look like prunes, soaked through to the sad, soft-bone core. Numb, my legs are numb and tingling, the buzz-hum of feeling senses, perceived not in my ears but in my thighs and wobbly knees. Swoosh…pepperoni vision…black…

On the floor, the cool, dry floor that so innocently cut my face. I'm awake, I'm okay now. Get up, get up. You just fell for a little while, get up. The sun's not up and the goon-feet aren't scurrying, get upupupup.

Sway, whirl, swirl, the corners have disappeared. I'm up…I think. But there is no way to tell, not exactly, not without corners or lines or bricks or…anything. It's white and gray, the air and the sky and the floor, all moving and swirling in imperfect circles, eternally revolving, never to reach the center. Walk, just walk, move. But…It's gliding, it's a lot more like gliding instead of walking and my feet can't move, not right, not…there's no floor.

Door, door, in the middle, no floor or ceiling or wall but somehow there's the door, twisted and crooked, swirled and swayed…get there. Through the black center, go through the black, curling center and into….

Gray…The milk is gone, is has been strained and rotted and evaporated into nothingness. Where's the door? Gone, everything is gone but the gray sky I float in. Odd calm swoops of me, dreary daisy, heavy eyed calm, like a childhood nap in the afternoon…float. I'm sleeping with my eyes open, graceful gray of rainy-day old-time b-movie, noon time haze of lazy sundays. It all…rest.

Swish-swash, splish-splash…water. I'm over water, vast gray water of eternal oceans into non-existent sunsets. Lapping waves, look down at the lapping waves, like little ruffles in a blanket extending as far as a hawk can see.

Forever, I could stay here forever, floating and soaring and watching the little ruffles extend into oblivion whilst, all the while, new ruffles are being born. I could go forever in this gray air…but…dive. Dive downdowndowndown. Hours, again, hours in my invisible clock of ticking mind go by as I descend the depths of gray, wet-paper atmosphere. Thicker and thicker, the air is harder to breath as I go but I'll be okay…I'll be okay.

There is a circle, twisting, winding cyclops tornado of water. No longer is the ocean calm and gray and ruffling. A hole, a grand twisting hole of azul has been ripped viciously through the ruffling surface and into…forever…deep. Dive dive dive…through the hurricane.

Blue…Deep, deep, cool blue that could be absolutely nothing but salty ocean water of unfounded paradise. Breath, I'm breathing…through my ears? No buzz-hum, but instead slosh-sloosh. Sink. Sink. Sink. Twisting and spinning-- head over heels, round and round, limbs flung about--spinning. Deeperdeeperdeeper. Darker and darker the blue shade blends and bubbles float…stop

I'm suspended, every limb and organ and cell and atom and proton and electron is suspended. Too. Much. Force…can't move. Here comes…a fish?

Round and tentacled and spotted and…color. By God! The color! Reds, blues, yellows, oranges, greens, bright and vibrant and every possible color in a a 500-pack crayon box the beast of peaceful blue sea is…approaching. Blobbing and roaming, propelled by a million tentacles, it is a squid and an octopus with a shark face and a whale hump and a dolphin fin and a merlin nose…approaching. It's skin is morphing and swirling while, at the same time, the beast itself is twisting and swirling, and colors change and shades of various lights drift casually about the animal…approaching. Opening it's mouth, sharp canines and gentle grinders and yellow, old-paper-yellow teeth, row upon row upon row of them. The whole mouth is teeth and not a single tongue or gum to be seen…approaching. The mouth opens wider and wider and wider, letting out a dreadful stench from a little round wind-pipe, throat-hole and I can see it's tonsils…approaching.

Into the mouth, splash and swoosh and whoosh, rushing water hitting hard, yellowed teeth of wisened old-age. But, everything was so slow? Where did the time go? Between and over and to the side(under?) all the carnivorous, omnivorous, herbivorous munchers and crunchers, chewers and spewers, into the circle of…

Light…Light, light, everywhere there is overwhelming, blinding, shining light. Neon and fluorescent and curly-cues and shine-in-your-face dentist-office lights. Bright white, flickering yellow, deep green and red and blue! Too. Much. Light. There is not a single shadow, a single dark corner or cool surface. Hot. Bright. Light.

Oh, the sounds too! BuzzzHummm…What allows you to see can blind you…BuzzzHummm…What allows you to see can blind you…BuzzzHummm…(The voice emanates from…somewhere.)…BuzzzHummm…What allows you to see can blind you…

Light! It's talking about light! But…Darkness…Swirling pepperoni vision darkness and all it still. The heat is still there. The lights are still there but…I can't see…

Restraint, not sleepy, heavy-eye-lid restraint, not afternoon-nap, cozy-blanket restraint. Tied-down, pushed and shoved and scolded, leather straps and table-with-wheels restraint. I can't move an inch, but I can move a centimeter, a little bit, and that is all the more scary. Someone, something(The Voice?) has me on…something. I can't get out and I can't see and…What allows you to see can blind you…BuzzzHummm…Rolling.

Zoom, stroll, scroll, shh, shh…bump. Little rubber wheels under too much weight rocking and skidding over cobblestone with we-need-to-go-now rapidity. Zoom, bump…sight returns.

Eye monsters, all eye and spindly limbs, nothing else. Three of them are pushing me, all deep blue irises and dark black pupils, eyes five times larger than my body, those dark pupils, black holes full of lost spacecraft and entire universes, dart about like nervous little children running from an angry father with whip in hand and…they notice me.

Running, running, violently bumpbumpbumpbump…over cobblestones with spindly legs and wide, oval-eye bodies eye monsters gogogogo to…the edge…darkness.

The light has ended, right there, up ahead, not a single, flickering bulb of yellow curlicue is left out…there.

Pushpushpushpush and





Color…I fall and…colors. Like 500-pack crayon fish but…more. Everywhere and every shade and hue and light and dark, vibrant, pastel primary, cool and frozen, warm and lukewarm. There are no walls, no corners no end or beginning or…anything. It's just colors exploding and swirling and spinning like grand rainbow mandalas of eternity lacking a center.

No feeling. No hearing. No tasting. No smelling. Sight, just sight, and that's it boy, the only sense that works overwhelmed by multitudes of colors that can't possibly exist anywhere else exploding in random patterns that can't possibly be repeated by a million monkeys coloring a million pages for a million years…color.

No top, no bottom, no sides. Am I spinning or swirling or standing or flying?

Doors, three doors all twisted and mangled and barely discernible in their multi-colored forms…but the shape is there and…the middles…three colors. There are three doors and three colors…red, yellow, blue…pick one son.

I choose…red. I just have to think it, nothing more and nothing less. I don't have to move or blink or wink or anything, just think and…red. Everywhere is some shade of red, from nearly pink, nearly white even, to the bloodiest of crimsons you'd find on a death-clown's hat. Hills and valleys, rivers and lakes, sun and moon and stars. It's all red except…two doors.

Two doors with deep, red frames are billowing about like pipe-armed, balloon-men in front of distressing store-fronts. But their centers…not red. Two doors, two colors…yellow, blue…shoo!…pick one. Blue.

This time I must think…but, nothing. So, I think, and…I wink…and, there it is. Through the wormhole and into…purple! Grand, towering mountains and strange forest creatures, sky scraper cities and dreary suburbs and woodshed country lanes, smiling children and smirking teens and frowning adults all…purple.

I must walk here and it's all too real but it's all too…not. It's purple and I see to much, I see for hundreds of miles everywhichway, hundreds and thousands of smirks and grins and frowns all communicating the same emotion…purple drear.

On the sidewalk, under tall redwoods of skyscraper maroon skies every store has a g****** door and every swirling door has it's color but…there's a lot. Pick your flavor! Hurry it up!…but but but…800, 900, two million flavors! Hurry and pick!…but but but…I would suggest, nah, I won't say anything. They're all good…but but but…Well go on! It's just a flavor. Pick!….but but but….Come--White. I guess I've always been a vanilla kind of person...I pick white…

…."OSCARRRRR! GET UP RIGHT NOW!" In bold, caps-locked voice, Ms. Glum lets out her rage. I know it's her because well, no one else could possibly have such an icy tone, icy enough to freeze me, there on that cold concrete floor. I open my eyes, just a peek. I'm back, in some hallway or another. They're all the same here…in The Mansion of Milk…

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

BeatnikLover said...
May 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm
Thanks for reading it. No, you don't sound like you're nagging, it was very helpful. 
WOWriting said...
May 5, 2014 at 7:00 am
This is a really good story, I really like Ms. Glum and her whole aura. However, I think the whole Mansion of Milk idea is a bit random. Why is there milk on the walls? Also, i think the ending's a bit sudden and maybe something more could have happened, like when he woke up he was trapped or something. Plus, sometimes you use too many advanced words when simpler words would have been easier to understand. It takes a long time to get through the whole thing and to understand all of... (more »)
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