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Toasted Wiring

Something had been rustling around in the kitchen for days but Sam had forgotten about that and turned his back on his sandwich while he put the kettle on.

When it first started he had made an attempt to get to the bottom of it, but the fungoid masses of dead computer innards that had long ago grown out of his study, through the living room, and into the kitchen made it difficult to get to the bottom of anything in this house.

Tea.  He opened an eye-level cupboard for an unbroken mug and turned for the sugar bowl on the table.  Mid reach he saw it, crouched over his plate in a sandwich stealing posture.  His hard earned lunch mangled in the impossible maw of the dirty, greyish thing.

They both froze.  A slice of tomato plopped back onto the plate.

Sam barked a denial and swiped at the thing but it was not put off.  It uttered an unearthly growl and leaned back on its haunches.  Hunks of bread and cheese came away in Sam’s hands.  There was no sign of the ham.

With another inarticulate yell he lunged and the creature sprang into motion. In a blur it leapt from the table over Sam and into the open cupboard, its long pronged tail whipping in behind.

He clapped one hand to his bleeding ear and tore open the nearest drawer with the other.  A shuffling bumping burrowing mapped its progress into the furthest corner.

Peering into the gloom he poked at it with a spatula but it wasn’t rigid enough.  The chewed and melted stick of teflon spun viciously back over his shoulder and dislodged a stack of motherboards across the room.  The egg flip could reach into the awkward corner better but had the same problem and the same fate.  He prodded, levered, slashed and grated at the atrocity with no result other than a change in the pitch of its growl.

Aha! Resistance tugging back on the wooden spoon.  A curl of smoke and a smouldering scent wafted back out at him.  A red glow demonised the dark corner.

He braced a foot against the bench and pulled the growl rose to a crescendo and crack in a puff of sparks the charcoaled spoon gave.  Sam snapped back like a broken rubber band and the monster barrelled off the shelf and into his face, its momentum finalising his fall.  Blunt feet slid and pushed off his head and the abomination scampered slippily across the tiled floor.

Dazed and panting he lay, blood running into his left eye.  Groaned.  Normal people had demons possessing their pets, dead and daughters.  Not Sam.  Sam had the ghosts of defunct computers haunting his wiring.  Served him right, he supposed, for leaving appliances plugged in after all those environmental awareness ads.

Crash!

Crapcatflap!

He lunged to his feet and darted for the back door.  He couldn’t let it get out, the neighbours just wouldn’t understand.  Fell down the back steps, rolled and dived after the thing now galloping across the yard.  It paused to negotiate the tangly grass and yes! his fingertips snagged its tail-cord as it plunged at a gap in the derelict fence.

Triumphant, he wrenched it back through and wrestled it snapping snarling and burning into his arms.  Flicked a furtive glance around but fortunately the fences were high.

Back in the kitchen Sam slammed it onto the counter and whomped it with the breadboard until it stopped trying to get up.  It gave a  last feeble moan but he squashed it and roughly taped its legs down, with another whack for good measure.

There.  That solved one mystery at least; he’d wondered what had happened to the toaster.  In this clutter, however, things disappeared all the time.

Back to lunch.  Tea first this time. The kettle strained away from the toaster with a whimper but settled under his reassuring pat.  What to eat?  The sandwich, strewn in bits across the floor, was beyond saving.

Toast sounded good.

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