Horror Vacui

Mustn’t let the emptiness win.

Mustn’t let it be empty.

Mustn’t let the emptiness win.

Fill it. Fill it. Fill it.

Laura repeated the litany under her breath, like an autistic child focused solely on this quartet of verses as if it were all in the world worth focusing on.

Mustn’t let the emptiness win.

She toiled in the basement of her house, carrying the messy bits on her apron, held like a makeshift bag, as the bits dripped their fluids which ran down in rivulets down her otherwise naked body. She was old, wrinkled, skin sagging everywhere on her once-sculptural body. The wrinkles filled with the blood and offal of the bits like rills running down her copiously-varicose legs.

Mustn’t let it be empty.

She placed the remains of many different creatures, some of them even human, arranging them in such a way that the basement’s floor was no longer visible. The flooring had been ripped out weeks before, Laura had ordered this done on the recommendation of the handyman she normally employed, as there was need to replace said flooring due to some sort of rot seeping up through it from the ground below. It was then that she had begun to hear it in her head, the hissing noises.

Mustn’t let the emptiness win.

On the day the handyman came by to pour cement on the ground she snapped and pushed the man down the stairwell. His body was badly broken by the time he hit the basement floor, but he was still alive. She shuffled down the stairs and stuck a pair of scissors through the man’s left eye. It was what she instinctively knew had to be done. He had taken the flooring off and thus been the one who let the hissing out. His had to be the first blood offering to cover the ground and keep the thing at bay.

Fill it. Fill it. Fill it.

She’d been busy since then, taking what lives she could in what ways she could. Two girl scouts she had poisoned, three door-to-door sales men, a make-up sales woman, her lawyer, four neighborhood dogs, her birds, her cat as well as any other animal she could trap – raccoons, stray cats, anything – these had all been chopped and packed on the floor so as to cover the dirt of the basement floor in an effort to smother the hissing. That infernal hissing!

Fill it. Fill it. Fill it.

There was still so much ground left uncovered.

Fill it. Fill it. Fill it.

The doorbell rang. Good. She needed more.

Fill it. Fill it. Fill it.

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