I'm not quite awake. I hear footsteps outside. Tyler? I don't know.
I open my eyes just as the water rises above my head. I can't move. I'm turning and always forward. I scream. Nothing works. An aquanaut, breathing through a straw. The walls leak in, spilling ink and paint and so much water. My back stretches and I can't lean back.
I move. I push and can't sit up, can't get back to the air, clay mouth swiped by a wet paintbrush. I reach towards the dresser, pull at the drawers for leverage. It snaps and crashes to the floor. I grab for the groaning bed frame as the water reaches the top of the window. Up. Get up. The air is so close. I can't get there. I try to stop myself. I can't. I breathe and the straw crinkles shut. I taste salt. I black out.
No one's here.
Everything is fine. Nothing is even out of place. But me. I'm soaked from head to toe, so is my pillow, so is my bed, so is the floor, so are footsteps in the carpet leading to my bed from outside, so is the door, so are footsteps from the kitchen to the door.
Are those mine?
No one is here for this. Just me. Not like Tyler, the guy who blogs about every time he sneezes. I need him to help find and stop the monster that attacks us. He leaves instead. He doesn't answer his phone. He just posts and builds a fence between us, made of rock and sand and bone. Why does he tell everyone about a place we can't share, unless there's a monster? Who is this self-obsessed to share everything he thinks, every mistake his stupid roommate makes? What does he think he is solving?
What does he see that I don't?
I shake myself off. I grab a towel when I notice the footsteps. I follow them. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. The footsteps go to next door. Just outside the door. Knock on the door and
I hate this place. I don't know where I go. I lay down as many towels as I have, one next to another all across the floor. Around the couch, too. I go back to bed. Or I don't leave the bed in the first place. I write. I remember. I wake up somewhere new and can follow my own words back.
Tyler is gone to somewhere else that I can't go. I stay in bed.
[Note: This detail certainly appears as an homage to the liminality of mythical monsters and their habitats. These transitions appear in physiological forms (man to grotesque) or geo-architectural forms (paths halted or paused by a natural or local boundary, bringing predictable changes in habitat). It is no wonder that myths are not just culturally but often regionally and locally specific. It's also no wonder that all participants create content with comparative multiplexity.]