It was as if a fracture had opened beneath the floorboards, cutting through the very fabric of space and time, of sentience and senescence. Such was the mephitic stench, a scent like dying, like the slow simmer of rotten meat at the base of a muculent stew. The smell was a static one, not even the breath of Spring could relinquish its constancy. Lamps suspended midair, as if the inimical vapor had solidified forming invisible shelves. The ivory walls bloomed red and then black as if the wounds decayed on acquisition. A single voice assaulted the air as an alarm, rising steadily in intensity. The voice was mine, albeit octaves higher than the one chosen for speech.
I had heard the rumors of infestation, everything from poltergeists to portals. This room in particular seemed to exist between dimensions. Each morning I crossed that threshold and each morning I retreated half-way not from the horror of it but from the anger that rose up within me. I clenched my fists till the blood formed, as sickles in the indentures fashioned by my nails. My mouth tasted of marrow and offal as if I’d bitten into the flesh of the walls. My breath came in visible gasps, like the bestial steam of frenzied cattle. I felt violent beyond my means.
I detested that room but my visits became more frequent. I’d wake in the night finding myself mid-stroll soaked in sweat and smelling of vomit. Eventually the smell began to permeate my clothes and skin. People kept their distance, first strangers than friends. I began to hate (those I loved especially). I sent them gifts from my hunting trips but only the leavings. I sent them letters, cruel and cryptic poems that I knew would both offend and frighten. I came to enjoy their tears and dismay, to relish them as I had once relished their smiles and greetings. I had so little reason to hate them that I invented their crimes until their fear and discomfort furnished me with the catalyst of neglect.
I moved my bed and desk into the room that I could stay there while I slept and worked. The room that I had only entered in order to discover the source of its sickness, but within which I could never remain long enough to rectify, became my sanctuary. And I in turn became the room.