Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Strange Case of Madame Web - part 2

Madame Web began as the shape of a human, for all anyone in town could tell she was born Clarissa Clarmont, lovely heir to the Clarmont fortune, in a life that Madame Web couldn't even remember, but could only feel like a phantom pain.  Clarissa had a miscarriage; the respected and very public Clarmont family tried their best to cover it up.  Gossip ran amok in the prude town.  Speculation that she had sex with a vagrant from out of town ran through the phone wires, that the baby was misshapen and deformed.  Clarissa had been pulled from school and all but disappeared from town life.  Her friends were denied visitation by her staunch Christian father, Christopher Clarmont. 

Chris was with her now, so was everyone that has ever been to the house and died in its cold embrace.  She could call on him anytime she wants, but he always says the same thing.  They all do, and they are so boring and annoying.  They all just want to leave her like everybody ever has, until now.  They know the answer to their query.  Escape?  Never.

Clarissa spent her lonely life looking out windows, always waiting for people, always wanting company.  Her childhood was spent in the secluded Cider House manor, one of the first houses built in town, taking advantage of the deep well thought to be dug by the very first Dutch colonists that settled the land.  Her great grandfather and his family of 12 sons built several additions to the old house in the late 1800’s, many of which survived through the Great Depression.  Some of the additions never made sense to Clarissa.  There were doors that led to steep drops to the basement.  Some rooms seem uneven and tilted; earning the nick name the “Slanty Shanty” from some of the maids that toiled there.  There was a hand cart that went up from the first floor instead of down to the basement.  When she asked her father about all the strange dimensions of the house he only offered a glib reply and sardonic smile; something to the effect of “old gramps was quite the prankster”.

To many people around town her great grandfather was more than an idle prankster.  Some speculated that he made a deal with the devil, got greedy and traded his soul for smiling dollar bills.

Clarissa was home tutored and kept from school.  Her parents treated her as their own personal treasure, not to be shared or touched.  Her entire universe was the house but she was not allowed to explore it all in the day time with adult eyes watching.  That was her great secret; during the night she would slip from her covers and explore the house in the gloom, carefully avoiding the creaky steps and floorboards she committed to memory, just like a Nancy Drew detective novel she read.  This was her proudest accomplishment; to slip around the house freely and undetected like a night shade.  Sometimes Clarissa fancied herself a ghost.  Maybe then she could leave her suburban confines and explore the world beyond the mortar and dry wall of this aging relic of a house.  As a ghost she could sneak right out the door, maybe visit the local matinee and see some, oh my gosh, real live boys that seemed to populate her more perversely colored dreams of late.  She blushed at the thought as her undercarriage moistened, sex was beyond her nubile understanding but her body reacted to her perversions none the less.

Clarissa would never know what it felt like to have sex with a man.  Clarissa died in her own bed under her pink polka dot blankets at the age of twenty, still a shut in to the adult world.  The diagnosis was pneumonia but everyone seemed to think it happened too quickly for that slow disease.  She was her typical plucky self the day before, practically bursting with youthful energy.  Now she was silent and stiff, cadaver showing no sign of struggle, the maids agreed “at least she died in peace”.