This is the final part of a short-short story I wrote in response to my author friend Edward Lorn’s request for a story about a “monster in a dryer.” It is a first draft and I am in the process of rewriting and expanding it.
Here is the link to the first part, which opens in a new window…
Have you read Part 1? If so, you’re good to go. If not, please read it before continuing here.
And now… the conclusion.
“LET ME OUT! LET. ME. OUUUUT!” she howled as she banged on the door and the sides of the dryer with her fists and feet. She kicked at the glass front, hoping to break it or burst the door open, but she kept losing her balance as the chamber continued to rotate and heat up. Her screams pealed out, but it was no use. Co clanked around in the dryer; over and over she went. The more she spun, the dizzier she became. Her screams started to dwindle and she groaned as her head continually hit the sides of the large cylinder, making her even more dazed. She felt herself losing consciousness…
When she regained her senses, Co was still spinning — but now it seemed to her that she had somehow become smaller. The clothes trapped with her had grown larger… or was the heat affecting her? She ached horribly: the jutting arms which usually served to tumble the clothes had bashed her body repeatedly, and blood trickled from her head and nose. Tossed around in her clothing, it was almost as though they were beginning to wear her.
As the spinning action continued and the intense heat persisted, it created a vortex which swept her up and pinned her against a grate — the dryer’s lint trap. Now Co had become ensnared in the microscopic particles which had loosened from the clothes. She clutched the hot metal mesh of the trap and hung on for her life, too weak now to attempt to escape.
Through the maelstrom, Co thought she heard something — a growl? — and turned to see a grotesque multicolored bolus of fibers on the grate.
“WHOOOOO ARE YOOOOOU? WHAT ARE YOOOOU DOING HEEEEERE?!”
She shrieked, but in the dryness it came out as a hoarse croak. The mound of threads and lint shifted towards Co and enveloped her within its mass. It wheezed: “IIIIIIII’M THE ONE WHO BELONGS HEEEEERE! YOU’RRRRRE IN THE WROOOOONG PLACE!”
She could feel the threads of the thing entering her bloodied mouth and nostrils. Co loosened the grip of one hand from the grate and clawed at the beast, trying to pull it from her face. The bolus grunted and roared as it fought back, using the spinning of the dryer to hold it in place. With a desperate surge of strength, she ripped the thing from her and cast it into the clothes.
But it was not done yet. The vortex hurled the mound back at her, landing on her cheek and fusing with the blood on her face. It grunted as it moved to suffocate her. Through her pain and dizziness, she sensed she had to finish the thing or it would finish her. She grabbed the monster and ripped it from her head but this time she held onto it, trying to squeeze it into submission.
Co breathed rapidly and deeply, and slowly realized she was no longer moving… nor was the clump. Her tears mixed with the blood still streaming from her head, she opened her hand and saw the ragged mass in her grasp. She felt her perception slipping away once more as the pain made everything turn black.
“Nicole? … Nicole? Can you hear me?”
Co’s eyes slowly blinked open and she startled awake, but felt hands holding her onto the gurney. She was not encased in lint or fibers — only gauze and bandages.
“She’s coming around, nurse. Sedative, please.”
In the hallway outside, a police officer took notes. “Tell me how you found her.”
“I knew Co — I mean, Nicole — was supposed to be at home when I came over with my son Frankie,” Laura said. “I got worried when she didn’t answer the door buzzer. I have a spare set of keys and I let myself into the building. When I walked into her apartment I found her son crying, and I asked him where she was. Wyatt said she was doing laundry. I went downstairs and found her on the floor of the laundry room unconscious and bloody. Oh God, is she going to be OK?!”
“I don’t know, ma’am,” the officer replied. “The doctors are taking care of her. I’ll go in and find out. Please go and have a seat.”
“But I have to go in there! She needs me!”
The officer blocked Laura’s path to the triage area. “Ma’am, I’ll go in and find out… please wait over there, and I’ll you know as soon as possible.”
Despite her apprehension, Laura took Frankie and went to the waiting area and found seats. They walked right by a man who was sitting and reading a book. He had a crooked nose, which matched the crooked grin on his face.