Something Taken, Something Given - Day 1
Weird objects have shown up in everyone’s bathrooms.
((Author Note: Hey guys. Had a fun concept for a series, let me know what you think. First chapter is a little tame but it should ramp up a little for day 2. I plan for each day for something to be given and something to be taken away from the characters. Each day will focus on different characters as well. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas for something that can be taken from them, and something that could be given.))
As soon as Scott woke up, muscle memory carried him out of bed and into the bathroom. He yawned at himself in the mirror then turned to the… to the…
What the fuck was that? He jumped back from the strange structure in the corner of his bathroom, panic chasing the last clutches of sleep from his mind. It was built into the corner of the bathroom, walls made of clear plastic with a white floor. Pipes struck out of the tiled wall and fed into a weird metal tube that rose just above head height, some sort of circular plastic contraption held up on the end of it. He blinked and shook his head, trying to confirm that he was actually seeing what his eyes told him were there.
Dressed only in the t-shirt and briefs that he slept in, he stepped closer and gingerly held out his hand. There were handles on the front, which suggested that the front face was a door. As if worried it might give an electric shock, he grabbed the handle and pulled. It swung open and he freaked out, letting go and jumping back. Thinking back to last night, he was sure that there had been nothing weird going on with that corner of the bathroom. He couldn’t quite picture what had been there before, but certainly not this weird chamber. How could it have just sprung up overnight?
Unsure of what else to do, he phoned Derek. Derek was a plumber by trade and lived close by. They’d been friends since high school and Scott knew he was a dependable guy. If there was something weird going on with his bathroom, Derek was always the first one to call.
He picked up on the second ring. “Let me guess,” he said, “something weird has appeared in your bathroom?”
“Yes!” Scott said, glad that he wasn’t just seeing things. Although, it was doubly weird if the same thing had happened elsewhere. “I don’t know what happened it just appeared there this morning. Can you come take a look?”
“My work phone has been ringing non-stop,” Derek complained, “I think a lot of these things have sprung up. I’ll come check out yours before I head to my other appointments. See you in ten minutes. Don’t touch it. Just in case.”
Scott paced around his bedroom while he waited for Derek. He barely remembered to pull on some joggers in time for the doorbell to ring. Crisis or not he couldn’t just answer the door in nothing but briefs. They didn’t even make pleasantries as Scott opened the door. He just stepped aside and let Derek up the stairs. The plumber stood at the bathroom door, frowning at the corner.
“It looks different to my one,” he said, “mine is built over this plastic tub thing that comes up to my waist. Takes up an entire wall of my bathroom.” Scott could barely even imagine such a thing.
“And it wasn’t there yesterday?” Scott asked.
“Of course not,” Derek scoffed, “I think I would remember something like that.”
“I touched it. I pulled on that handle thing and it opened like a door. You don’t think it’s dangerous, do you?” Scott asked.
“Well, the walls don’t reach your ceiling so if there was anything dangerous in there then its already out. I think its safe, don’t look so worried. I just… I can’t figure out what it’s for.” He stepped over and opened the door, touching it just as gingerly as Scott had. There was a dial on the metal plate where the pipes from the wall met the tube that hung overhead. There were numbers written around the dial, which was decorated with a blue strip that turned read the further around it went. Derek gave the dial a slight turn. Nothing happened for a second, then there was a rushing sound from inside the wall before a gurgling from within the pipes. Derek panicked and turned it back around, but wasn’t quick enough. Water sprayed out of the nozzle overhead, immediately drenching the surprised plumber. He cried out and stumbled back, landing in a heap.
“Are you okay?” Scott asked.
“I’m fine,” he said, blushing. Derek had always been quite a proud man and was trying to hide the redness in his cheeks. “It’s just water. Freezing cold though. Why would we having something in our bathrooms that rained cold water on us?”
Try as he might, Scott couldn’t think of a single practical purpose. “Let me get you a towel. Do you want a dry shirt too?”
“Please,” Derek said, unbuttoning his soaked flannel and dropping it onto the floor. Scott went back into the bedroom to find something dry to give him. He got a towel from the bottom drawer, unsure why he had so many. Tucking that under his arm, he reached down to the pile of clothes that he had stripped off last night before heading to bed and finding yesterday’s shirt there.
“Here you go,” he passed them to Derek and then left him alone to dress. Back in his bedroom, he turned on the TV and switched to the news. Sure enough, he found the anchors talking to experts about the weird structures.
A middle-aged man with thinning hair and a lab coat was in the middle of an explanation. “…no consistency in design, material or dimensions. We’re hearing reports of them appearing not only all over the country, but the rest of the world as well.”
It cut back to the anchor, a silver fox who blinked in surprise. “The whole world? And no one knows where they’re coming from?”
The scientist nodded. “We’re conducting experiments but we believe that these things are a way of moving and heating up water. We don’t know for what purpose. Our best advice for now is, if you have one of these in your home, leave it alone until we have more information.”
“You don’t need to tell me twice,” said the silver fox as it cut back to him. “We’ll bring more updates on this story as we have them. Until then, let’s check on the weather.”
The bathroom door opened and Derek stepped out, tossing the towel onto the pile of laundry on Scott’s floor. Scott was about to thank his friend for dropping everything and coming over when the screen cut off, turning blank.
“What now?” Grumbled Scott, trying to change the channel and finding nothing changed the screen.
“That’s weird,” Derek said, “it’s happened on my phone too.” He turned his phone around, revealing a blank screen. The same thing had happened on Scott’s phone. After a second, the screens flickered and some text appeared on them.
“SOMETHING TAKEN,” it said. A series of lines appeared on the screen, a symbol that looked a little like the weird contraption in Scott’s bathroom. It held in place for a second before fading away. New words appeared on the screen. “SOMETHING GIVEN.” The symbol that appeared was animated, a stick figure that looked like it was doing a star jump, with small droplets falling from it. It faded as quickly as the other and the screens all returned to normal. Derek and Scott exchanged a bemused glance before they simultaneously remembered what time it was.
“Shit, I can’t go to work yet,” Derek said, thumping his palm to his head as if he had just remembered something important. “I’ve got to work up a sweat.”
“Me too,” Scott replied. “We can work out what’s going on later. With all the weirdness I nearly forgot to go outside and work up a sweat.”
They went out to Scott’s front lawn and started exercising. Derek dropped to the ground for some press ups while Scott jogged on the spot. He looked up and down the street, seeing his neighbours stepping from their homes to do the same thing. He waved to a few of them and they waved back as they started their own exercises. It only lasted a few minutes, just long enough for his t-shirt to start to cling to his body from the dampness. Derek, with his more intense exercise, had a glistening forehead and there were obvious pit stains showing through his borrowed shirt.
“Well, I’ll see you later,” Derek said, “Let me know if anything happens with that thing upstairs.”
“Will do,” huffed Scott, a little out of breath compared to his friend, “maybe we should also try and figure out what that last message meant. You know, the ‘something given’.”
“Who knows,” Derek shrugged. “I can’t even work out what was supposedly taken.”
Scott sighed. “That too. See you later, buddy.”
Derek got into his van and drove off. The other neighbours were dispersing back to their homes, probably to worry about their own mysterious bathroom objects. Scott closed the door, and gave a smile. Confusing though the morning had been, working up a sweat always made him feel better. A strange urge overtook him for a moment. There was no one around, so he lifted up his arm and took a deep whiff of his pits. It smelled fantastic. He looked forward to working up more of a sweat later on.
He went about the rest of his day mostly as normal, pausing only to do short bouts of exercise, wondering just what on earth that thing in his bathroom could possibly be used for.