I got the thing a few years ago on impulse. A local head shop was closing & selling everything at ridiculous discount. The lamp had been there for ages as part of the décor & I always eyed it with envy whenever I entered. I should explain that it's larger than average. Nearly three feet tall to be more specific. The "lava" inside is the typical red viscous substance but I liked this one in particular because it was the same colour as the original lamp my father had back at home. It's the colour of blood just after it seeps from a cut, floating in clear, untinted fluid. The large glass globe, tho' in typical conical shape, shows almost no distortion providing an excellent view of the contents. It rests in a gunmetal black angular hourglass shaped base, allowing only enough room for the heating element/bulb to rest within.
All this may be plain to anyone who has seen it but I know every detail. Every curve, every line, every nick & dent in the base. I should, I've been watching it long enough. It's what I do in the middle of the night. Just watch. It's something about the light it casts. Or the shadows creeping up the wall shed by the blobs of floating wax. So smooth, so perfect not even the constant rejoining of the masses mars its surface. Shifting, rolling, bubbling, warping, stretching out the length of the lamp then bending back down to fuse into itself like the neck of a Klein bottle. These are all typical habits of your average Lava lamp & indeed this one too. . . during the day. But mine has begun to cause me some concern.
The lamp rests on a table next to my television in the living room. It was an evening not long ago I was walking past it through the house from one room to another when it caught my eye. I turn it on after sunset since that room is usually dark whenever I'm not there & the single red bulb in a desk lamp originally lit to ensure safe journey had burned out. This time the substance inside seemed larger taking up a greater portion of the lamp than usual. At the time I assumed it was due to temperature floating more of the wax inside toward the top & continued on with my business. But the next glance a couple days later proved otherwise.
The blob of wax took up nearly a third of the globe. The substance had swelled considerably but for the moment the mucilaginous mass was just resting on the bottom, undulating slowly. I had a brief image of the foetid mushrooms that can grow to seemingly unnatural size back in the darkest parts of the forest. The kind that horrified explorers find by accident because the things can't (or won't) grow in any human controlled environment. I had to shake the thought with a shudder & step out of the room to clear my head.
The next day I thought to check it again on my way out the door to run errands & there it was, flowing in all it's globby goodness. It had taken to a slow sort of rotation but nothing particularly out of the ordinary. Still the usual size, tho' daylight does considerably diminish the effects. So it was easy to forget about the weird moment the night before.
But it's not my imagination. I know it now. A night not long ago as I walked by I saw it move. Not the usual random & sluggish bubbles & billows, but a deliberate movement as I walked across the room. It... followed me. As best it could anyway within the confines of the globe. Naturally I jumped & threw my back up against a wall in that moment of shock you get when you think you are completely alone & then suddenly realize you aren't. I stared & tried to swallow back my heart which was now beating heavily in my throat. As crazy as it may sound it seemed to almost stare back at me. All the wax was on my side of the globe & plastered up against the glass from base to cap. The shapes & bulges it formed made it look like an open wound. I stood dead still for several minutes, but all it did was slide down toward the base, which no longer concealed the huge mass beneath its rim even in those moments when gravity could completely capture it.
I crept closer again scarcely believing my eyes, wondering what could possibly make it do such a thing. Just when I could get a good look at the bottom it moved again! Not just moved, it flung itself at me against the glass as a snake coils & strikes. I jumped back with a yelp & watched as it thrashed against the globe, splashing itself against the side & reforming again & again until I stepped back. After a while it seemed to calm down. I retreated to the couch & sat.
I must have been in a state of shock for soon I was exhausted & the next thing I knew daylight was forcing its way through the blinds across the room onto my face. In my bewilderment I forgot about the weirdness the night before until I looked up to see the light in the room was being refracted by the glass globe of the Lava lamp directly into my eyes. Everything came back in a rush & I nearly panicked, but the lava was rolling smoothly inside as usual. Or at least what used to pass for usual.
Gathering my nerve I got up to unplug the creepy thing once & for all. Maybe I could use it later to frighten my friends the next time I had company but for now I just wanted it OFF. I approached gingerly but seeing nothing more unusual I gathered my courage & advanced to follow the cord from the base to the wall socket & yank. But when I placed my hand on the globe to steady myself it burned a scorching red mark onto my palm. It was hot! Hotter than any lamp rightfully should be
Burned hand or not I was determined to pull the plug no matter what & to reach under & around the table to get at the wall socket. Suddenly the docile wax leapt to life, hurling itself around the globe, bursting on one side & reforming on the other. Boiling with intense ferocity & all directed at me! A violent, shapeless mass threatening in every way it could something just beyond the wall of its prison. It was a moment before I realized what it was trying to do & I had to move for fear it would tip itself, lamp & all, right on top of me. It managed to wobble the base but after my retreat it calmed & returned to coalesce the foam that formed during the attack. Even normal Lava lamps don't recover that fast when given a good shake.
It was a rough day at work. I desperately wanted to believe the events of that morning were merely a dream, induced perhaps by staring too much at the hypnotic movement of the lamp, but the conical burn on my hand denied that hope whenever it moved. No normal 100 watt bulb could produce that kind of heat, not on its own or against any vial of liquid. I found trying to come up with excuses not to go home but in the end realized I had no place else to go.
There was no illusion when I came home that night. The lamp was ready for me. I gave the table a wide berth as I entered & crossed the room. There in the globe was a gruesome, human-like hand, blood red, smooth, shiny & throbbing ever so slightly. It followed my every movement, as if to throttle me if I turned my back. How or why I'll never know. I hoped I'd never know because I had an idea.
I went to the storage closet. After a couple minutes of rummaging & restacking I found the items I needed & went back to take a place on the couch across the room from table & lamp. It's become a little nightly ritual now. Each night when it's most active I sit... & watch... & wait. With a bucket & mop handy for when it finally breaks free.
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