The Basement (Part 7)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

All I could breath in was soil and decay. My ears were ringing, partly deafening me. I went over to my wife and pressed my back against the door too. A part of me didn’t think this flimsy wood would keep the skeletons back.

‘Are you hurt?’ Raven asked me.

‘I don’t think so…’ I trailed.

I was in too much shock to be thinking clearly. I tried to listen through the door, but the sounds were muffled. I reached for Raven’s hand and held it tightly. We listened and waited for the skeletons. A minute later, we heard banging and groaning. The door vibrated along our backs.

‘Let’s make a run for it. We can lose them in the cellars,’ Raven spoke.

Arming herself once again with the bits of coffin lid she had tossed aside, my wife walked a few steps then broke in a jog. I followed, not sure what else to do but thinking that Raven might be right. The cellars were a twisted maze and we should easily reached the house again before the skeletons got anywhere near us.

We headed back through the dirt tunnel, not talking just concentrating. Images flashed by me; the cloth rags around the bones, the shuffling footsteps, the grinning jaws, the missing teeth. The crumbled skeletons piling at my feet and Raven, my amazing woman, fighting then and taking so many down.

Why had they attacked us? How had they come to life? I had thought the house might be haunted…by ghosts and normal creepiness, but this? Animated skeletons in the basement? My brain was getting tried trying to answer those questions and more. My body was aching all over and the torch felt so heavy in my hand.

From behind us, the door broke down, sending a cloud of dirty towards us. I stole looks back and saw the skeletons pulling themselves out of the debris. At the back of my mind, I had been hoping that the door would stop them. Maybe, there’d been some magic seal or something that would stop them and trap the skeletons like before when we hadn’t entered.

Raven raced ahead of me and her torch light become just a dot. I tried to pick up speed, but I was too tried. Slowly and without wanting to, I came to a stop. Doubling over, I tried to breath but my throat was burning. Everything seemed to spin around me, waving in and out of focus like fast changing storm clouds. I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from going down.

Claws in my leg, right between the top of my boot of the cuffs of my black jeans. The clattering of loose teeth and clicking of bones, brought the last few minutes back into my head. I snapped awake, twisting around, thinking it had all been a dream, but then I realised I was laying face down in musty soil, my fingers hitting against a torch.

‘Crow? Crow? Where are you?’ Raven’s voice was screaming in the distance.

I took a deep breath and grabbing the torch, swung back at it. I heard the connection of plastic and bone. The tightness on my leg released and I scrambled upwards. Not looking back as I had enough fuel for nightmares to last the rest of my life, I bolted down the rest of the soil passage way and into Raven.

She had been coming back for me and I sent us both sprawling to the floor.

‘Are you okay? Where did you go?’ Raven gushed.

‘I tripped. I’m fine,’ I said.

We hugged tightly and helped each other up. We walked the rest of the way, holding each other as if we had been for a simple stroll around the rose gardens. Gratefully, I hobbled through the doorway and into the cellar.

I slummed down, slipping out of Raven’s arms. Pain was spiking through my ankle. I heard her closing the door and scrambling around.

‘What you doing?’ I mumbled.

‘Slowing them down,’ Raven replied.

I eased myself up  and watched my wife, shoving wood planks up against the door to block it. I should help, I wanted to help, but I couldn’t move. Laying down seemed the best thing to do right now.  Sleep was also good. I shut my eyes and felt myself drift.

‘Crow!’

A hand slapped my face and I awoke quickly.

‘You are hurt,’ Raven said.

In the torch light I could see her face was a worried and dirt streaked. The warrior seemed to be wearing out of her.

‘Not really. I’m okay, just my ankle….I twisted it,’ I told her.

Raven helped me up and I hobbled along side her. We went back through the cellar rooms till I thought we must be lost because it had been so long and everything looked the same.

‘We need to stop. I can’t go on,’ I said and aimed myself towards the floor.

Raven let me go and I sank down heavily like a anchor. I pressed my back against the cold, damp wall and looked up at Raven. She was tried. Her shoulders were slumped, her arms dragging downwards and she was breathing more deeply then I had seen her do so before.

She sat down next to me. Her boots scrapping the ground. She brought her knees up and pressed her face into them with some difficulty given her curvy frame.

We were silent. The darkness filled the void between us. I shut my eyes and let sleep claim me. I dreamed of nothing, just pools of darkness.

Raven shuffling brought me back too. We hadn’t turned the torches out, at least I don’t recall if we did and now Raven was bashing her’s in her palm and flicking the switch on and off.

I felt for mine and checked it. The beam seemed a bit dimmer but it was still working.

‘How much further?’ I asked.

‘Not far,’ Raven replied giving up with her torch, ‘I’m sure we must nearly be there.’

‘How sure?’

Raven looked at me her face serious then crumbling, ‘I don’t know…’

‘Are we lost?’

‘I…think so,’ Raven chocked, ‘I was too worried about you and I wasn’t thinking…’

‘It’s okay,’ I said softly, rubbing her back, ‘we’ll figure it out.’

Raven nodded.

We steeled ourselves and started walking again. This time I paid attention to the rooms, noticing the few bits and pieces as we passed. Twice we walked back into the final room and we heard from the hidden doorway banging and groaning. The door was strangely holding the skeletons back.

Finally, Raven found some sharp stones and we began marking the rooms as we went through them. That helped and at last we found the staircase. Heading upwards, I wondered what condition things would be in, but my mind was really far from that. I wanted to eat, sleep and hold my wife tightly.

Raven opened the door and went though to collapse at the kitchen table. I joined her, noticing how bright it was and how dirty we both were. My glass of half drunk water from hours ago was still on the table. I picked it up and drained it. Getting up, I went to the sank and drink straight from the table. I scrubbed my hands and face.

I got Raven a glass of water and watched her drink it slowly.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘I think so…’

‘Listen, Raven…’

‘I love you, Crow.’

‘I love you too,’ I replied.

‘And this house is just perfect,’ she add, getting up and hugging me, ‘I can’t believe it, skeletons in the cellar! What more could I have asked for!’

‘So, you’re not upset,’ I mumbled into her shoulder.

She kissed me and answered, ‘far from it.’

The Basement (Part 6)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I felt Raven squeezing against me, breathing hard in my ear. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a skeleton was really raising out of the ground. I tried to be rational, there was an earthquake and that was why all the graves were being disturbed. I was sure I’d heard something about that when there were other disasters; cemeteries got broken up and bodies moved about. That’s all it was.

‘Let’s go,’ I said and started to get up.

Raven muttered something that I didn’t hear, it sounded like, ‘keep low.’

We helped each other up then began moving towards the dirt covered stairs. Another skeleton hand burst upwards, showering us with soil. I swallowed a scream. There was nothing to be scared of, I was just over reacting. Grabbing Raven’s hand tightly, I walked steadily forward, keeping my eyes fixed on the door.

‘Oh, Crow look!’ Raven called.

I stole a glance at her and in the direction she was pointing. My wife was a mess which was so not like her. She was covered in dirt and her cheeks were flushed red. Her finger was pointing at the first stone sarcophagus. A large crack had spilt the stone side in half and the lid had moved off.

‘It’s just the earthquake,’ I shouted, ‘Oh no! The house!’

I broke into a run, suddenly blinded by worry. Tugging my wife after me, my thoughts spiralled and I pictured the house breaking apart and falling down. Everything would be lost! All my money, stuff, my life….My marriage….. Panic shot through me and I darted like a rabbit being chased by a fox.

‘Crow!’ Raven yelled at me.

I had no time to respond. The ground give a huge violent shake, tumbling us back down. I hit the moving soil hard and felt pain spiking through my hands, arms and knees. My torch flew away from me; light scattering around like a disco ball. I caught my breath then looked at my wife.

Raven was on her knees, searching for her torch which had tumbled down a hole. Her cheek and hands were scratched and bleeding. Her hair was totally dishevelled and clumped with dirt. In the dim light, her face looked pale, puzzled and worried.

‘Raven. Are you okay?’ I asked.

From behind us came loud groaning sounds which reminded me of zombie movies. Raven was a fan of those movies and whilst I found them okay, the idea that one day zombies could walk the earth chilled me. Trying to pertained it was just gas escaping. I helped Raven find her torch then went over to mine.

Something ensnared my leg, biting into my ankle. I cried out and looked down. Fingers were wrapped around me. I tried to kick free, but the grip was too strong. I bent down, ready to prise the boney fingers off me. Instead, another hand came upwards and grabbed mine.

‘Oh my god! It’s got me! Raven! Ahhhh!’ I screamed.

I heard rather then saw, Raven rush over and began stomping on the hands. The bones broke and snapped away but some how the skeleton still held on to me. I felt myself being dragged downwards. I couldn’t do anything my brain had gone into total panic. I felt the iron grip loosen and my wife tugging me away.

Raven must have been saying something but I couldn’t hear her. All around the groaning had reached a high followed by the sounds of the place shaking and things breaking a part. I couldn’t keep my balance and was constantly stumbling over. I was struggling to breath too, the air was clogged with dust, dirt and decay.

My hand slipped from Raven’s. I bent over trying to calm myself and focus. I looked at the ground just next to my feet and took in deep breaths. This was so not happening! Whatever the hell was going on here wasn’t real. This was a nightmare and I was going to convince myself of it.

Despite all the background noise, I heard the snapping of wood close by and looked up. Raven was standing by a dark wooden coffin and was ripping off chunks of the lid. Her torch was between her legs and she was grunting with the effort but looked determined to achieve her goal. Frowning, I watched her break the long planks in half. She handed me two and I slipped my torch under my arm. Then I switched the plank and torch around. It took my brain a moment to realise what she wanted me to do.

We were surround. The skeletons were all upright and ambling towards us with shuffling steps. Some had scraps of fabric hanging off them, others had shoes still on, a few even had jewellery around their necks and arms. There was no flesh or anything else left on them, they were all just creamy or yellow bones. It looked like a scene out of a fantasy horror movie.

It was a strange sight and one that would stay with me forever. I clutched the piece of coffin lid my wife had given me as if it alone would save me. Though I wasn’t religious I began praying because that was always the think to do in situations like this, wasn’t it?

‘Oh God, or whatever, please save us. Please get us out of this….’ I spoke.

‘I’ll get us out of this,’ Raven cut in.

I looked at her and she was battle ready. In a flash, I remembered the time I had seen her fight in a competition and how she had quickly won. Now, she was holding her pieces of wood like swords in both hands and was fixed on the closest skeleton, ready to swing it’s skull off. Her torch was safe tugged under her arm.

I had been avoiding looking into the hollow eye sockets before, but now I was drawn too. There was nothing there, not like a black spark of evil magic or anything that would allow sight. What was drawing these things to us?

Raven struck out at the skeleton and just as I predicated it’s skull went sailing off, over the tops of the other skeletons. Then that one just crumpled to the ground, all the bones clattering together and forming a scattered pile at Raven’s feet.

‘Easier then I thought! Come on Crow! Get whacking!’ my wife screamed.

She swing both pieces of wood this time and took out two skeletons. Nervously, I looked at the skeleton coming towards me. It was short and it’s jaw was hanging off to the side. I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, opened my eyes then swung back with the plank in my right hand. As if I was hitting an oncoming ball, I swung back with force, aiming of the skull and actually sending it clean off.

‘Yeah! You did it!’ Raven cheered, ‘Now do it again!’

I was shaking and wasn’t sure I could. I watched her take out three more then there was another skeleton real close to me. I swung out again and this time caught the rib cage. There was a snapping and cracking of bones. The skeleton paused then stepped towards me again. This time I aimed for the skull and took it straight off.

‘We need to move!’ Raven yelled with a toss of her head, ‘let’s get to the door and out of here!’

‘But how?’ I shouted back.

The ground was still quaking and the skeletons were swarming us. I had another flash picture, only this time we were covered in skeletons and they were biting at us till we died. If this was a nightmare then it would end, right? I didn’t have time to reflect on that because another skeleton was upon me.

I hit into it, taking down in two strokes. The bones crumpled to the floor to join the others. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raven make a break for it and dart over to the steps. We had been super close before, but we had allowed the skeletons to cut us off. Trying to keep down my panic, I fled after her, feeling boney finger tips scratching me.

Seeing Raven reach and climb the stairs, spurred me on. My foot hit the first step and I raced up them, moving faster then I’ve ever done in my whole life. I heard the skeletons moaning and groaning behind us as if they realised we were getting away. I strange thought entered my head; how could they make noise when they had no vocal cords?

That was another thought for later! Raven was through the door and spinning back to call me on.

‘Almost there, Crow! Come on! You can do it!’ she called.

I charged through the door like a bull and went sprawling on the floor of the passage way. I heard the door slamming shut and Raven scrambling around. I climbed to my feet and saw my wife pressed again the door.

We were far from safe.

To Be Continued….

Toxic Thunder

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It had been raining forever. At least it felt that way. I liked the rain, but I wanted to feel the sun on my face as I had done as a child. I remembered the yellow warmth, just about. The rain was always cold and wet, sometimes it would be a different colour too. When that happened people stayed inside for fear they might become contaminated. Though really, all water was toxic.

They claimed there was nothing they could do about it. It was a world wide disaster and the predicated death levels were higher then the War. That was the price we were paying for chemical warfare, the government said. Still, scientists and others were working around the clock for solutions whilst there was hope left. Everywhere warning signs stated not to drink unfiltered water, to stay inside as much as possible and report all health problems to a doctor.

Today, the rain was a lime green colour which was why I wasn’t allowed outside. Sitting in the window seat of the second floor landing, I watched a few brave people walking the street below me. They held their umbrellas up high and huddled in thick coats, as if that would protect them.

The book I had picked from our small library lay opened but unread in my lap. Since there was no going to school today, father had insisted we self-educate. My two brothers had taken over the library with their historical debates. Father was in the study and Mother had gone to lay down as as the lime rain had given her a headache, or so she had claimed. I could have gone to my day room, the family lounge or the parlour, instead I went to the best spot in the house to see the outside world.

I pressed the side of my head to the wet glass, knowing I’d be told off for getting my curled blonde hair damp. I didn’t care. I watched guards in red uniforms appear and began clearing people from the street. They must have been told that the toxic level had reached a high. A siren began to wail, confirming that. The street quickly cleared and just in time too as the lime rain picked up and started to change colour.

Black rain began falling and in the distance came a rumble of thunder. I tightened my grip on the book. The page corners curling under my fingers. I had always feared storms, but they were worse now. They said sometime toxic rain conducted lightening and exploded. Fires were common during storms and deaths.

I tried to relax my hands, the hard corners of the cover were digging into me. The thunder growled louder, sounding so close. The street before me went dark with only a few dots of light peering out. The lightening flashed, yellow red, capturing the street in that moment. I heard a popping sound and the lights around me all started to flicker.

The smell of gas and burning electricity filled the air. An emergency bell rang though the house, backed by the siren’s call. There was a rush of footsteps and voices. The clatter of things being dropped and doors moving echoed throughout the house.

‘To the shelter, quickly!’ my father bellowed.

‘I’ll get Madam,’ a maid spoke.

‘Where is Miss Victoria?’ another voice asked.

A flash of lighting hit the sky making me jump as it crackled away. I stood up, clutching my book and hurried two flights of downstairs. In the grand hallway, everyone was rushing into the kitchen, shouting at each other. I joined them hurrying into the cellars. My shoulders and skirts brushing maids and kitchen staff.

I tripped down the stone steps, losing a shoe, and my one of my brothers caught me at the bottom. He had to move me out of the way as the last people flew down and the metal door slammed shut. My brother rushed me down the corridors, through the wine and food cellars. My legs and feet hurt as we went further down. Finally, we arrived with everyone else in the last and deepest cellar. My brother hushed me into a corner and left me breathing in the damp air.

Huddling in the dim light with my family and servants, I caught my breath. My mother looking dazed was sitting on a small bed, half hidden by  a curtain. My father was sat comforting her and my brothers were giving orders to some of the servants. I tucked myself into a alcove, hugging my book and praying we would survived.

So It Is

The teenagers liked to hang out in the entrance to the supermarket and he had often seen them there. Today, though was the first time he had approached them. His old wrist watch said it was half past eleven, but there was a steady stream of people still because it was a Saturday night and this supermarket had twenty-four seven opening hours. Coming out with a light plastic shopping bag dangling from his left hand and his other hand in his deep coat pocket fingering the edges of the business cards inside there, he went up to the group of ten mixed girls and boys.

‘Any of you need a place to stay?’ he asked in his croaky, old man voice, interrupting their boisterous conversations, ‘I’ve a boarding house, not far from here. Got nice bedrooms, hot water, food, drink, whatever you want,’ he said and handed the business cards out.

The chatter died down as a few hands reached out to take them and then whispering broke out, as they studied the cards and questioned what to do.

‘Come whenever you want,’ he added before turning away and leaving.

He went home, taking the fastest route and hurrying against the howling wind and stinging rain. Arriving, he unlocked the door and left it that way. He put the light on in the hallway and the one in the living room, before taking off his coat and boots. He took the bag into the kitchen and spilled out the contents on to the old butcher’s kitchen table. There was a packet of biscuits, a small carton of milk and a loaf of bread. He put these away and went to sit in the living room, watching TV and getting warm again.

The doorbell ring an hour or so later, starting him out of a doze. Getting up, he answered it and found two teenage girls and a boy on his doorsteps, each clutching his cards, looking wet and frozen.

‘Come in, come in,’ he said brightly and stepped aside from them, ‘take your coats and shoes off there, please,’ he asked and they did so, ‘come into the living room and get warm.’

He headed back in and sat on the sofa. Nervously, they come into the room and glanced around with worried, darting eyes.

‘Please, make yourself at home. Perhaps, I should go and make some tea?’

Without waiting, he got up and went into the kitchen. He left the doors open so he could hear them talking, but if they ever said a word he didn’t hear it. When the tea was made, he came back in with it and a plate of biscuits. He had to encourage them to eat and drink. After they had done so, they seemed a bit more relaxed and he suggested showing them around his house.

The tour didn’t take long and he invited them to choose their own bedrooms and get some rest. He went back downstairs, watched some more TV and listened for their movements to become still. Then he went into his own bedroom, which was next to the living room, due to his bad knees and back he claimed, and from a locked bottom draw took out a rag and a bottle half-full of clear liquid.

Slowly, he went up the stairs with these items and gently opened the door to all the bedrooms of which there was six. He found that the girls had decided to share a double bed in room one and the boy had taken the other double bed in room six. It couldn’t have worked out better for him!

Going into the girls’ room, he unscrewed the cap on the bottle, held the rag to it and so wet it. Then he pressed it to each girl’s sleeping face for a good few minutes. Screwing the lid back on, he left the bottle and rag on the bedside table and throwing back the duvet, slapped the first girl in the face. She didn’t even stir. Smiling, he scooped her up out the bed, no longer the frail old man he was pretending to be, and carried her out of the room. He took her downstairs, along the hallway, into the kitchen and then in the cellar.

He placed her inside one of the special holding cages he had made and went back for the other girl. She turned out to be heavier, but he still managed to carry her and put her in the other cell next to her friend. A part of him wished he didn’t have to take them both, but things had been so slow lately. He went back into the kitchen, collected a bin back and carefully placed all the things they had left in the bedroom and hallway inside, also he remembered to pick up the bottle and rag. He placed them inside the cellar too, before turning off the light and locking the door.

He went to bed and in the morning, lied to the young man about the girls and showed him the front door. Laughing, he went down into the cellar and found the girls staring up at him with tear stained faces.