Unseen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


Jake has been held captive for 12 long, miserable years. His family has kept him locked in the basement and subjected him to unbearable torture while worse creatures haunt him in the darkness. On
the anniversary of his imprisonment, his world begins closing in on him. Can he find the truth before he drowns in darkness?

Submitted: May 21, 2018

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Submitted: May 21, 2018

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It was February 27th, and I was wondering when my family would finally kill me. They routinely circled like vultures on the anniversary of my imprisonment, when their shame reached its apex.

I paced along the walls of my dark confines, feeling anxiety crawling under my skin, knowing they would be here soon. I had been their captive for 12 long, miserable years. The sunlight would melt my flesh if it ever graced my skin again.

Voices.

I could hear them gathering at the top of the stairs which led to my prison. The impossibly faint hope that they might have finally forgotten about me faded away, leaving dread in its wake.

Mother’s voice cut through the still air, her shrill bark scraping my eardrum. If anyone were to kill me, it would be her. She could barely stand the shame I brought her, although killing me would conflict with her God’s rules. A God who wanted all the killing for Himself.

Griff seemed to be drawing Mother’s ire at that moment. I heard the familiar sound of Mother’s hand bouncing off the back of his head as he lead the procession down the stairs. My younger brother was an idiot, a cruel idiot. He loved seeing me in captivity as it provided his ego with the assurance of his superiority. I didn’t believe he would ever kill me simply because torture was just too fun, but then again, I’d never known him to think ahead.

They reached the reinforced door which opened into my room. It was a small room in our family home’s dank basement. The wet, mould infested concrete foundation formed two walls with the remaining two made of old red brick. Embedded at the top of the longest of the concrete walls, was a small window with metal bars running across it. Even if I could have removed the metal bars, the window would have been too small for my body to squeeze through.

On the thick wood plank ceiling, there was a single, dim light bulb hidden behind a metal grate. For the first few years, every time the bulb burned out I had screamed until I lost my voice and pounded on the door until nearly every bone in my hands were broken. The dark terrified me and in this place it was absolute. It invited beings far worse than even my family into this prison.

My childhood bed was in the far left corner and took about a quarter of the space afforded to me. When I slept on my back, my legs hung over the end, and my feet touched the ground. It was far too small for a 26-year-old.

In the opposite corner of the room, there was a filthy toilet and steel faucet. There had been a small square mirror on the wall above the faucet, but I had weaponized it years ago, breaking off a full-length rectangle at the base to make it less noticeable and then breaking this piece diagonally using the edge of the brick wall near the door frame, leaving me with two blades. I had concealed the blades for months until the day I’d had enough of Griff’s torture.

On that day he had decided to have a little fun by duct taping me to a heavy wooden chair and testing out Father’s power tools. I was squirming and hopelessly screaming for help as he used a die grinder to turn some of my front teeth to dust, the nauseating smell of burning teeth filling my nostrils. After some time of blinding pain, I had begun trying to slide my arm through the sweat-drenched duct tape, ripping the hair out of my arm but succeeding in making the tape roll and stick onto itself. Once finished with my incisors he had set his sights on the webbing beneath my tongue. As he brought a reciprocating saw up to my mouth, I managed to slide beyond the tape shackle and reach into the mattress for one of my blades. I plunged it deep into his neck, twisting it as a fountain of dark blood shot out of him. I couldn’t wait to see him die but I enjoyed every moment, studying the shocked expression on his face as he began to fade.

I hadn’t felt joy since.

After this incident, they removed anything that might serve as a weapon from my room: books, toys, toothbrush, and of course every speck of that mirror.

Because of it, I hadn’t seen my face in 9 years. Who was I? Who had I become? Was I the monster they had made me out to be?

I heard the fumbling of keys and the clunking of metal as they unlocked the three door locks. I knew the sounds of each lock by heart; they had been burned into my mind.

I slowly backed away from the door and sat on my bed. The door’s hinges squeaked as it was pulled open.

Griff ran in wielding a nail covered baseball bat, his eyes wide like those of a greyhound about to be unleashed on its prized rabbit. He quickly glanced around the room and spotted me.

“There he is, Mother!” he said, pointing at me with his ridiculous weapon.

Griff had grown a lot since I had last seen him. He was sporting a muscular frame, and the first hints of stubble were poking through his cheeks. He could easily overpower my small, malnourished body even though I was the eldest.

Mother peeked her head around the door until she saw me safely tucked away in the corner on the bed, then stepped in slowly. She had something in her hands.

Hair clippers.

“You know the drill. Sit on the ground, face the wall and keep your fucking mouth shut.” said Mother, with a tone conveying the inconvenience caused by my continued existence.

Griff ran over and shoved me to the ground. I felt my knees burn as they ripped open on the concrete floor. I didn’t put up a fight; I knew it would only make things worse. Instead, I studied every moment, ammunition for my next escape.

The clippers began to hum, and she proceeded to forcefully shave my head, taking bleeding chunks of scalp along with patches of hair. Meanwhile, Griff stood over me, rapping the bat on the concrete wall in an attempt to make me jump, causing more of my scalp to be maimed.

On one of the bat’s strikes, I noticed that a nail had dislodged and fallen onto a pile of hair and flesh near my right knee. I pretended to flinch and grabbed it with my right hand, squeezing it so tightly that I felt it penetrate my palm. At that moment it was difficult to conceal the smile that was begging to take control of my lips.

The clippers went quiet.

“You little piece of shit!” screamed Mother.

I froze.

The clippers exploded on the concrete floor, less than a foot away from me.

“Fucking battery’s dead! Oh well, good enough. How’s your brother look, Griff?” asked Mother.

“I didn’t think you could make him look any worse, but you managed.” he answered, snickering.

“Next time you do it.” she retorted.

My head wounds were throbbing, and my eyes were covered with blood, hair, and tears, but I had the nail.

“Clean this shit up, we wouldn’t want our little escape artist to have any tools now would we?” said Mother.

“Let him run! Then we’ll have an excuse to cut him down.” said Griff.

She didn’t reply, but I could sense that what he said made her smile.

Mother walked out of the room, leaving the door open. I glanced back at her, as Griff was kicking razor components out through the doorway. She walked halfway up the narrow stairs then stopped.

“Oh, and make sure you get the fucking nail in his hand.” she said.

My heart stopped. Mother had managed to destroy every ounce of hope I could siphon from the outside world.

Griff looked at me, then rushed over and kicked me in the chest, sending me on my back. He stood over me with his hand out.

“Out with it.” he said.

My hands began to shake as I considered using the nail to stab him in the foot and make my escape.

“I dare you to do it.” said Griff, leaning closer to my face, grinning.

I opened my hand, and he ripped the nail out of my palm. He pulled something out of his pocket and placed it the pool of blood that had formed where the nail had been. It was a crumpled photograph.

“In case you forgot...” he said.

I began unravelling it as Griff kicked a few more clipper fragments and headed out of the room, slamming the heavy door behind him.

I was finally alone.

Then the light went out... and I wasn’t.

“WHY DO THEY INSIST ON REMINDING YOU WHY YOU’RE HERE?” screamed a voice, from the darkness.

The deep, raspy voice enveloped me, causing my entire body to tremble.

“I want to go home.” said another voice.

The second voice seemed to belong to a young boy. He sounded frightened; he had been crying.

I sat up, teeth chattering violently. I wanted to scream for help, at the very least someone might turn the lights on to shut me up or to illuminate the room as they beat me into silence, but I couldn’t utter a syllable.

A dim orange glow appeared in the opposite corner of the room and slowly brightened. It seemed to be focused yet it flickered like a spotlight made of candles.  Inside the circle of light, I could see a shadowy figure forming. Despite the increasing brightness, the figure remained utterly dark. I could only make out its outline which looked like it could have belonged to a tall man with his head tilted. It was studying me, its silent gaze pulling me in against my will.  

The creature shrieked loudly, the horrible sound seemingly coming from within me, forcing its way out like a power drill piercing my inner ears. I covered my ears and screamed from the pain.

The dreadful sound was akin to something I’d heard before; the yelp from my childhood Golden Retriever, Ralph. Father had slowly backed over him with his truck as punishment for an escape attempt. I thought of Ralph more and more with every passing day; he was the only creature on this Earth that seemed to have ever loved me. His thick fur and goofy face, which constantly brimmed with joy at the sight of me, was the only comfort I had when darkness began uncovering unimaginable torment. His horrible end ate at me, replaying over and over in my mind as I tried to sleep. He died because I loved him. It was a debt I had to settle.

The dark shape’s head suddenly straightened and the sound stopped abruptly. The figure then bolted out of the circle of light and into the dark. I frantically searched the darkness for a trace of the creature as the dim glow quickly faded to black. I expected to feel the creature’s touch as I stopped and stood still, my heartbeat thundering in my ears.

“KILL.” whispered the deep voice.

The ceiling light bulb began flickering, revealing the man standing over me and getting nearer with every burst of light. The man shifted rapidly until he was directly in front of me, crouching with his face next to mine. The foul smell of putrid flesh washed over me, bringing nausea with it. Even this close, I couldn’t see the creature’s features. The light stopped flickering, remaining on with no trace of the creature in sight.

The walls were covered in blood.

I looked down to find that my arms had been cut open by what appeared to have been jagged claws and the photograph I was holding in my palm was gone. The pain from these wounds surged throughout my body. Before a scream could escape from my throat, darkness returned as I lost consciousness.

#

I awoke in a puddle of coagulated blood on the cold concrete floor feeling dizzy and faint like I’d been spun around on a carousel for hours blindfolded. I slowly sat up, looking towards the tiny window to get an indication of how much time had passed. The outside world was draped in the night sky; I’d been asleep for several hours.

I crawled to the faucet, nearly tipping over several times, and turned it on. Frigid water rushed out onto the floor and splashed up onto my fragile figure. I shivered violently as I doused the bloody globs coating my arms. Diluted blood ran all the way to the centre of the room towards the drain. The chunky runoff accumulated, impeded by the lumps of hair and scalp.

Once, the clogged drain had almost been my salvation. A few years into my imprisonment I had stuffed it, and the crack underneath the door, with my clothes, then turned the faucet on, filling the room with water. Several feet had accumulated when Mother came downstairs to throw table scraps into my room. As she began opening the door, the water rushed through the gap and knocked her to the ground. I hung onto the metal bars covering the small window until the water had spread out onto the basement floor, then ran past her and up the stairs. Once in the kitchen, I scooped up a loaf of bread off the counter and dashed for the front door.

I was met with the painful brightness of the sun and the overwhelming sounds of a world that had continued without me. The shock to my senses had nearly caused me to run back inside, but I successfully fought the impulse. I started off running again until excruciating cramps seized my weak legs. I fell onto the lawn and began rubbing my calves vigorously to loosen the muscles when Father pulled up in the driveway. A new dose of adrenaline shot through me as I saw the look on his face. I began crawling as fast as I could, yelling at my legs to start working again but he jumped out of his truck and cornered me. He stood over me, ordering me to get back in the house immediately; I would not obey. I slowly regained the use of my legs and stood to face him. As he continued yelling, pointing me back inside, I kicked him as hard as I could in the testicles and felt them rupture as they were crushed against his pelvic bone.

It was a smidgen of justice for Ralph.

I leaped over his collapsing body and made it a few yards onto the road when Mother came rushing out of the house; she was soaked and furious. I had never seen her move so fast. She tackled me from behind onto the pavement, scraping my body like cheese against a grater, then dragged me back inside. I screamed as loud as I could, hoping a neighbour or passerby would hear me, but even if they had heard, they hadn’t helped.

As I continued to rinse the blood off my body, I attempted to rationalize what had happened earlier in the dark. Lost in my thoughts, the labored creaking produced by the door at the top of the stairs opening made me flinch. Judging by the sound of the light footsteps that followed, I guessed that Mother was back, but she had never come down at night before. With all this time lost it felt like I had just seen her. I quickly turned the faucet off and listened in fearful anticipation.

Gentle footsteps made contact with the concrete floor and resonated in the quiet basement. I waited for Mother to open the door or say something, but she remained still and silent near my prison door.

After a few minutes of agonizing silence, I spoke.

“Mother?”

No response.

I could see the shadows of her feet under the door, so I pressed myself to the floor to see what she was doing.

She was barefoot.

I inched closer until I was within a few inches of the door. Her toenails were dark yellow, flaky and covered in patches of fungus. Something seemed to be squirming under the nails, and a putrid cheese-like stench wafted over me, making me retch.

There was a loud bang, as loud as a shotgun going off. I jumped up and ran back to my bed, heart pounding. A hoarse, cruel laugh came from the other side of the door followed by another loud bang. I could hear liquid dripping faster and faster from behind the door. Thick, rust coloured blood began to run through the crack below and into the room.

This hellish creature was using its face as a battering ram.

Another loud bang shook the door. The blood ran faster, now reaching the pool that had previously accumulated around the clogged drain.

“Jake?” called a tortured woman’s voice.

I remained on my bed, holding my knees to my head. I was trapped and unarmed, the feeling of complete helplessness had me frozen.

There was a shuffling sound followed by the screech of tortured metal as the creature ripped the three locks apart. The three simple notes that had preceded Hellish torture over 12 years of incarceration were now distorted into a banshee’s funeral hymn.

The door creaked open by a few inches. I couldn’t see anything in the opening, but the shadows from the creature’s feet remained underneath the door.

“The door’s open. Don’t you want to leave?” asked the boyish voice that had spoken to me earlier.

As I searched the room for the source of the voice, I realized that the streaks of blood that had covered the walls were now bloody arrows pointing to the door. I felt my fingers tingling, and my chest tightening as my heart went into overdrive.

“GET OUT!” screamed the shadowy figure, its deep growl shaking my body.

I was crying from fear, exhaustion, and confusion, holding myself tightly in a ball.

“Quick, we don’t have much time!” yelled the boy’s voice.

“Who are you?” I asked, the words barely escaping my clenched jaw.

Silence.

“Who are you?” I asked, although I had not made a sound. My voice had been repeated to me, an answer in itself.

I could no longer think my way through to a resolution; it was time to act. I jumped in the viscous blood and waded hurriedly to the door, determined to get away from the chaos surrounding me. As I reached the door, I looked back to my bed which had been the only semblance of safety for a large part of my life, but it had disappeared along with the entire back half of the room. A wall of darkness advanced towards me, erasing everything behind it. No light could penetrate the black abyss.

I had to keep moving forward. I had to face the beast if I wanted to live.

All these years I had never thought life was worth living, but my physiological response to this impending doom had proven that some part of me wanted to survive.

I turned back towards the door, determined to do away with this prison and the demon who guarded it. I kicked it with force, but the creature stood just beyond the swing of the heavy door which hit the wall and swung back, going back and forth until it lost momentum and remained open.

Most of her head was missing, mounds of it lying on the floor. She wore a tattered, dirt-stained summer dress, which might have been light yellow at one time, with small colourful flowers spread throughout. Only her left eye remained, still open and focused on me despite a thick coating of blood covering it. Half of her jaw was hanging, and her skin was black from rot while pus and maggots spilled out of the many gashes on her flesh. She conjured up what I could tell was supposed to be a grin as she saw the look of disgust and horror on my weary face. My newfound courage had vanished as fast as it had appeared.

She held out her hand and opened it slowly, revealing a piece of paper crumpled up in her palm. I could barely pull my gaze away from the horrific remainders of her face to look at it, fearing she might pounce as soon as my attention had diverted. I glanced at it, then back to her face. Once I was satisfied she would not attack, I looked more carefully and realized it was a photograph. She slowly moved her hand closer to me and tilted her head. I raised my arm and snatched it out of her hand like a snake biting its prey.

I unravelled it and realized it was an old family photo. At first, I didn’t recognize these people. They were genuinely happy, all except for one child. There I was brooding, alongside Mother, Father, Griff, Ralph and a girl wearing a flowery yellow dress.

“Don’t you remember me brother?” asked the girl.

She made a gurgling sound as dark green sludge spilled out of her broken mouth.

I stepped back until I saw the wall of darkness creep beyond my feet.

“Time’s up.” said the girl, choking on the sludge as she laughed.

I tried to run, but my feet were anchored in the abyss. I began to scream and panic but the more I struggled, the further the last remnants of light seemed to be. The dim glow of the basement behind the girl had vanished into an ever-narrowing circle until it was entirely gone. In the absolute black, I could no longer see her or myself. I could no longer feel my body. I floated in eternal darkness until even my thoughts faded.

#

“Jake?”

Mother’s voice seemed far off, an impossible echo in an endless void. I wanted to scream back, but I couldn’t produce a sound.

“I just want you to know that we don’t blame you. You’re still our boy and we love you.”  she said, seemingly holding back tears.

I couldn’t remember her ever saying that she loved me. Who was this person? She had Mother’s voice, but she couldn’t be the heartless bitch who had tormented me for so long.

“I can’t believe I have to lose another child. Please tell Millie that I love her when you see her.” she said.

Now she was crying her heart out. Who the fuck was this woman?

“You’ll be free soon son.” said Father.

“I’ll miss you brother.” added Griff.

Were they all here? It had to be a cruel joke; they were moving on from torturing my body to tormenting my mind.

But they did sound sincere. Could they care, now, after all these years?

I heard footsteps, hard rubber on ceramic tiles, each step bouncing off the walls of a long hallway.

“Good morning everyone.” said a new voice, a middle-aged man’s voice with a forced jovial tone. “Are we ready? I just wanted to reiterate that I know how difficult it was to make this decision, but I truly believe it’s the best decision for everyone. You’ll be able to begin the healing process, and Jake will be free from pain.”

Mother burst into tears once again, and I could hear Griff and Father snivelling as they comforted her.

“Thank you, and yes, we’re ready doctor.” replied Father.

They were finally going to kill me, or rather they’d have someone do it for them. I understood now. It was all an act to dispose of me. They had damaged me to the point where I wouldn't be able to tell a soul about what they had done to me. Damaged me enough that I could be put down.

A stream of emotions overwhelmed my senses, blurring all stimuli as I drowned deeper into the abyss, anchored by confusion and anger. I had to escape the dark immediately.

Then it happened. I heard a machine beeping, faster and faster, louder and louder, and the world opened up to me. A blinding white light overcame the darkness and gradually dissipated into a marvel of colours. The colours melted into one another, creating familiar patterns and becoming more defined until I realized that I was watching myself as a boy, a glimpse into the past from an elevated vantage point.

It was my 14th birthday, at least according to the candles on the cake which was placed on the table between myself and the girl in the yellow dress, meaning it was February 27th, the day of my imprisonment.

We were in the drab kitchen at home, and my parents were standing over us while a young Griff played with a toy car on the tile floor nearby.

“Jake, blow out the candles!” said Mother.

I ignored her and remained still.

“Millie can you help your big brother?”

Millie huffed and puffed with enthusiasm as I sat glaring at her.

My parents cheered and clapped as the candles went out, followed by Mother snapping several pictures with a Polaroid.

“Are you ready for your present Jake?” asked Father, barely containing his excitement. Before waiting for an answer, he ran out to his truck and came back with a large cardboard box.

Father knelt to the floor and quickly opened the box. Out came Ralph. He ran up to Millie, jumping on her and licking her face. Millie jumped up and down, shouting and radiating joy as I remained anchored to my chair, pouting and staring at the birthday cake.

This vision or dream or whatever it was didn’t make any sense. This girl had never been around when I was a boy, and I’d remembered having Ralph for years before I was locked up in the basement. What did these lies mean?

The kitchen began to shake yet no one in it seemed to notice. It shook more and more violently until the walls collapsed and reformed into dimly lit concrete.

The vision had shifted to the basement. It appeared different than the prison which had been my home for 12 years. The room was only a storage area filled with junk as well as the furnace and the hot water tank. The window and the light weren’t barred, and there was no toilet or faucet in the corner.

I saw my younger self, sitting in a dark corner, seemingly whispering alone in the darkness.

The door at the top of the stairs opened, and Ralph bolted down the stairs ahead of Millie.

“Jake? Jake? Where are you?” asked Millie.

She tried the light switch several times but nothing happened, the light bulb was burnt out. She continued down the stairs and into the dark basement where only the dying day’s warm yellow glow shone through the small window and out the room’s doorway.

Ralph sniffed around the basement, happily exploring his new home until he found me hiding behind a stack of summer tires. He barked playfully, his tail wagging wildly. He had made a new friend and was eager to play.

I leaned forward out of the shadows with a smile on my face, the first one I’d produced so far in these visions, and began petting the golden retriever as Millie walked in through the doorway. I slowly looked up, locking my eyes with hers as I grabbed Ralph’s neck and twisted it, producing an audible crunch.

Ralph shrieked and dropped dead on the cold concrete floor.

Millie screamed in horror, an eardrum-shattering cry that echoed endlessly in the concrete cave.

I stood up then dashed towards her. She finally stopped screaming as she tried to turn and run, only making it a few feet out of the doorway before being yanked backward by her hair.

There was shuffling upstairs as Millie began screaming again.

I dragged Millie back into the room and slammed the door shut.

“Shut the fuck up!” I screamed.

But she kept yelling.

I pulled her up and pinned her face against the door, knocking her head against it in the process which briefly interrupted the continuous cry.

Millie began wailing again.

“I said shut the fuck up!”

I knocked her head harder, momentarily dazing her. As she took in a breath to let out another cry, I hit her against the steel door with all of my strength.

Her skull cracked. Blood and a clear, gooey liquid began pouring out of her and onto my hands. She tried to scream, but a confused croak was all that she could muster.

Mother and Father had rushed down the stairs and pulled the door open as I let go of her. Millie fell onto the floor, her head bursting as soon as it made contact with the concrete. My parents fell silent as they stared at their daughter’s motionless body.

Time seemed to stand still, and all hints of sound had died along with Millie. I thought I would be stuck in this moment forever until I noticed that my parents’ heads were titling. Their gaze focused on mine as I watched this vision.

I was completely exposed.

Terror gripped me as I could do nothing else but stare back into their horrified eyes. Their unrelenting gaze was so powerful that I hadn’t noticed I was now in my 14-year-old body, with hands covered in blood and goo, standing directly in front of my parents and Millie’s corpse.

I was forced to experience the next 12 years from this point on, trapped inside my own body, a helpless passenger, incapable of altering a single moment. As I soon discovered, I was witnessing my life as it had actually happened, not through the lens of what had been a severely warped perspective. I hadn’t been in this basement since Millie’s death, but my mind had remained, toiling in the darkness, tortured by a disease, in a world unseen.

Unfolding before me was a hasty trial followed by a lengthy stay in an asylum where I deteriorated further. I saw myself plunging a mirror shard into the asylum dentist’s throat, assaulting orderlies while attempting to escape and ripping myself to shreds until I finally faded into a coma.

I had inflicted pain and death on those who’d been cast as monsters, cast as the family I’d destroyed.

“What’s happening?” screamed Mother, as machines beeped uncontrollably.

I could hear people scrambling all around me as the doctor shouted orders over Mother’s cries.

I had to live. I had to tell my family that I loved them. I had to tell everyone that I was sorry for all the pain I’d caused.

Light flooded through my slowly opening eyes.

Then the light went out... and now, there is only darkness.

 


© Copyright 2018 J.D. Red. All rights reserved.

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