The stench was the first thing I noticed as I crept stiffly down the creaking, decaying steps that led into the dark cellar. It punched me in the face like a boxer with weights in his gloves. I hesitated, having second thoughts, as I knew that this was a place of torment and torture, and I had gathered that from just the smell!
I was nearly at the door to the cellar now. Dust stung my eyes and got down my throat like the choking wrath of a swarm of locusts. The crimson wallpaper on either side of me was peeling off like a snake shedding its skin, revealing grey plaster that crumbled at a touch of a finger. The whole place was gradually falling to pieces after years of neglect and decay. Mould hung to the cracks and holes in the wall and floor like algae in a fish tank. I slowly, deliberately placed my hand on the door handle, twisted down, pushed and the door creaked open, clicking and cracking like someone’s joints when they have arthritis. I peered around the door, and a thousand years couldn’t have prepared me for what I saw...
...A child, dirty and streaked with dust and tears, its hair matted and wild, eyes full of pain and anger, was sitting in a barred cot with its knees up to its chin. Its ribs were jutting out and its nails were rugged and filthy. It screamed at me, and I jumped, startled by the sound. Footsteps sounded upstairs. Boom, boom, boom, boom. I turned and ran. I was a frightened rabbit finding itself in a wolves den. I thumped back up the stairs and sprinted on. The walls seemed to close in on me so I couldn’t breathe as the stench of death and decay seemed to loiter in my nostrils, choking them to death for fun. I saw the light of day so I made a break for freedom like a hawk out of a cramped and solitary cage, away from the stink, the screaming child and the peeling, dead walls and the keepers of the child.
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