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Monday, May 7, 2012

Excerpt From "The Pit"

That night I struggled with the events of the day. Sleep was a fleeting desire unobtainable no matter how desperate my attempts. Looking out the window I replayed everything in my head pertaining to the house. I concentrated so intensely and tried to make sense of what happened. Why had I felt an uncontrollable urge to enter the structure which went against all common sense? How could anything so dark and depressing be so inexplicably enticing? I recalled the terrifying laughter and the unseen pull towards the house as I tried to leave. So much made little sense, my head aching with each recollection. The cool air from the window was refreshing and I returned to my senses. Amy, Paul, and I decided to meet in the morning and dawn had crept upon me. To even try and sleep was useless, I quietly moved to the basement and gathered what I felt useful for our first foray into the unknown.
 I gathered tools which I thought would be useful to forcibly enter the structure. Most were old and rusted, saved more for the memories of my grandfather they produced than for practicality. He was a mason by trade, there were various chisels and hammers piled on an old workbench in our basement. Old lime stained shovels stood in a corner serving as convenient stability for an arachnid’s artfully crafted death trap. I shuddered and reached for the large hammer through the thick web, I absolutely  despised spiders. Collecting what else I saw as practical for breaching the old structure, I proceeded to exit the basement. Upon my exit I saw Paul waving for me to come over quietly. Without a word I waited and noticed he seemed slightly distressed. Upon seeing his parents leave for work, Paul reached behind his back and produced his father’s revolver. Any protest I attempted was quelled with a reminder of how dangerous our undertaking was. I told him I wanted nothing of it, I had no experience with firearms to which he replied it was time I learned. He made sure the cylinder was empty and handed the pistol to me to practice dry firing. He suggested this to get a feel for how much force it took to squeeze the trigger and to examine more closely the loading process. After the brief practice session I felt my confidence increase and felt more and more relaxed carrying the firearm. Paul suggested firing live rounds as that would allow me to practice aiming and grow accustomed to the torque after firing. There was an abandoned gas station nearby and we decided there would be best for target practice.
 The report from the pistol was shockingly loud, I recall before firing seeing Paul covering his ears and at first wondered why, yet now understood. My equilibrium completely thrown off from the sound and the recoil I felt disoriented until Paul tapped my shoulder to get my attention. He proceeded to show me a proper technique for shooting a pistol, this learned from his father who was an amateur marksman. Paul explained how to hold the pistol and how to stand to reduce the effects of recoil, he also had me take notice of his breathing. All this formed a cohesive technique that proved invaluable regarding proper usage of a firearm. I fired a few rounds and found myself more and more confident in my ability, although not an accomplished marksman I still could prove to be effective if the situation needed. We grew wary of possible police response to our practice session and proceeded to stealthily take leave of the area. Much to our surprise there was no response as the local police must have been tired of chasing other aspiring marksmen using the abandoned lot as a proving ground. There was no other property around so the risk of injury from stray bullets was non existent. Upon closer inspection, one could see police grade spent shells on the ground amidst the shredded paper remains of silhouette targets. Apparently the local law enforcement appreciated the solitude of this run down junk yard and saw it as an opportunity to blow off steam, and car emblems. Paul and I returned to his house and it was there we would meet Amy and decide how to go about our first expedition.
 We thought of all possibilities on how to explore the house without drawing too much attention to ourselves. It was mid-day now, the sound of the wind intensified with the rustling of the sparse dying leaves still clinging to their dormant masters. We decided to go immediately and seize the opportunity. A majority of the adults were at work and we ran little to no risk of being discovered, and more importantly, missed. We only had a few yards to cover and thus done at a fevered pace. Our curiosity almost a tangible element as we individually crossed onto the structure’s foreboding lot. There it was, almost mocking us in our desire to enter. The house seemed to come alive as soon as we crossed onto its property, and took an even more enchanting appearance with each step closer. We decided it would be best to move to the south end of the house and try to enter from there. That being the best point of entry for secrecy as we would be unseen to any passer by thus allowing time to enter the structure unhindered. Amy had been looking constantly at a fixed point on the structure and I became worried that some metaphysical hold had encumbered her. She would constantly shift her focus to the uppermost level of the structure and would blankly stare until one of us requested aid or a tool from her. There was two opportunities to enter from where we stood, an old rotted door that led into the basement and a back door that was missing its handle, equally in horrid shape. There was a film of greenish slime coating the both of them possibly from neglect and weathering yet we were still unsure of its origins. Paul decided to work on the door leading to the basement as the one we originally tried would not open. We then went to work trying to pry the heavy double doors off by their rusted hinges. Amy was still concentrating on the upper level of the house when she suggested something. I was to place my hands on my knee in order to boost her to the lower lying roof allowing her to gain access to the upper levels. It was then the one door gave way with a groan and a resounding thud, this making the other door easily removable as Paul and I grabbed hold of it. With little effort we removed the other door and now had a perfect entrance to the basement.
 We agreed that Paul would assist Amy, being taller and athletic he assisted Amy with ease and she proceeded to tie the rope Paul brought around a chimney allowing him to climb up after. We agreed twenty minutes to just go inside and search as fast as possible for anything that could be considered useful information. Paul and Amy took the upper levels as I peered with curiosity at the new opening created minutes ago. There was a foul stench emanating from within. The fire of my bravado yielding to an icy sensation of pure fear. I looked up to see my companions disappear into the upper level of the house, time was of the essence in order to gather answers to this dark and decrepit structure. I realized I still had the pistol in my back pocket, and proceeded to make my way down the stairs. I had clipped the flashlight to the top pocket on my jacket to allow me to search with both hands, and this proved useful for steadying myself on the poorly fabricated stairs leading down. Descending ever cautiously, the darkness slowly enveloped me every step. A horrid stench unknown to my senses overtook me and at once I felt weak and vomited. The light displayed odd properties as it attempted to break through the darkness. It seemed as if the darkness itself had its own wicked agenda, my flashlight was hindered beyond comprehension. Thus impeding my search in the limited time the three of us agreed on. I pressed on and covered the basement area little by little, besides the horrible stench I noticed a film of greenish slime covering the walls the same that was observed outside. Strangely, It did not have the properties of mold as one would assume it to be, yet it was the source of the repugnant stench. The lack of insects or vermin was another odd observation made, this was not typical of an old house such as this. Deep primordial instinct must have told them to stay away, mine was agreeing. I stumbled some more in the darkness when suddenly my feet stopped my forward momentum and I fell to my knees. Searing pain shot through them and all I could do for a few seconds was lay on my side until the agony subsided. Running my hands along the ground I discovered something smooth and cold to the touch. Shining my light ,the object was revealed to be an old iron handle. A quick glance at my watch revealed that time was nearly up, I discovered the latch was to another door leading to something below the basement. Here is where I felt the same strange pull as experienced outside the house, yet this sensation was nearly uncontrollable. I found my thoughts drifting, almost subconsciously I opened the door with minimal effort. The hole made from the removal of the door was pitch black, my flashlight now struggling from lack of power simply proved useless.
 There I sat, peering into what seemed like an infinite abyss. My imagination produced horrid visions of blackened, wretched creatures clawing their way upwards from the darkness for my flesh. Foul nausea inducing odors formed a tight grip around my lungs impeding my every breath. Horrid guttural sounds unfamiliar to the rational world were produced in unnerving frequencies from somewhere in that infinite darkness before me. It was then that a crushing depression overpowered me, my senses overloaded with horrid visions and sounds, it seemed as if there was no escape. Upon further contemplation I felt the irrational urge to throw myself into the pit, into the gaping ravenous maw of whatever horrid creature awaited my destruction. A few seconds of agony then nothing, the more I gazed into the emptiness the more disoriented I felt. It was as if no matter how far I ran I could never escape the dark clutches reaching for my very soul. A blast of putrid slime sprayed up from the nothing, covering all in its wake including myself. I quickly wiped away my face and upon finishing I saw a faint light drawing ever so near. The faint guttural sounds now becoming horrid growling of the most ravenous of beasts. I could not resist the urge no longer, I was prepared to throw myself into the impending doom and finally be relieved of my terror. I barley noticed the rushing footsteps beside me when I felt the impact, Paul had thrown his shoulder into me sending me stumbling many paces away. He almost lost his balance in the process slipping on the fresh slime that coated the area. I felt hands grab me about my arms and lift me to my feet, upon seeing my face it was clear that I was panic stricken and lost in a cloud of confusion. After a few slaps across my face I had returned to the moment and this is when Amy suggested we make our escape. We were tripping over ourselves to leave the basement and the horror that ensued. The green slime seemed to replicate itself at a rapid pace, it was as if it was if the house had come alive. The pull coming from the pit, the darkness almost impossible to penetrate with artificial light, and now the slime almost predicting our attempted escape. Time seemed to slow as we eventually ascended the stairs into the fresh air of the outside world. As I made my escape I heard a small voice whisper in my subconscious “Forever shall you despair”. Running through the twisted vines that almost seemed to reach for our feet we finally made it across the street and stopped to rest. I was in horrible shape, I heaved in massive amounts of air and tried not to vomit from the putrid stench of the slime that covered me. Paul apologetically suggested we make the short distance to his house to go over what was discovered. I agreed in between deep breaths and forced myself to the point of muscle failure in order to be on safer grounds. We reached his house and I collapsed into the freshly mown grass, the smells helping to alleviate the horrid stench left by the slime which was oddly evaporating in the sunlight. The sunlight felt relaxing upon my skin, my eyelids grew heavy and could not stay awake any longer. I passed out there in the lawn still contemplating my near demise and the words whispered in my subconscious as I succumbed to my exhaustion, Forever shall you despair……

This was an excerpt from my horror short story. If you are intrigued, you may learn more about it at the link below:

This was a labor of love, and somewhat an aid in mourning. I had lost an old friend from my hometown in New York and this just happened out of nowhere really.
I had a lot of fun writing it and I tried to pay homage to my friend by making him a central character. The motif is basically a memoir with a supernatural twist. I also wished to pay homage to my two favorite horror authors, H.P. Lovecraft and William Hope Hodgson. I will elaborate more on these two authors soon, and why they are crucial components of the horror genre. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

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