Friday Flash- A Basement Story

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Romeo’s days tilt toward dusk. A sort of reverse Alzheimer’s is gripping his mind and he is remembering. His house is gray, its frame decrepit from neglect and solitude.  Winged things stir hot dust in the attic and frighten him, so by virtue of drifting in and out of consciousness, he stumbles into the cellar. It is like choking on crumbled mummies. Where did all this dust come from?

He pulls a tiny chain in the dark, a string of silver balls chopped off at such a height as to require effort on his part to reach it. The tips of his fingers ignite as they finally grasp the chain and dingy yellow light pushes against the darkness. He is suddenly not alone and the feeling is terrifying.

” Hello?” He coughs and wonders whose ashes are stuck in his throat. Slumping down onto the dirt floor, he stares at the long rows of canning jars. They hold pickled parts of people.

“Pickled parts of people,” he giggles. He lifts one and raises it gently to the swaying light. A bloated clump of flesh bobs up and down. It reminds him of his first lava lamp and the seductive drops of blood floating and morphing in the oil. What was this? A spleen maybe? Huh. A loud crash startles him. It came from an unlit corner.

“Who’s there?” He places the jar gingerly back in place and rises slowly. He sees her eyes first as he swings the light in the manner of a trapeze artist. They absorb the yellow light and burn brighter. He steps over a row of jars and leans his head into the shadows, straining to remember now. Which one? Ah yes, the first.

“Hello, Mother.”

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  1. #1 by Laura Eno on August 28, 2009 - 3:31 pm

    Wonderful! Such creepiness. I love your word choices…”choking on crumbled mummies” was brilliant. Welcome to #fridayflash!

  2. #2 by soesposito on August 28, 2009 - 6:38 pm

    Thanks for inspiring with your friday flash, Laura. Such fun!

  3. #3 by Anticrombie on August 28, 2009 - 9:26 pm

    Strangely, I hear the faint whisper of Vincent Price laughing off key from beyond the grave.

    🙂 nice work.

  4. #4 by soesposito on August 28, 2009 - 10:19 pm

    Now there’s a compliment, thanks.

  5. #5 by garhar on August 29, 2009 - 1:41 am

    And to think… in life, you seem so normal and well-adjusted!!!
    :-p Nice words.

  6. #6 by soesposito on August 29, 2009 - 2:27 pm

    Normal is relative, G. 🙂

    • #7 by garhar on August 30, 2009 - 5:14 am

      No, I don’t think I’m related… ;-p lol

  7. #8 by Anton Gully on August 29, 2009 - 2:53 pm

    Oh I really enjoyed that.

  8. #9 by 2mara on August 29, 2009 - 2:57 pm

    I too laughed at “pickled parts of people”. I love Love LOVED this.

    It’s creepy, and I like creepy. The last line really sets it off for me too.

    I can’t wait to read you again. See you…Friday?
    ~2

  9. #10 by ganymeder on August 29, 2009 - 4:03 pm

    Nice and creepy! Great descriptions and word choices!

  10. #11 by soesposito on August 29, 2009 - 5:09 pm

    Thanks for reading and commenting everyone! See you next Friday.

  11. #12 by dan on August 29, 2009 - 10:52 pm

    Creepy, quality writing. Welcome to #fridayflash. Looking forward to seeing more of your work

  12. #13 by J. M. Strother on August 29, 2009 - 11:55 pm

    So, what, this is the basement of the Bates Motel? Nice creepy tale here. Can’t wait to see what you cook up for Halloween.

    Welcome to #fridayflash. I look forward to reading more stories from you.
    ~jon

  13. #14 by Chris Chartrand on August 30, 2009 - 12:14 am

    This was wonderful. You set such a perfect mood and your descriptions were beautiful in all their macabre glory.

  14. #15 by Anthony on August 30, 2009 - 4:00 am

    Nice and creepy! Enough detail to set the sceen but vague enough to let ones own imagination twist and fill in. Lovely! (in a macabre way)

  15. #16 by Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey on August 30, 2009 - 4:23 pm

    Now that’s a way to tell a story in flash. Nice and lean (and, yes, pickled). Very nicely done. Welcome to #FridayFlash!

    –Jeff Posey

  16. #17 by trev on August 30, 2009 - 4:45 pm

    Loved the ‘pickled parts of people.’ Suggests a tongue twister along the lines of: “If a pervert pickled people parts, how many people could a pervert pickle?”

  17. #18 by Eric J. Krause on August 30, 2009 - 6:02 pm

    Very creepy I really liked it. Great job!

  18. #19 by soesposito on August 30, 2009 - 9:01 pm

    Wow, what a welcome, seriously…thanks for commenting, everyone! And Trev…LOL…and I thought the original nursery rhymes were twisted! Hmmm…

  19. #20 by KjM on August 30, 2009 - 10:38 pm

    I don’t even WANT to consider what the ashes represent!

    I love the images – particularly “…dingy yellow light pushes against the darkness”. A lot packed into that short description.

    And everything begins with Mother…

    Thanks for such a good flash

  20. #21 by Stephen on September 1, 2009 - 3:00 am

    Oh the reveal on this one is wicked-dark! A nice tale to chill the spine. Thank you for sharing and welcome to #FridayFlash

  21. #22 by judy b. on September 1, 2009 - 3:12 am

    The first paragraph is lovely in language and in foreshadowing. I liked the pacing and the suspense and the surprise at the end – alluded to by the “mummies” of the first graf.

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