A single light bulb flickered dismally as it swung slowly above Mary’s head, causing the shadows to slither across the walls of the cold, windowless room. She stared silently behind paralyzed eyes, her hospital gown crumpled after her first night’s stay in her cell and her matted hair clinging to the dirty skin of her face. But she made no move to wipe it from her view. There was no point in moving, in struggling. She had been restrained since she arrived, first to her bed throughout the night and now here, to the hard wooden arms of the chair as she sat forcibly facing the frigid doctor across from her. Sitting straight in his crisp white medical jacket, he said nothing as he wrote intently in his notes. Mary watched the pen fly furiously across the paper until, finally, he set it down and pushed the thin wire glasses up on his face and raised his eyes to hers.
The session had begun an hour ago and he cast an irritated look across the table. The only sound between them was that of the recorder as the ribbon twisted through its gears in an attempt to capture the accounts of the night before. As it reached the end of the reel, he snapped the Stop button and hit Rewind. The ribbon squeeled in protest as it was forced back to its starting point before he pushed Record again. “I need you to tell me what happened in that basement.” But his intimidating glare did nothing to move Mary. What had taken place in the darkness was far worse than anything he could unleash. She said nothing. They wouldn’t believe her anyway. No one did. That’s why she had been brought to this miserable place, because she was crazy. But she wasn’t. She hadn’t made anything up. She had not self mutiliated herself as they were all claiming.
They never should have moved into that house. Something had been waiting for them. It began with the voice, coming in the middle of the night, waking her with its soft calming whisper. Alone in the darkness she was first afraid at what was with her in her room but the soothing tone enticed her out from under the warmth of her blankets to “Come and see.” Stopping at the threshold of her room, she peered toward the dimly lit staircase at the end of the hall. Using her hand along the wall to guide her, she followed the whisper as it led her down the stairs, through the living room and into the kitchen. It was here that she had stopped, her bare feet tingling as she stood on the cold linoleum in front of the basement door. The sweet voice beckoned from the other side, “Come and see.” But when she couldn’t move, her resistance provoked the presence and the door resounded against an ear shattering blow as it shook within its frame. She staggered back in horror as the voice now hissed. Stumbling in the dark, she backed out of the kitchen and ran for her room.
Each night the whispers came, and each night she hid under her covers in hopes that they would go away. She had gone to her parents but was scolded for making up such horrible stories. She had pleaded for them to listen, but they refused, telling her she was never to talk about such nonsense again. She did as she was told, and to her surprise, the whispers stopped. Weeks passed without incident when her parents chose to let her stay home while they went out. Standing in the front hall, her father gave a last look back over his shoulder, reminding her with a stern look. There was to be no problems. She locked the door and watched them pull from the drive. In the sudden realization that she was alone, her eyes couldn’t help but wander to the kitchen and the basement door which stood just inside.
Wanting a distraction, she settled in on the couch to watch TV. Then within the background noise she heard it. That soft familiar whisper. Barely audible, she lowered the volume for a better listen. But there was nothing. Convinced she was just scaring herself, she turned it up just a bit louder than before and pushed the thought from her mind. Again, more whispering. Soft at first, but as she ignored it, it grew in competion with the chatter on TV until, finally, she clicked the console off in frustration. As the characters disappeared, so did the whispers and she sat in silence, afraid to move. Her eyes wandered back to the kitchen and within the shadows, she heard the lock on the basement door disengage and the slow creaking sound of the hinges filled the kitchen. She couldn’t take her eyes off the darkness. Surely she had to be hearing things. The basement door was closed. Wasn’t it?
Forcing herself up from the couch she took slow and steady steps to the doorway of the kitchen. Standing still for just a moment, she brought up a shaky hand and eased it into the blackened room, feeling frantically along the wall for the light. Relieved to find it, she flipped the switch and trepidation consumed her as the kitchen exploded with light. The basement door stood open. She held her breath in anticipation of what would be coming up the stairs, but nothing happened. The whispering had stopped. She waited endlessly for another sign but she did not get one. She knew what she had to do. She had to close it. Inching across the kitchen, her muscles tightened in resistance to the task. Each step closer made it harder to breathe. Now standing within reach of the doorknob, her hand trembled as she reached out to grab it, quickly slamming the door back into its frame.
She only felt slightly better with it closed, but she couldn’t walk away. As she stood frozen, the door exploded with the sound of splintering wood and, though she tried to turn and run, she could not escape. She was thrown to the ground and immediately began crawling away, but it was too late. In one swift movement, the entity had her hair entangled in its invisible grip and she could feel herself being dragged backwards. Toward the voice. Toward the darkenss. She tried desperately to grab on to anything, digging her nails frantically in to the floor until they fractured under the pressure of her grasp. As she reached the stairs, in the split second before darkness took over, she fought for a glimpse at what she was about to face. But she saw nothing. Screaming vehemently, she was wrenched into the abyss and the door swung fiercly closed behind her. She was gone.
“Mary.” The doctor’s voice jarred her back to the present. To the restraints. Still, she said nothing. Instead, a formidable smile slowly crossed her face and an unsettling laugh escaped her lips as she peered at him through cold spiritless eyes. Why must he insist on calling her that? The darkness had come up from the depths of the basement. It had conquered. It was in control. Mary wasn’t here anymore.
© Olivia Wolfe ~ 2012