The Hidden Room

While preparing your garden at the beginning of spring, you find the blueprints for your house buried in the earth. When you pull it out and examine it, you find that there is a room in the blueprint that doesn’t exist in your house. Both disturbed and intrigued, you set off to find the missing room. Write what happens next.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Consider:
The Writer’s Book of Matches

You might also like:

147 thoughts on “The Hidden Room

  1. kathleenmagner

    Loose mortar dissolved into powder when Jess scratched her thumbnail along the seam between the foundation’s bricks. A chalky film coated her tongue and the musk of floorboards reminded her of the box-filled house overhead. The hint of space, however, teased through the basement’s wall.

    “Careful, Jess.”

    Jess rolled her eyes and mimicked the parental tone. “I’m being careful, Harold.”

    He cleared his throat like a dad might have, a real dad. “How many times do I have to ask you about the name?”

    She snatched the screwdriver he offered, the flat head thick and catching the light of the basement’s bare bulb. Scooting into place, she knelt and carved along the right hand seam of the space the house’s faded blue prints implied hid on the other side.

    Her silence wore Harold down, and he began grinding through the remaining mortar. Specks floated onto the architectural drawings lying between them, and a gray frost clung to the dark hairs on Harold’s hands and arms.

    Jess sneezed, wiped her nose on her flannel sleeve, and doubled her effort. “What do you think it is?”

    “Probably a sealed up storage closet,” Harold shrugged, “an old room.” He grunted and bent lower to work by the granite floor. “Could have bugs. Rats maybe.”

    “At least then I’d have a pet.”

    “If you consider a rat a pet.”

    “They’re small and furry, aren’t they? I could name her after Mom.”

    Harold stopped digging.

    Jess didn’t, but she leaned closer to the brick as she worked, the surface cooling the flush on her cheeks.

    “I’m sorry about her, you know.”

    Harold’s apology filled the basement, joining the rest he’d voiced upstairs when they’d arrived, the ones during their packing escapade before the move, along the coastal interstate taking them from her death and into what was supposed to be a new life, a fresh start. His apologies, though, had never asked for her forgiveness. He felt sorry, she knew, but sorry for himself, sorry for his loss, sorry for the mess her mother had left in his hands.

    Jess scrubbed her face with her sleeve, smearing dust with unshed tears. Resetting herself before the seam, she thrust in the screwdriver, jabbing deep but never reaching the pain.

    Instead, a pop sounded, like an opened soda can, and Jess flinched in anticipation of the spray. Murmuring followed from the other side, and as she watched the brick, someone seemed to say “Hello?” before a trio of rapid knocks.

    “Harold?” She gulped down her voice’s startled warble. “Did you hear that?”

    “Get behind me.”

    “You think I’m afraid?” Collecting herself, Jess bonked the screwdriver’s handle against the wall, mimicking the knock’s rhythm.


    “Rats don’t knock.”

    Another pop sounded. Dust rained from the floorboards and the support beams groaned.

    Harold scooped up the drawings and grabbed her elbow. “We need to get out of here, it’s not stable.”

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. run4urlife777

    It’s one o’clock in the afternoon and I had spent most of the day moving the boxes from the van into the house we had just bought. The house was small sort of old-fashioned, but it was what we could afford. My roommate was supposed to be here helping me but instead she said something came up at work and she had to go. I looked into the van and there was one more box left; I walked over slowly and picked it even though my arms ached.
    “I can’t believe I saved this box for last,” I muttered to myself regretting the choice I had made. This box was full of books and encyclopedias that my roommate said that she needed. As I neared the living room, where all the other boxes were, my grip on the box started to loosen. I scanned the room, realizing there was not enough space to put the box. So I started to rush to the nearest wall so that I could get a better grip on the box before going into my bedroom. The box wasn’t even taped and I knew if I dropped it, there would be a big mess. I got to the wall and started to make my way down the hallway. Suddenly I felt my foot hit something and I ended up sprawled across the floor with books sliding out of the box. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought to myself, “why does this stuff always happen to me?”
    I got hold of the bathroom doorknob and pulled myself up as my legs throbbed with pain. I started to look around to see what I had tripped on. I figured it was like a- there it was! One of the floorboards seem slightly higher than the other ones. I crouched down and tried to pull it up with all of my strength. As I kept pulling I realized that it wasn’t only one floorboard, it was multiple. This was getting harder. Using as much energy as I could I yanked the floorboard back discovering and four by four hole. My roommate is not going to be happy when she sees what I did.
    I peered into the hole only to discover a winding staircase. The stairs were made out of stones and there was moss growing in between the cracks. The walls on the sides of the stair case were also made out of stone and they had candelabras attached to them. All of the candles were lit and I knew this meant that somebody had gone down there recently. I knew I should just put the floorboard back in its place and forget about the staircase; but I couldn’t resist, I loved a good adventure. I jumped up ran to the living room, forgetting about the pain in my legs. I saw the box marked “Emergency Supplies”, so I ripped it open and found the flashlight. Turning it on and making sure it had enough batteries, I walked back to the hole.
    I slowly started to make my way down the stairs. As I walked further the hole leading back to my house seemed to be getting smaller. The stairs also seemed to be getting wetter. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, there was water halfway up my calf. As I kept walking down the tunnel, I turned my flashlight on high because it seemed to be getting darker. I saw silhouette of a man.
    “Who are you,” I asked my voice quivering. Suddenly piercing blue eyes appeared in the darkness. “We have been expecting you,” the man said.

  3. Icabu

    Hands still dirt encrusted, Julie held the blueprints up to verify the location of the room that she’d never seen while living here for over a dozen years. Sadness overwhelmed her as she thought of how happy she and Ken, her husband – God rest his soul – were at finding this affordable small farm. Now, as a childless, widowed survivor, she found herself often wondering about selling the place, just dumping their early dreams and running. But, she was no quitter and when her tiller found this tube with an odd copy of the blueprints to their home, her interest piqued.

    She traced her finger around the edge of the familiar rooms of the house, remembering the brief happy years. The dogs died first, then the cats, then the tornado took two horses, six cattle, and Ken. The house survived, but Ken had gone out to the barn to help the animals and that was the last she’d seen him. His body was never found.

    Tapping the unlabeled space in the center of the drawing, she distracted her sorrow and heartbreak with the curious project at hand. She noted that the dirt from her hands just tumbled off the paper, as if it were made of Teflon or some other space-age material. The paper also survived the tiller’s blades unscathed, unlike the plain cardboard tube that held it. The strange, small printing on the drawing didn’t resemble anything she’d ever seen, but she was no architect.

    Behind the solid-appearing wall that Julie Barston faced, Loki and partner Norba looked out at the human X-species. Hovering, they communicated in lightning fast streams. Behind them, pods with furred, four legged species from the house lay in various states of dissection. In the corner, in a vertical tube, was the two-legged Y-species that had been partnered with the one staring at them now. They’d found it lying on the earth after the cyclonic disturbance they’d deflected from the main hive destroyed the smaller hive. The injuries to the Y-species were severe, but had healed nicely over two solar circumferences.

    Loki and Norba grew concerned about the X-species finding their laboratory. They’d been here for nearly one hundred solar circumferences undetected – more than expected, but the species were fascinating. Finding their plans was unexpected but neither expected the X-species to be able to follow them. When the power implement growled against the force field, Loki hit the ‘Abandon’ button and the laboratory dissolved.

    The Sawz-All shook in Julie’s hands, then screeched in a high pitch. The wall crumbled in a puff of dust, revealing what looked to be a surprisingly pristine clean closet with empty shelving.

    A knock at the door took Julie away from inspecting the new space. When she opened the door, her long-lost dogs, Rex and Rover, ran in barking greetings. But her breath caught as Ken stood in the doorway – naked except for her cats Ben and Fred, confused, and very much alive.

  4. Hunter

    I went to the corner of my den, this time, with purpose. It had always squeaked and given slightly under my weight, and now, I knew why. I sank to my knees and felt along the edge of the floor for a handhold. The old, brown carpet came up easily with a tug, and I pulled it back to reveal a square trapdoor with a flat, brass handle. I sat back on my knees and turned to my German Shepherd, who watched curiously over my shoulder. “Well, Len, I’m officially freaked out. This house has always been creepy, with all the random furniture from, like, the 70s or something, but sketchy trapdoor takes the cake. What am I, a pirate?”

    Lenny looked back at me for a moment then down at the door before bending down to sniff it. I took this as my cue to open the door; I wrapped my fingers around the small handle and pulled up enough to where I could slide my fingers between the gap. I lifted with both hands, then turned my wrists and pushed it all the way open with my palms. A cold breeze rose from the black opening and swirled around the room. Lenny started and ran to the opposite corner. “Oh come on, you big chicken,” I said, though a little wary myself. I clicked on my flashlight and shone it into the hole. Stairs led down into darkness.

    I stood up and prepared to go down into the hidden room. “If I go, will you go, Len?” Curiosity had overcome the dog, and he had come over to look into the hole. He seemed to agree, so I laid the blueprint down beside the door and began to descend into the darkness, Lenny at my heels. The silence was complete. I began to move the beam of yellow light across the empty room’s old brick walls, when Lenny began to growl from behind me. I shone the flashlight down at him and saw that his gaze was fixed in the corner I was about to reveal with the flashlight.

    I took a deep breath and slowly moved the light toward the corner of the room. I gasped in fright as the light revealed two skeletons huddled in the corner. Both wore faded bellbottom jeans, brightly-colored shirts, and platform shoes. Suddenly, the furniture that the house had come with made sense. I turned to run up the stairs, but tripped over Lenny and dropped my flashlight. I looked to see where it had rolled and saw that it now shone on the skeleton of a young man in jeans and a leather jacket.

    I scrambled to my feet and began to fall up the stairs when the trapdoor above me slammed closed. Lenny began to whine and bark below me as I threw my fists against the door. But soon became to tired to even scream. I descended the stairs once more, sat on the floor beside Lenny, and began to wait with silent tears.

    A man with a hidden face enters the house from the front door and moves to the left into the den. He kicks the carpet back over the now closed door and runs his fingers along the edge, sealing it. He then bends and picks up the blueprints to the house and walks calmly to the backyard. The man throws the blueprints into the hole dug earlier and covers them up. As he leaves, he places a “FOR SALE” sign in the yard.

  5. Writer Man

    Jimmy stood there squinting in the bright July sun at what he had just unearthed from the small patch of dirt at the side of his house. It was a set of blueprints covered in the dark moist clay he had been watering for weeks now in preparation for the planting of his annual garden. He shook the papers vigorously in an effort to remove the dirt that stubbornly clung to them. But, he soon realized he was going to need to use more extreme measures to enable him to read the blueprints. He retrieved a whisk broom from the garage and proceeded to brush over the documents several times until the print was completely exposed.

    As he scanned the prints slowly, he noticed something that looked very odd. In the center of the living room was a set of stairs leading down to what appeared to be an underground room or basement. He felt a chill run down his spine. This could be the answer to the question that had plagued local detectives for years about what had happened to the former resident of this house, Maria Madrigal. She had disappeared 12 years ago without a trace. Jimmy had always assumed something had happened to her out there in the world somewhere. But, no one, himself included, had ever considered that she might have disappeared within the bowels of her own house.

  6. jcktxt

    I remember looking down at my dirt encrusted fingernails and wondering if I’d scraped them against a rock. Then I saw a glint of metal in the earth and brushing the weeds and soil away I saw something coppery and cylindrical. Perhaps it was pipe? Touching it again it moved easily and so I pulled it out of the ground.

    On the kitchen table, over a layer of newspapers, I examined the thing. It was about the size of a baseball bat, almost definitely copper or brass with fine etchings around it. The symbols carved into the metal looked old but scientific, like ancient star charts.

    On one end there was a latch with a tiny lock. A hammer made quick work of that and then the top was open and a long roll of paper slipped out. Unfolding it I saw a map; a map of the very house I was in.

    Looking closely I saw strange labels for the rooms; a solarium, a laboratory, a tabernacle. My finger followed along with the alternate version of my home. My bedroom was the “archive” and my kitchen was the “galley.” As I went along I saw that next to my living room, which was called the “altar chamber” there was another room, a room I knew wasn’t there.

    This other room was labeled as the “ansolarium” and seemed like nothing more than a large closet.

    Taking the map to the living room I saw this other room was about where my fireplace was. The mantle was made up of rough stone work and looking closer I saw for the first time that in spots there were tiny metal bits driven into the stone. Three of these bits caught my eye as the reminded me of the consolation Orion.

    I smiled and fingered the belt like grouping and as I did the middle piece clicked and moved into the rock.

    There was a stirring in the very foundation of the house and a horrible grinding sound of rock and metal. Before me the fireplace opened, exposing large cogs and mechanisms in the wall and a doorway that lead to the room the map ordained.

    Rolling the map up, I swallowed and moved forward. Ducking under the lip of the secret door I found myself in a small empty room that smelled of stale air.

    To my right and left were flat blank walls of dark gray brick. Before me were three sort of windows. These windows were from floor to ceiling and beyond them was the vastness of space.

    I saw a billion stars and galaxies. I saw nebulas and black holes. It was as if I were on the deck of a great spaceship far from Earth.

    As I walked towards the windows I felt fear grip my throat. The loneliness and isolation of floating in that inky void made my mind contract in horror.

    As I nearly stumbled forward I saw movement to my right. Looking out the eastern window I saw something that defied logic even more than the room I was in. I saw something that must have been massive, perhaps the size of a moon. It was squid-like, a writing mass of tentacles with a pointed head. I swam through the cosmos an undulating behemoth too large to even fully understand.

    As I walked forward something clicked on the floor. A reddish light appeared on the glass, forming symbols and a circle. A claxon sounded, so loud it deafened me. I dropped the map and held my ears.

    In the great distance the monster that swam in the space between stars turned. It sped up. I knew, I knew beyond and in spite of all reason it had been called by that sound.

    I knew it was now coming for me; coming for Earth. I knew I had doomed us all to death.

    Little did I know it was actually far far worse of a fate I had sealed for us all.

    1. Amy

      Not sure if you will even get this comment since this prompt is weeks old, but I just wanted to tell you I enjoyed your story. Other than a few minor spelling issues, it was very imaginative and held my interest. Nice job.

  7. Trissa

    Gil pulled the strap tight around the rotted tree stump. It was all that was left of an old giant in the back yard.

    I had fallen heir to my old family home on the corner of Main and Acres. My great-grandparents had built the house in 1902. It was a Victorian of the grande Italianate style.

    “I remember my dad pushing me on one of those old tire swings back here,” I sighed. “The house came to him after his father disappeared.”

    “Yeah, your dad mentioned that once when we were sharing a beer. Said your grandpa and your grandma’s sister, Ruby, left town together.”

    I blushed slightly at the mention of this bit of family gossip.

    Gil ambled to his truck, patting my butt as he wandered by. “Maybe we’ll plant roses in this spot.” He crawled into the F-150 and revved the engine. The tree stump gave way with a sick ripping sound. Gil leaned out of the truck window. “How’s it look?”

    I rushed to the gaping hole the stump left behind. “Hold it!” I yelled. “There’s something caught in the roots.” I put on my garden gloves and dug through the snarled root system. A battered metal box was caught in the muck and dirt.

    Gil hovered over my shoulder as I wrestled with the box’s rusty lid. Sheets of yellowed paper were folded crisply inside a leather pouch. We decided to undo the packet at the kitchen table. I unfolded the papers with extreme care. One edge crumbled at my touch. One paper separated at the knife-edge fold.

    I felt Gil’s breath on my neck as he whispered. “Looks like a blue print for this place. Neat. We could frame it and hang it up in the living room.”

    I was about to nod in agreement when I noticed something off. “If it’s this house…where is this room?” I pointed at what appeared to be a rectangular area. It was marked as “9 x 6”; the size of a small bedroom. But it wasn’t with the other bedrooms. Gil raised his head, his eyes taking in our surroundings. Then back to the blue print. “It looks to be where your fireplace is located.”

    We walked into the living room and stood before the fireplace. “You know,” I said. “We never used this fireplace. Gram always said it didn’t work right. Something wrong with the flue.”

    Getting on his hands and knees, Gil crawled into the fireplace. He knocked at the back of the firebox. It echoed with a hollow thud. “Sweetie, this thing isn’t real. You try to start a fire in this and the whole house would go up in smoke.”


    He raised an eyebrow at me. “Get my sledge hammer. Only one way to find out.”

    It took several hours and half of Gil’s tool shed…plus a couple of his friends…before we discovered the secret of the fireplace. There was a room after all. It had been boarded up; its door covered with hastily nailed 2 x 4s. A rectangular room of 9 x 6 fitted with a twin bed, narrow dresser, and wash bowl. The bed held two bodies: one male, one female. The coroner later stated they had both been shot through the head at close range.

    Weeks later, I went to the nursing home to visit my dad. Alzheimer’s has taken many of his memories. Still…the day I went to see him, he looked at me with his glassy blue eyes. “You found them.”

  8. mkmjjmmom

    Abandoning the rented rototiller and the half-plowed garden plot, I gently rolled up the surprisingly intact blueprints. I slid them back into the plastic-coated cardboard tube and carried them into the kitchen of the seventy-five year-old farmhouse that my husband and I had recently purchased. We planned to start a family as soon as renovations were complete. Mike was sitting at the kitchen table, hunched over a copy of Hobby Farms magazine, examining plans for the chicken coop he planned to build once the garden was in.
    “Hey there, lazy,” I teased throwing my new discovery onto the table in front of him. The antique barn-wood table was awaiting a refinishing job, so I paid little attention to the clump of dirt that fell off the end when it landed.
    “Oh nice,” Mike chided, but his attention quickly turned to the tube in front of him.
    “What the heck is that?” he asked.
    “Not sure,” I answered, pulling the blueprints from the tube, “but I think they are the blueprints for this house.”
    Mike unrolled the vellum sheets and began tracing the ghostly white lines with his index finger. His forehead furrowed and his mouth twisted as he studied the image before him.
    “I think you’re right, but what about this room?” He pointed at an L-shaped room, scarcely bigger than a closet, extending from the eastern wall of the master bedroom.
    “I don’t know, but that room doesn’t exist on the house now,” I answered. “I’d love to find out what it was, but for now, I need to finish the garden. Why don’t you come out and help me? We’re never going to get those vegetables planted.” Reluctantly, Mike stood to follow me outside.
    When we reached the garden, he grabbed my waist, spun me around, and with a naughty twinkle in his icy blue eyes, asked “why don’t we get a head start on our next project?”
    Laughing, I wriggled out of his grip, but tripped in front of the rototiller landing in the untilled part of the garden. My elbow hit something hard, but smooth. Mike knelt down next to me and we began to dig away clumped soil and rocks, revealing a polished wooden box. Soon we had unearthed the two-foot box. We glanced at each other, neither one of us wanting to admit to what we thought was inside.
    Turning the box onto its side Mike read the carved inscription out loud “Baby Girl Smythe, May 22, 1932.” He then mumbled softly, “Well, I suppose we know why the nursery was never built.”

    1. mkmjjmmom

      Constructive criticism welcome! As a new writer, I need all the help I can get. I felt a bit constricted by the 500 word limit, but then realized that most people blow past it…LOL. I guess I will have to just do the same in the future and not be so anal!
      I look forward to any advice.

      1. Amy

        You probably won’t get this comment, considering this prompt is weeks old, but I was reading through some old posts and wanted to comment on yours. I really enjoyed your story. It was fresh and believable. The word limit is a constant challenge, but that is the point; it is excellent practice on being concise and choosy with your words. Yes, some people do completely ignore the word limit and blow past it, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that- the prompts are intended to be short, well-written scenes that refine our writing skills.

  9. igonzales81

    Jeff looked up at the silhouette of the old house looming above him, then back at the yellowed, water-stained papers he held in his hand. “Huh,” was all he could manage to get out.

    He’d started renovating his grandparents’ old home more than a month ago. Earlier that day, while digging up a broken water line, he’d uncovered the metal strongbox and struck off the lock, only to find nothing but a set of blueprints, which clearly depicted the house. Only they showed that the attic was a good fifty square feet larger then he’d thought.

    The stirring of excitement that Jeff had felt upon finding the box returned as he stood there. His grandfather had been a man who fancied himself one of the last great explorers, and had traveled around the world collecting odd things. Jeff could well imagine what his grandfather would have done with a secret room.

    Jeff went back into the house, ignoring the creaking and groaning of the porch steps and floorboards. The place was a real wreck: sagging and canting, with most of the doors and windows refusing to close properly. There were even sizable gaps at the mating of most of the angles. It was no wonder that the place had a problem with rodents and other animals.

    The attic itself was a long, low room, filthy with dirt and cobwebs, hot as a sauna and suffused with a foul, acrid reek. At the far end he scrutinized the wood and lathing carefully: as he’d hoped, the outlines of a well-hidden door were there. Hands trembling, he eagerly pried the panel open.

    The space on the far side was very dimly lit, and was even hotter than the rest of the attic; the stench was strong enough to make Jeff gag. After a moment, Jeff steeled himself with the thought that it was probably some stuffed animal, then ducked through the portal.

    Something brushed across his face, and he quickly wiped it away. More cobwebs, he realized as his eyes adjusted to the gloom, so thick that they seemed to coat everything in a cottony layer. He took a step forward, and felt something crunch beneath his feet. A glance downward revealed bones strewn across the floor, the skeletal remains of hundreds, perhaps thousands of small animals.

    As he stared, sickened, the shadows seemed to shift. He looked up swiftly, searching for the source of the motion, and felt his eyes drawn to the nearest corner of the room, where a pale, thin column or rod stood propped against the wall. Even as he tried to guess what it was, the object moved, rising and falling in utter silence. Inexorably, Jeff lifted his gaze, up the length of the slender shape, to where it joined several identical columns, and to a hideous visage that looked down at him with eight beady eyes.

    His last coherent thought was that he had definitely found something that had been very valuable to someone.

  10. swatchcat

    Maven liked to hide out in the solarium. When she thought about it, it was kind of funny. She was mostly alone in this big apartment over looking Central Park. There was a small staff that stayed mostly unseen and unheard. It’s hard moving. Giving up and leaving everything behind, starting knew. It was what she had dreamed of but now that it was here, she didn’t know what to do with it.

    She would fill a glass of wine and drag herself into the solarium and wait for the sun to rise. After several nights of insomnia she sat on the concrete bench facing the direction of the park. Leaning back against the wall, one hand rested on the pedestal of the wine glass and the other hung over the rim of a huge planter with a palm stretching overhead. Mindlessly her fingers massaged the soil, cool and mushy. It was almost therapeutic. She dug deeper burying her whole hand stopping when something made contact with it. Instinctively she jerked her hand back. Curiosity compelled her to go back in. She sat up and brush the dirt aside. What she found was a worn ball of paper.

    The paper had a hand made sketch of the solarium and the surrounding rooms. The paper looked like a child had drawn it with a Crayola crayon. A crumpled up sheet of construction paper showed innate detail of the apartment. Slots left open for doors and windows. She was amazed. It was like looking through a child’s mind. She flipped it over and back again. A name appeared on the back lower corner, “By Mary.” Was Mary just playing around one day or was she out to capture top secret information and preserve it in the heart felt version of a treasure map.

    She studied the paper while the sun crested. The sketch implied another room off of the solarium. To the natural eye it was a grey stone façade. She looked at the wall and then the paper. There was logically nothing there. She was too sloshed to go for a closer look.

    Seventy hours later sunlight flooded her room. “Madame, lunch, you need to eat,” the maid voice was concerned.

    “Leave me alone,” said Maven. She rolled over and buried her head in the pillows. Her arms stretching she came in contact with balled up paper under the pillows with her. She grabbed it, rolled back over and squinted at it. “Shot that damned curtain!”

    The maid minded and then left. Maven forced herself out of bed and headed back to the solarium. Mary had drawn little stars on the upper corners of a large stone block that made up the solarium walls. An arrow pointed at it and block letters said, “PUSH HARD.” She did, several times and nothing happened.

    Maven sat on the ground leaning against the cold stone in her bathrobe, knees pulled up and elbows resting on them. She looked down at the sketch and thought she heard child’s laughter. Maven crumpled the paper and threw it across the room toward the fountain and went to bed. What she didn’t see was the stone side open and the spirit of Mary crawl out.

  11. smallster21


    The smell of medicated flesh burnt Nadia’s eyes like the formaldehyde infused rats in biology class that had been laid open and gutted. It was by chance she had found the trapped door. She had been running from her father after she sliced her leg with a razor when she heard the pop of a latch and the stairs flew upward revealing a hidden staircase.

    She flipped a light switch at the bottom of the steps washing the room in a yellow haze, and revealing a row of bodies chained to the wall, some standing, some sitting, some lying upon the ground fiddling with the threads of their shirts. The icing of their eyes, webbed with blue veins turned towards her as drool dribbled down their chins, a mouse tail wormed around the lips of one mouth.

    “Nadia, what are you doing down here!” Nadia’s mother was running down the steps.

    “What the hell is this? Please, tell me that isn’t great grandma over there in the corner waving at me.”

    “She looks good don’t she?”

    “Well, considering she’s fucking dead.”

    The crumpled pile of bones gasped.

    “Sorry grandma. Nadia, manners please. Okay, I was going to wait until you were older to unload this on you, so sorry. So, Great grandma left Haiti in the late 1800s after her father had greatly offended Baron Samedi, the Haitian master of the dead. As punishment Samedi placed upon him and his descendants the zonbi curse.”

    “Mom, seriously! What are my friends going to think! I can’t be related to a stinky pile of reanimated flesh.”

    “Nadia don’t whine like a little child, and try to make a good impression. Now, come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone. So you met grandma Manouchka. This is great uncle Janjak, go on shake his hand.”

    As Nadia slowly extended her hand, Janjak snatched for it and growled.

    “No! Bad uncle Janjak!” Nadia’s mother produced a stick and whacked him across the head.

    “Uhhh, ughhh.”

    “He says sorry, and also…” her mother paused as Janjak continued to mumble, “he’ll be less likely to want to eat you if you lost about ten pounds…” her mother leaned towards Janjak and whispered, “I know, I stopped buying the Cheetos, she’s just lazy.”

    Nadia folded her arms and glared.

    “They seem a bit restless.” Her mother picked up a bucket, the contents sloshed out dampening the dirt floor. Janjak dug his arms elbow deep into the dark liquid, which coated his skin as he pulled out a large shredded hunk of meat. Manouchka grabbed the bucket and stuck her feet in, rubbing the blood across her legs. “Well, darn, looks like I’ll need to restock.”

    “I can’t believe this.”

    “So, you are in the loop now, you can help. You know that boy who dumped you last year? You want to feed him to them?”

    “Can’t they just eat animals?”

    “Honey, if you had a choice between brussel sprouts and creme brulee, which would you choose?”

    “That’s a horrible analogy.”

    “Tell that to your father.”


    Nadia’s father was sitting at the kitchen table when the staircase creaked back, and he whipped his newspaper down. His yellow eyes widened and his teeth lengthened as the smell of blood wafted from below.

    “Darling, Nadia took it so well, I think they like her.”

    Nadia held the back of the kitchen chair trying to figure out if she should pack a bag and get the hell out of there, or stick around and wait for her impending zonbification or maybe…she looked at her father who shrugged his shoulders and mumbled, “Feckin’ in-laws.”

    “Be nice,” her mother smacked him. “I just pray she has my genes. I don’t know what the family would think if she took after you, or worse became a zonbi-pire. Wonder what that’d be like?”

    “I am so fucking screwed,” Nadia exasperated. She stared at her father and then at the knife upon the kitchen counter. Before her mother could stop her, she lunged for the knife and sliced open her arm. As the blood snaked down her arm, her father’s teeth extended and a low, guttural growl reverberated in his throat.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I don’t have any idea what to do with this. On the first read, I was horrified. On the second, laughter. I think I’ll stick with the laughter and puns though. I do have one issue though. I like brussel sprouts. Descriptions are excellent. I felt thirteen again reading my favorite comic, “Tales From The Crypt” You can’t call a story like this, anything less them amazing. Kerry

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Forgot something. Your line, “Mom, seriously! What are my friends going to think! I can’t be related to a stinky plie of reanimated flesh.” is a classic for all time.

      2. smallster21

        Thanks, glad you reread and felt the humor. I was going for scary at first then I started hyperbolizing and jacking it up and eventually changed the reactions of the characters, so it’s edging on satire. Glad I took you back to your Tales from the Crypt days. I read your story too, you like the comic books don’t you 🙂 I remember the crypt keeper guy, but I watched the show adaptations.

    2. Amy

      I had a good laugh on this one. A very interesting mix of gore and humor. I was a little confused both in the beginning, when it says she was running from her father and sliced her leg with a razor (not sure where that’s coming from or why it’s happening) and in the end, when she abruptly kills herself after making some humorous remarks (just seemed like it came out of left field). I love how imaginative your stories are and always look forward to reading them.

      1. smallster21

        Awww, thanks, I’m glad you like my stories, that’s very nice to say. And, thanks for the comments, those were some things I did not think about, and will think about if I turn this into a longer piece.

        So, Nadia didn’t kill herself in the end. Her father is a vampire. That’s why he was chasing her in the beginning, she had cut her leg shaving, so he got a little frenzied by the smell. I didn’t work on conveying that too much, I just threw in that tidbit to set up the ending. At the end, she was conflicted about her family’s genes, and decided she definitely didn’t want to take after her mom’s side, so she took matters into her own hands, and sliced her arm open, so her dad would bite her. Thanks for pointing that out, I can see how I left that to be interpreted that way.

        1. smallster21

          Ya, now you got me thinking, lol, if her father starts on one of his bloodcrazed frenzies, seems more than likely he will suck her dry. Mmmm….think, think, think. Maybe she wants him to suck her almost dry, because she has to be on the brink of death to turn, and then the mother will be all pissed and scold the father until he feeds Nadia his blood to complete the transition. There, lol, I don’t know.

    3. don potter

      I like to think outside the box; oh, that was last week’s prompt. Let me put it this way, you march to the beat of a different drummer –Voodoo drummer that is.

  12. JustAPerson

    Chaos Wonderland
    I made sure the soil was spread out evenly and there were no mounds or anything. All the soil had to be completely leveled out and to make sure I turned my face sideways to get a good look at the profile of the garden. Once I made sure that the dirt had no bumps or mini-hills I took out my ruler and started measuring the distance between the flowers. Everything had to be perfect in this garden, it just had to be. I grabbed my bucket of gardening tools and walked back into the house and tripped.
    “Oww…” I groaned rubbing my head. I looked over at my bucket of tools to see if any fell out, but then I saw something that made me nauseous.
    One of the flowers were ripped from the ground.
    I hastily stood up and went over to the flower. I stopped and saw the little corner of a piece of paper sticking from the dirt. I looked at my hands for a second and wondered if this paper was even worth getting my hand dirty for, but curiosity overtook me. I pulled the paper up by the corner and tried very carefully to not let the dirt get on my clothes. I looked at the paper. A blueprint of the house.
    Well, this is not useful at all, I thought. I scanned the paper then saw something that didn’t belong there.
    A secret room hidden from me all these years, blocked off by…something in the wall.
    So I set off to find the room. I entered the hallway and looked at the blueprint. I was near the door to the room, question was where is it? So I looked for anything obscuring the door.
    The mirror I realized. There was a large mirror bigger than me that completely covered a part of the wall from the floor to the ceiling. Maybe that’s why I never found it; I couldn’t stand leaving fingerprints on mirrors, so I generally don’t touch them. I touched the mirror. The glass moved with my touch. I pushed the mirror a little more firmly and the glass on the mirror opened like a door.
    I walked slowly inside. The glass door shut behind me. I jumped at the sound and tried to open it. No such luck, I could only explore the room. I looked around and tried not to whimper. There was dirty laundry with blood on it strewn on the floor, toys were thrown across the room, and worst of all the place had wilted roses everywhere.
    Out of nowhere, a young boy stepped from the shadows, he had wild hair, but a high-class look about him. He had a suit with a vest and a silk tie.
    He sneered at me. I walked towards him and tripped over a toy. I stumbled forward and fell on my face.
    I groaned once again and tried to get up, but the kid stepped on my head.
    I struggled to get up, but the boy’s foot was heavy.
    “You done yet?” he asked.
    “Let.Me. Go,” I gasped out.
    “No,” he said.
    “Why?” I yelled.
    “Because…” he said. He rubbed his foot around on my head “,this is for your own good.”
    He let his foot remain on my head, “You’re sick,” the boy said.
    “What? No I’m not,” I said.
    “Don’t you know what OCD is?” he retorted, “Consider this mercy from reality.”
    “What? Just let me leave.” I begged.
    “Shut up!” the boy yelled. He let his foot up and kicked me in the face. Blood gushed down my face and I started shaking and looked for anything to clean myself with.
    “Give into the chaos,” he said, ‘it’s the only way to save you. The only way to save you from the tainted purity.”
    “I don’t know what you mean,” I said, “Please, just leave me be.”
    The boy raised his head, “Oh, I can’t do that.”
    He kicked me again. More blood rushed down. I couldn’t stand it anymore, I screamed and huddled in the corner rocking back and forth. I cried and cradled my head.
    Then everything felt okay. The blood and roses seemed to fit right in. I looked up and looked at the boy.
    “Everything will be okay,” he said.
    Months and years passed by and I stayed in the room, plucking petals off roses. I stopped worrying about details and perfection anymore. It didn’t matter. The young boy stopped coming until one day.
    He stepped out of the shadows just like the first day I entered the the room.
    I turned towards him, “Has this been real the whole time? Am I trapped here for the rest of my life?”
    He looked at me.
    “Does it really matter?”
    I looked back at the rose, “No.”
    Looks like I’ve gone mad.

    1. swatchcat

      Okay, been gone a few days, people have been busy, great. This story is alright but could have used another look see before submitting. The beating up of the MC was nicely done. Could see there was something with the MC and your reasoning of OCD makes since. There are a lot of “I’s”, you could probably rewrite a few sentences without them. There is also a possibility of continuity. If he is stuck in the room for months or years then he will more then likely be dead unless you specify food and water is available or that he is dead talking to dead. It leaves open too many question for your ending. Sorry.

      1. JustAPerson

        No, there’s no need to apologize.
        I feel like the hardest obstacle for me as a writer is filling up gaps so thanks for pointing that out!

    2. smallster21

      Geesh, talk about anal retentive, lol, but if the MC doesn’t like dirt, how did he/she plant the flowers? And if some creepy ghost boy was sneering at me, I would not walk towards him. The creepy atmosphere you created was well done…though the ‘worst of all’ to the MC was the wilted roses, I’d think an OCD MC would be freaking out over the dirt and cobwebs or bloody laundry, it would’ve been nice to see him/her flipping out and hyperventilating.

    3. Amy

      I agree with swatchcat about another look-see. It needs an overhaul. There are run-on sentences, among other grammatical issues. I didn’t really feel like it could have been possible, either. Some of the craziest plot schemes have been made into wonderful books because the author has the capability to make us feel like it could happen. I think if you spend some time on it and revise, you can get there.

  13. ire12345

    there it was.a yellow map fallening between my fingers.was what i saw the truth?when the contractor came hed told me there were only two rooms.of course their was and extra door or two but what lay behind i knew to be only neighboring houses.the sun was begining to scorch the back of my head, and my feet tingled forebodingly. it was time to head in.gathering my tools i made a beeline for the kitchen eyes were still lingering on the paper in my hands. when i poured a glass of orange juice, my daughter came fluttering in through bouncing with each step.when she saw me she propped herself in the seat beside me.
    “goodmorning daddy.”her hands he notived quickly were as stainded as his.someone else obviously had ben outside too.usually he give her a good lenthy fuss about what shed done,and why she wouldnt do it again,but even as she smiled broadly, and hid her hand on her lap, all he could focus clearly on was the paper in his hand. his arm gave a curios quiver, and his daughter leaned over onto the counter reaching to touch the edge.
    “ooh.whats that dad!”he pulled back, and told her to sit still, too which she whined, and begged to see the paper.finnally in her seat hed told her it was a blueprint of the house;how theirs a mysterious room on it .at this her eyes lit up, and she bounced from her seat.
    “its got to be around here somewhere” she said. scoping the nearest room.”ill find it!”her dad tucked away the sheet into his pocket, and took another sip of his orange juice. with his other hand he was massaging his neck in the brief silence. now a days it was hard to come by.moreso now that his wife was five years gone.somewhere in the first year hed contimplated whether he should give his daughter up for adoption, but in the end it was the sick feeling in his stomach that kept him with her, and she wasnt such a bad kid, save for her tempertantantrums, and a slight case of adhd.
    “come on too!”she said.

    1. Amy

      A bit of advice: It pays to edit your story before you post it. This one was a real challenge to get through. Basic grammar, spelling, and paragraphs are a must for any short story.

  14. AcCarter

    I cocked my head to side and scrunched up my nose in confusion as I stared down at the blueprint in my hand. While weeding out my garden, I grabbed my shovel to uproot a few stubborn weeds. Mid-dig, my shovel hit something hard. As I dug the small wooden box from the ground it felt light. With eager fingers I brushed off the soft moist dirt and lifted the lid. Nestled warmly inside were blueprints. At first I hadn’t been to concerned. Then I noticed the room.
    Not sure if I was right, I counted off all the rooms a second time. There. An extra room in the basement. I quickly crossed the yard in a hurry to find out what was lie beneath my home. As I walked across the patio my Beagle Charles lifted his head in mild interest. Once through my back door, I paused to flick on the light before heading down into my basement. The basement was a clutter of old boxes, toys the boys had grown out of, and old furniture the hoarder in me couldn’t part with. Finding this room would be better if I had of cleaned up like I’d planned to a few years ago.
    In the dim light, I turned the blueprint over in my hands trying to get a good sense of where I should look. Following the blueprint, I made a path around the unused pool table, stepped over a high chair, and nearly tripped over an un-opened sewing. I ended up at the far end of the basement at the closet in the corner. I set the blueprints on the bookshelf nearby. I opened the door and began the tedious job of shifting aside winter coats and a box of Aunt Mary’s records. Sure enough there was a door there. I just stood there wondering how I could have come down here so many times and never seen this door.
    Curiosity wouldn’t let me ponder any longer. I pulled my phone from pocket using the light to see in the dark. My heart pounded loud in my ears as I reached out for the knob with shaky hands. Who knew what type of things could be waiting for me behind this door. My mind came up will all kinds of images I might see, like bug-infested boxes of junk left behind by the previous homeowners. I hoped it wasn’t something useless like more space for me to occupy with unused items. Most of all I really didn’t want anything to jump out at me.
    The hinges creaked loudly from years of being unused. The stench hit my nose before I even set foot inside. It was like something dead had been put in an oven. The room wasn’t too big and it only took me seconds to see the body lying in the middle of the floor. Of their own accord, my feet moved forward.
    He didn’t appear to have been dead long. The flesh of his cheeks had rotted away to reveal teeth inside. The rest of him was intact. His grey flesh stretched taunt over bone, and his eyes had sunken into his head. He seemed to be asleep. So peaceful yet forgotten down here for an unknown amount of time.
    My heart beat faster as the realization of what I had found sank in. There was a dead body in my basement. Someone, the previous owners maybe, had killed this man and stashed his body in the basement. My breathing quickened and my fingers were clumsy as I tried to dial 911. Before I could hit send, a cold firm hand grabbed my wrist. I flashed my phone down at the body to see the angry blue eyes of the dead man staring up at me.
    “I wouldn’t do that,” he told me in a dark voice.

      1. swatchcat

        Continuity in slight question, but that would be resolved with a little research before writing regarding body decomposition. Also, I had to stop several times and ask my husband if several sentences would actually be worded the way you chose ie. grammar/spelling. It was a good story and definitely could be scary. Basements can get away from anyone when used as storage units. My daughter has a tendency to write as she speaks or as an idea spills out, your story has that feel. Reading aloud a few times fixes that or having someone else read it.

        1. swatchcat

          I think some would say I’m off to a snarky start tonight and I don’t mean to be. I am sorry if I do. These are some things I am catching and if don’t agree or find me to be wrong, I’m glad to be schooled.

          1. AcCarter

            No you’re fine. I like to what I’m doing wrong so that I can make it better. Not my best prompt so I’ll work harder next time.

  15. ire12345

    id never ben much an advocate for the outdoors, and tried to avoid it as much as humanly possible,and yet every morning was surprized to see myself hunched over that damn shrubery.its not like i had a choice though. if i didnt attempt caring for the neigborhood, id end up with a whole lot more “accidental” flats, on my nintey eight hummer. so there i was in the scorching heat; sweat rolling down my neck,and the urge to scratch anywhere, and everywhere.just what i needed , a second later edging her way around the corner ms. jenkins came ambling down the road in her pink rollers looking off into the distance like an observer of nature, but id knew perfectly well the only nature she was observing was that of my lawn.she snuck very quick glances. the moment id looked up, she sputered
    “just looking around lovely day isnt it?”i rotated my head around, and with one hand picked up a shovel on side of me.i didnt have time for her today. the rusted edges scraped against my hand, and i could tell i was just scratching the chalkboard of her mind.i could hear grunts of dissaproval behind me as i dug into the earth.
    “is there anything you need?”
    “ just thirsty.”she mumbled. she ambled away, looking looking back every so often.i turned back to my work plunged the metal instrument deeper into the ground and pulled up a cluster of gravel as dry as the day. when id caught glimpse of of a yellowing paper.i could have just left it their but my daughter came to mind. stories of fairytales and adventures gave me this impenetrable urge. lowering my shovel once more i revealed the paper fully intact, and raised it above the ground.this made me sigh.just the blueprint to the house.but what i quickly took note of was a side room etched next to my daughters, one i dont recall the contracter talking about before.weird. i felt this impenetrable curiosity. i was five again.dropping my shovel, and leaving the cruel day for the coolness of the house i made a straight line for my daughters room.she was sprwaled on her pink bed when id entered. i made straight for the white door ahead of me.this door the contracter had said was just an unessarry entryway that didnt go as planned.if he were right then their should be nothing more than another houses side hand sprung forward, and the knob gave a stubborn jingle.
    “locked” i cried.what reason would they have to do that if it were a useless door…

  16. lunasgathering

    Madelyn couldn’t believe what she had. Before her was possible proof of the stories passed down through the generations. She knew the house had been in the family since revolutionary times. Her maternal grandmother’s line was adamant the house not be lost to outsiders. A Bishop must always live in the house.

    It was her first spring as owner of the house and she couldn’t wait to repair the gardens, especially the one that was her mother’s favorite, the one with the small faery statue. It was under the broken, weather-worn statue that Madelyn found the map. It only took moments to realize it showed the location of the elusive room of legend.

    She immediately grabbed a flashlight from the kitchen and raced to the basement, a room she’d been in thousands of times over the years, hoping to prove the stories true. She flipped on the light as she descended the stairs and could almost feel a difference in the room, as if her hopes were a physical tie, pulling her in further. If the map was accurate, the entrance was on the wall directly opposite the stairs, the wall lined with shelves of dried herbs and mason jars. She didn’t relish the idea of clearing and tearing down those shelves. But she needed to find the hidden entrance.

    A quick recheck of the map revealed instructions she must’ve previously missed, to press a couple of bricks and a door would open without removing the shelves or the contents. Directly to the right of the fourth shelf down, she pushed the brick above and one three below in about an inch. Waiting for a door to slide open, she was startled when a panel dropped open near her feet. She turned on her flashlight and descended the stairs in eager anticipation. Her sister would be so jealous.

    As she reached the bottom step, the light revealed exactly what she’d hoped to find; spell books, candles, cauldrons of varying sizes, and the family altar. She could barely contain her glee as she looked upon her heritage thought lost since the Civil War. She was truly descended from witches!

  17. DredfulGames

    When I first moved into this house last year, all of my friends called me insane. Apparently the last three owners had suddenly disappeared after only living here for three months. Fortunately, this didn’t happen to me and when I was still around in the fourth months, my friends quieted down about it.

    This morning when I found the blueprints while gardening, those old rumors came back to me. The room was even right next to my bedroom. I was more than a little worried, but I needed to know what was in that room. It’s probably nothing anyway, just an old storage space.

    The only way into the room was to smash a wall in my bedroom, so, without anything else to use, I grabbed my shovel. It took a while, but I eventually smashed my way through the wall. And as the dust settled, I saw the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

    It was a bed. A wooden bed with intricate designs carved into the headboard, showing a man slowly decomposing into a skeleton. It had blue sheets and a single pillow. And it was beautiful.

    My awe overwhelmed me. So much that I didn’t notice the wall closing behind me as I stepped into the room. Or the three skeletons lying next to the bed.

    I just dropped my shovel and slowly walked over to the bed. I sat down on it and immediately felt very sleepy. I needed to put my head down on the pillow, so I did. And I slept.

    1. DredfulGames

      Thanks for the kind words. I kinda felt like it wasn’t good enough. There are a ton of things I feel like I could have done better.

    2. Amy

      A great start, to be sure. You could really run with this. I am wondering, though, what is so beautiful about a carving of a man decomposing into a skeleton??? I would have turned right around and ran! Good story.

  18. Breezybealle

    I have left several comments, none of which are showing up. What am I doing wrong? I submitted my own story for the prompt, which also is nowhere to be found. It was my first submission and now I am tentative to even attempt another prompt at this point. 🙁

    1. Amy

      If you are new to the site and have never posted before, your comments have to be approved by the moderator. Sometimes it can take a day or two. Hang in there! After your first post or two are approved, it should post instantly. Hope that helps!

  19. douglangille

    The Doorway

    I climbed the back staircase of my grandparent’s old house. The layers upon layers of white paint adorned the railing and casings. They were only slightly dulled by a thin layer of dust that was everywhere. The oil range in the parlor room and the unpaved driveway made the fight against grime a losing battle.

    I’d been up and down these stairs countless times. We used to spend many summers here back when Gramma and Grampa were alive. I remember the smell of paint, wallpaper paste and a hint of mould. The aged smells of an elderly home made the air thick with memory.

    The oiled wood floor creaked when I padded my way to the master suite. Gramma’s room first, then Grampa’s at the end of the house. His rifle that used to stand in a corner waiting for errant deer to raid the garden, was now stowed in a lockbox downstairs. The view of the garden was still the same even if it was years since a garden was ever planted.

    I looked at the building drafts from when Grampa’s grandfather built the place. There was supposed to be another room where the garden window was. I didn’t understand, any more than I could figure out what a clutch full of old documents was doing in the back of trunk, in the garden shed of all places. I was rooting around there for some hand tools. Grampa used to make his own custom gardening implements.

    My folks died in a most unfortunate fire a few minutes the ago. They left me this place. Well, to my sister as well, but she’s been missing for almost two years. God, I’m pissed at her. There was no way to let her know about Mom and Dad. Her loss, I guess.

    My parents never came here after my grandparents died, and we were almost forbidden to come here. Not outright, of course, just redirected. That was Mom mainly. That was a talent of hers. She always seemed to get her way. You could be adamant in your view, but once she started talking, that was it.

    Gramps room wasn’t empty. In fact, everything was remarkably preserved. Even the scent of pipe tobacco and Old Spice lingered faintly. His clothes and bedding were still here and even though they felt old, they were undamaged by time and a parade of damp cold winters. It was like he was still here. A shiver danced up my spine as I passed through a cool spot in the otherwise humid room.

    There was an odd arrangement that caught my eye. A magnifying glass, old raisers and a shaving brush were placed in a circle on the sideboard table. Under it was a yellowed note in my grandfather’s loopy cursive.

    “Jamie,” it said. I jumped at the sight of my name. “You have found a secret, haven’t you?”

    The conversational tone was strange and I looked around me, spying nothing. The note continued. “Stand at the window and recite the following aloud. Don’t dally, mind you.”

    I was certain it was just me, spooked or not, so took up the note and did just as it instructed.

    “Hidden days and secret nights,
    Flights of fancy and magic sights.
    Time to laugh and dance and play,
    Welcome to the land of Fae.”

    The frame of the window shone with a brilliance and comforting warmth that felt like nothing else I could describe. Perhaps it was pure love, both of lustful bent and of familial bond. It was fond memory and kindness all in one.

    The window was gone and in its place stood an archway. Gone was the garden that my grandfather guarded. Gone were the dusty roadway and the stubby pines. The brook was still there but it was transformed. Where there was dust and rock, there was now a verdant wooded glade and bisected by a now vibrant laughing brook. The sounds of life, barren before, rose in a melodious chorus of Nature’s tribute.

    “Welcome to the Greenway Glade, brother. Welcome home.” My sister spoke as she came across a stone bridge over the brook. “It’s time to embrace your true inheritance.”

    Speechless at the sights before me and the astonishment of my resplendent sister’s return, I walked through the archway into the glade and my new life.

      1. don potter

        A good story knows when it’s been told. Yours was the length it had to be — no more and no less. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

  20. baldjeff

    The Room

    It is there. It always is. I can walk by it, ignore it, and it is still there. Storage, it is the place I can go back to when I am stronger. Tomorrow, never, today.

    Sunday, it is raining. The TV is on and I stare at the computer. Not writing, not searching, not watching. Staring. I look up at the calendar. Monday. That is all I see. Monday. I don’t have a problem with Monday, or any other day of the week. The truth is they are the same, as Sunday and Saturday.

    A psychiatrist would say I was stuck. That I will remain stuck. Until I go there. That room, that space. It should be easy. Get up, open the door and go in. I probably don’t even need to do anything else. Just get up and go in. Well, I probably have to look in it. See what is in there, turn around and go out.

    Sunday, it is raining. The TV is on and I stare at the computer. Nuts. Insanity. Doing the same thing and getting the same results, but expecting it to be different. Insanity.

    The sound from the window, caused by the persistent heavy drops of water falling from the grey cloud filled sky demands my attention. Some moisture is seeping in from the top of the window. Sealing it closed I watch the rain falling on the weeping cherry willow tree in the yard. Soon the pink blossoms will be flowing across the green manicured lawn. Their color will remain for a while before it is drained and blown away. It will have accomplished its purpose. To be there for me when I come to the window and look out at its beauty.

    I can see the door. Black, white, beige. It reflects the nature of its inhabitants. It waits for me as it always does. It waits, mocking, daring, and hoping. Will it even open after all this time, or will it resist. Will it make a sound, creaking as I open it? “Really, after all this time you want me to move, to open. It is not that easy”. “You will have to work a little harder now if you want me to open. Push a little more, want it and dare what will happen to happen.”

    It mocks me as it continues. “Do you even know what is in here anymore? What you have ignored. It is not all bad. Some of it is quite good. Are they what you are afraid of, even more then the ugly in here? That‘s right. We are all in here, the good, the bad, the ugly. Like the Clint Eastwood movie. That movie where he to face it all. The good, the bad, the ugly. Can you face it all? Can you act? You are no Clint Eastwood. “

    I look at the computer screen. There are three words. “Make my day”

      1. swatchcat

        The majority of the story, the looking into this persons insanity or mournfulness was done nicely. It was also the ending for me that turned it in another direction. It was a little confusing and a few writing issues didn’t help.

  21. Amy

    The dirt was cool and forgiving as I plunged my bare hands into the earth. The calluses and dirt-caked fingernails were collateral damage this time of year, but I didn’t mind. It was the only thing worth doing around here. While prying apart the dirt for the last few petunias, my fingernails scraped something foreign. A corner of an envelope was peeking through the soil. I looked back at Miss Nancy and saw her attention was fixed on another patient wandering to the far side of the lawn. I unearthed the envelope and pulled out its contents, keeping my back to the rest of the group.

    Examining the paper, I recognized the shape of the dormitory wing on the east side of the building. It was a blueprint of Elysium. There were also names of each occupant within the rooms. I found my own name, as well as a few others I knew to be patients here. One name in particular stood out among the rest: Emily Rosenfeld.

    “Finally,” Emily said, peeking over my shoulder.

    “Did you bury this here?” I asked her.

    “Yes, I’ve been waiting for you to find it.”

    “Hey!” Miss Nancy shouted. “Stop!”

    Shit, I thought. Miss Nancy wouldn’t think twice about throwing me in containment for having something like that.

    I turned to face the wrath of Miss Nancy, only to find that she was galloping in her heels in the opposite direction, after the wandering ward. Relieved, I stuffed the map in my bra and decided I would ask Dr. Jeffries about it that evening after dinner. I placed the last petunia in the hole and Emily and I admired the beauty of the blooms.

    “You seem preoccupied tonight, Delilah. Is there something you’d like to talk about?” Dr. Jeffries asked.

    I turned from the window to look at Emily, wondering if I should bring up the map. He would understand, I thought. I have proof now. She shook her head in disapproval.

    “Who’s in room 308?” I asked.

    His courteous smile drooped and then disappeared altogether. “That room has been unoccupied for some time.”

    “It was Emily’s room, wasn’t it?” I said.

    He scrawled something on the notepad in his lap. “Delilah, Emily is not real. You must remember this. She is a delusion your mind has created to cope with the tragedy of your past.”

    I looked over at Emily again, standing by the window admiring the garden. His eyes followed mine to where Emily stood, curious.

    “I found something in the garden today. She’s not a delusion. What happened to her?” My voice rose without intention.

    “There is no record of Emily Rosenfeld,” he said, watching me carefully. “Not anymore.” He flashed me a placating smile. It was meant to distract from the tiny movement of his finger pressing a button on the phone. I took in both and met Emily’s eyes.

    “They’re going to put you out again,” she warned. “You shouldn’t keep telling them about me. And you shouldn’t have mentioned the map. Now we’ll never get out of here.”

    I heard the quiet steps behind me a second too late. The needle had already been plunged into my neck when I began to protest. As the orderly lifted my limp body, the map fell from inside my clothes and came to rest at Dr. Jeffries’ feet. He picked it up and placed it in his pocket. He moved to the window, right next to Emily, and she glared at him.

    “The petunias are exceptionally beautiful,” he said as they carried me out.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Wow! Amy, this is all it needs to me, exceptional, tense, terrifying along with your MC, who is helpless, surrounded by pure evil. Gives me the willys. If I ever go insane, I’m not telling anybody. Well done. Kerry

      1. swatchcat

        Nice job all the way to the end. You need to watch “Shutter Island” and I wonder if your inspiration of Elysium isn’t from the new Matt Damon and Jodi Foster movie about to come out, it’s an interesting choice for an Asylum. This was good.

        1. Amy

          Shutter Island was an inspiration for this story. I was hoping it had the same feel but wasn’t too close to the same story line. I’m not familiar with the new Matt Damon/Jodi Foster film. The name Elysium came from a cheesy tv movie I watched a long time ago about a suburb with the same name where very evil things were going on beneath the perfect surface. I love to play with contrast, I guess. Thanks for the comment.

  22. purplecross

    It took some time but eventually she found it hidden beneath the stairwell, underneath the outdated flower print that covered so many secrets. After she tore down the wallpaper and plaster, sheets covered in polka dots were under the comforter and pillow set. On the walls hung pictures of people Lucy never knew, but thought she saw in a dream.
    The dust that covered everything was evidence that the room was not entered for years, maybe even decades, but the objects underneath the dust said more. They spoke of lives lived in secret, yet there in the house with everything else and the struggle it took to keep all those items locked-up; hidden from the rest of the world for protection. Like an architect that stumbled upon a lost civilization, Lucy looked through the drawers on the nightstand and committed everything discovered to memory. In the hours, days and weeks to come Lucy would read through the various diaries, one which was shared by lovers and another that chronicled a mother’s fight for her children. Underneath the bed was a faded lavender cardigan that held a plain pair of spectacles.
    Around midnight Lucy left the secret room and dreamt of faces from long ago and the stories they told.

    1. Amy

      I would have liked to have a little more setup as to who the MC is and the setting. The hidden room is described well, but I don’t really get the correlation between it and the MC. You could go further with this. Nice work.

  23. Breezybealle

    [I don’t know whether my first one didn’t go through for some reason, so I hope I am not double posting this]

    “The bags of mulch,” my mother stated, looking intently at me as if I knew what she was talking about.
    “What?” I asked, confused as usual.
    “The bags of mulch aren’t going to move themselves, Lucy.” She sighed and stabbed the bag of red mulch with her shovel, pushing it in my direction. “Open one and start dragging it along the border I made.”
    I only made it a step or two before she barked, “Wait!” I stopped, Mother-May-I style.
    “Put these on first,” she threw a pair of cloth gloves at me, which I obediently slid over my hands.
    This was not how I wanted to spend my first free Saturday in months, spreading mulch and playing in the dirt. But if we were going to sell the house, it needed to be done. So I walked over to where she stood, grabbed the first plastic sack and began to unload its contents where she’d told me to. Seconds later, I heard a clank and my mother’s poorly hidden stream of curse words. I looked over my shoulder to find her poking at the dirt with the metal shovel tip.
    “There’s something here,” she said.
    “It’s probably just a root or something,” I said, wiping the sweat from my forehead before it dripped into my eyes. God, I hated Florida in the summer. The humidity was unbearable.
    “Roots don’t clank.” She dug around some more until a round metal tin surfaced enough for us to get it the rest of the way out. It was a simple metal cylinder about the size of a paper towel roll, capped at one end, no marks, no…well, anything.
    We looked at it like it was an alien life form. “What the hell is that thing?” I voiced the thought that was running through both our minds.
    “Hell if I know,” she answered. “Let’s open it and see?” The last was more of a question than anything. She finally looked at me instead of the container, basically asking my permission to open it.
    “Go for it. The worst it could do is chop off your hand,” I shrugged my shoulders and giggled as she flung it to the ground.
    “Oh, sheesh, Ma, I was just kidding.” I bent down and picked it up for myself, expecting it to be heavier than it was. Nothing happened when I popped it open. A monster didn’t jump out at me, no mysterious smoke came pouring out the top, which from the look on my mom’s face, is what she had expected to happen. I tipped it upside down and a rolled up paper came sliding out.
    “Who buries their blueprints in the front yard?” I asked, incredulous. Here I was, thinking we’d hit some big lottery winnings or something really interesting and all I got for my excitement was a sheet of paper with a blue sketch on it. Yippee.
    Without looking at it any further, I shoved the design back into the tube and smacked the top closed. It’s too bad… there was a lot more to that old house than first glance.

  24. merrie kraatz

    One trouble with high desert living is trying to produce something like the Buchart Gardens when you basically have nothing to work with but sand and rocks. Yes I know I should have given up years ago and settled for cactus, mesquite, sage and wild buckwheat. But I wanted a lush soft Monet-like yard. A testament to my determination.

    Well yeah and how did that work out for you, hmmm?

    OK not so good but back to my latest idea. What I needed was a moon garden. All white blooming plants that would reflect the moonlight. So I began moving rocks and piling sand here and there, adding a bit of potting mix and fertilizer and fantasizing how each plant would nestle next it’s neighbor. During one especially back breaking rock move I noticed an old piece of burlap caught beneath an even larger rock. No amount of pushing, pulling or swearing could dislodge the old sack so I resorted to a woman’s best friend. I hollered at my neighbor who has a small John Deehr and in no time we had the sack out and what looked like a treasure trove of junk came spilling out including an old metal box with what appeared to be the blueprints for quite a lovely hacienda style house.

    No I don’t live in a Hacienda. I have a thirty year old single wide trailer, yes thats right, not a mobile, a trailer.
    So I started walking the acre that my trailer sits on and pacing off the directions on the blueprints and ended up at an old shed almost dead center of my land. It was thinned walled with a tin roof haphazardly nailed on. I had thought about using it as a chicken coop but since the coyotes ate my last batch of rabbits and made off with the neighbors dog (actually that was a favor to the neighborhood, believe me) i just hadn’t gotten to the chickens yet.

    Anyhow, it appeared that this was the last room standing from this old place and after a good deal of poking around I could see why. The walls were lined with metal, pretty sturdy, and there was an old trap door that lead to an underground cellar. No, no, my friends not a root cellar a complex and complete distillery that at one time had no doubt been the pride of the old high desert.

    So now, with a jelly jar of a finely distilled beverage in hand, I sit in my moon garden and wonder what else my gardening efforts will turn up.

    1. Amy

      I like the humorous tone, but your narration is a little unclear. Who is talking back to the narrator? (where it says “well yeah and how did that work out for you, hmmm?”)

      1. squidge

        Thanks for pointing that out. Actually the narrator is talking to herself so I suppose I should have used some italics. I was just happy to be writing again. Have had a dry spell!

  25. Breezybealle

    “The bags of mulch,” my mother stated, looking intently at me as if I knew what she was talking about.
    “What?” I asked, confused as usual.
    “The bags of mulch aren’t going to move themselves, Lucy.” She sighed and stabbed the bag of red mulch with her shovel, pushing it in my direction. “Open one and start dragging it along the border I made.”
    I only made it a step or two before she barked, “Wait!” I stopped, Mother-May-I style.
    “Put these on first,” she threw a pair of cloth gloves at me, which I obediently slid over my hands.
    This was not how I wanted to spend my first free Saturday in months, spreading mulch and playing in the dirt. But if we were going to sell the house, it needed to be done. So I walked over to where she stood, grabbed the first plastic sack and began to unload its contents where she’d told me to. Seconds later, I heard a clank and my mother’s poorly hidden stream of curse words. I looked over my shoulder to find her poking at the dirt with the metal shovel tip.
    “There’s something here,” she said.
    “It’s probably just a root or something,” I said, wiping the sweat from my forehead before it dripped into my eyes. God, I hated Florida in the summer. The humidity was unbearable.
    “Roots don’t clank.” She dug around some more until a round metal tin surfaced enough for us to get it the rest of the way out. It was a simple metal cylinder about the size of a paper towel roll, capped at one end, no marks, no…well, anything.
    We looked at it like it was an alien life form. “What the hell is that thing?” I voiced the thought that was running through both our minds.
    “Hell if I know,” she answered. “Let’s open it and see?” The last was more of a question than anything. She finally looked at me instead of the container, basically asking my permission to open it.
    “Go for it. The worst it could do is chop off your hand,” I shrugged my shoulders and giggled as she flung it to the ground.
    “Oh, sheesh, Ma, I was just kidding.” I bent down and picked it up for myself, expecting it to be heavier than it was. Nothing happened when I popped it open. A monster didn’t jump out at me, no mysterious smoke came pouring out the top, which from the look on my mom’s face, is what she had expected to happen. I tipped it upside down and a rolled up paper came sliding out.
    “Who buries their blueprints in the front yard?” I asked, incredulous. Here I was, thinking we’d hit some big lottery winnings or something really interesting and all I got for my excitement was a sheet of paper with a blue sketch on it. Yippee.
    Without looking at it any further, I shoved the design back into the tube and smacked the top closed. It’s too bad… there was a lot more to that old house than first glance.

    1. Amy

      See, your story made it through! Great style and flow to your words. My only criticism is that the entire thing is setup for the prompt; we know that someone is going to find blueprints. What we don’t know is what happens next. Well done.

  26. don potter

    I took the old set of plans found while digging in the garden and laid them out on the kitchen table. After that I went to the study and pulled out my architects rule. By carefully measuring all interior walls on the drawing and converting them to actual feet and inches I had a road map to follow in my search for the missing room shown on the document.
    The house has been in my family ever since it was built by my great, great, great grandfather around 1860 and handed down from generation to generation. Over the years there were lots of additions made to the structure, but the original core was never changed.
    I got the carpenter’s tape from the tool shed and went to the center of the house. My measurements showed the rooms extending from there had the same dimensions as those on the original plan. It appeared as if the house was built around a six foot square room, which was hidden by plaster and paint over the years.
    It was strange no one ever mentioned the hidden room smack-in-the-middle of the house. And why a secret room in the first place? I thought Mother might know, but a conversation with her revealed nothing. She suggested I talk with my grandmother, who lived in a nursing home not far away.
    Grandmother suffered from dementia, so our talk wondered. I did learn, however, that the family was opposed to slavery and donated much of the money earned from the farm’s crops in the early days to the abolition movement. She told me this stance did not find favor with the surrounding landowners in this fertile valley on the boarder of Virginia and Maryland.
    On the drive back to the homestead my thoughts were all over the place, but I was determined to get to the bottom of what had become a major mystery in my mind.
    By knocking on the walls I discovered a spot in the dinning room, behind the breakfront that has stood there like a sentinel for years, which could be the portal I was seeking. A few swift whacks with an ax proved it to be true. In a matter of minutes I was standing in a musty, mostly barren, room.
    After surveying the tiny cave-like area and reading through papers tucked under a rug, I realized I had found a family treasure. It was nothing that would return me any money. More important, I had discovered a wonderful family secret.
    My ancestor’s home had been a stop on the Underground Railroad, the trail used to smuggle slaves to freedom before and during the Civil War. I was never more proud of my heritage than when I stood for the first time in the middle of the hidden room.

    1. smallster21

      The third to last paragraph on is the best part of the story. I think you could strengthen the story by cutting out some of the steps your MC took in preparing to knock the wall down and just get to it 🙂 I enjoyed reading your story, and with Doug a nice uplifting ending.

  27. Initialle

    I always wanted to find a message in a bottle. I just thought I’d find it on the beach, washing up in the tide – not buried underneath the hibiscus bush in front of the house.

    When I finally pried out the cork and shook out the piece of paper inside, I found a blueprint of a house. It was old, crisp and yellow. I scanned it, hoping to find a sign of buried treasure. After looking at the blueprint several times, washing my hands, and sitting down to lunch, it finally hit me.

    It was a blueprint of my house. (There was a nice little label on the back.)

    There was only one problem: the blueprint included an extra room at the back of the house. I checked the label again to make sure that it was the same building. It was.

    I walked around the house. It looked the same as ever. Heading inside, I went to the back room. The blueprint indicated that there should be a door there, right beside the window that looked out into the back yard. There was no mysterious bookcase, no mysterious closet two feet too shallow. I knocked on it a few times to make sure.

    The outline of a door glowed on the wall. It swung inward, opening into darkness.

    I looked out the window. The yard was the same as ever. The back of the house hadn’t sprouted any doors or extra wings. It occurred to me that the door was opening into another dimension. It was something straight out of one of my parents’ Star Trek marathons. It was the most exciting, terrifying thing that had ever happened to me.

    I propped the door open with a chair. If any kind of strange monster came through, it would trip over the chair. I called my dad to let him know what was going on, and then I sat down and finished my lunch.

  28. Kerry Charlton

    The Parsonage

    Having moved back to Philadelphia in 2008,my wife and I started searching for an older home with character. My grandfathere’s Lutheran church had been torn down as the congregation had moved north of the city. But the parsonage I had spent weekends of my early childhood in the 50’s, stood as it had for so many years in the past. Built in 1920,it rose three floors with a standup attic and a full basement.

    When Mercedes and I drove by,it beckened to me like an antique, rundown, lonely orphan. I fell in love with with the craft-style house with it’s rusty, worn, comfortable apperance. Many memories flooded my mind.

    “You want to own it, Brian, don’t you?” Mercedes said.

    “There were so many adventures here.” My voice trailed off, filled with emotion.

    “Then buy it honey,” she said. “I’m up to the remodel.”

    We started to redo the parsonage, doing the work ourselves and hiring our own sub-contractors. I began with the attic, my playroom. Removing some warped paneling, nestled between two dormers, I noticed a board had my name written with a light pencil, showing a faint arrow which pointed toward the wall. A long, tubular case fell from the interior, wrapped in water-tight parchment. As I opened it, original blueprints slipped out and my eager eyes scanned eack drawing until suddenly I stopped, stunned.

    Plans had shown a small room off the basement area,that I knew wasn’t there. An uneasy mood propelled me to the cellar and I asked my wife to join me. Settled deep into a sloping.grassy plain, the ceiling of the north wall, dropped below the level of the outside yard. In the same area, plans showed an entrance from the old cellar.

    Next morning a stone mason chisled rock away, revealing a rusty iron door with a massive padlock. A torch cut the lock away but the door wouldn’t budge, being rusted to the jamb. More torch work freed the door and I opened it, slowly with trepidation. Only a small wood table with a drop light and a comfortable chair, sat in the middle. Both sides of the walls were lined with steel and wood file drawers, embedded in the rock.

    “What are you grinning about?” Mercedes ashed.

    “It’s all coming back to me.”

    “What is?”

    “Pop Pop took me in this room. I was only four or five then. He said, ‘It’s our little secret.'”

    “What was?”

    “How could I have forgotten?” I said. “Pop Pop died in this parsonage over forty years ago. He left my brother the funds he had, a small amount and he gave me his personal effects, his library of detective novels and his pipe collection.

    “What are you going on about?” Mercedes said.

    “He didn’t think it appropiate for a Lutheran minister to collect them.”

    “What’s so special about this room?” she asked.

    “Come with me darlin’, I’ll show you.”

    With five long files on either side of the room, I pulled slightly on the handle of the top drawer. Revealed inside the waterproof, airtight drawer, sections had been labeled. The first of which, read ‘M. O. S. Vol. 1 – 54, [missing # 6]’

    “Wow,” Mercedes said.

    “You don’t know what kind of wow it is,” I answered, and I pulled the first book out of the drawer.

    “Double wow,” she said, looking at the cover of Action Comics # 1, dated 1938, showing the ‘Man Of Steel’ lifting a car above his head as people fled in all directions.

    1. swatchcat

      Liked a bunch. The story rolled nicely to climax in the found room. The file cabinets and the contents are cool but the meaning is lost to noncomic book lovers, it would be interesting to see what he means to do with them and all other contents. Good though,nice read.

        1. Amy

          Thanks for the clarification. I figured it was valuable but didn’t know exactly how valuable. A great concept to the story, but I got a little distracted by some sentence structure issues. I think if you read it out loud you might catch it and be able to move some things around. Nice work.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Swatchcat. Maybe we’ll have a prompt that I can weave a second chapter here, for Brian will discover his Pop Pop had a secret life that he led, quite contrary to the life of a minister. There are nine more drawers to explore.

    2. don potter

      Mercedes might be happy if you sold the collection for a few million bucks, but I believe you won’t be satisfied until you find the miss volume 6 and complete the collection.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Amy, the structure is awkward. Mercedes keeps asking Brian questions and he ignores her, by continuing with his explanation. Thanks for the structure. Kerry

    3. smallster21

      I enjoyed this. What I know about comics is from Pawn Stars, and I know there are some that can be expensive depending on the grade and…um some other stuff, lol, clearly I don’t know much, but I could sense your MC’s excitement. I loved the description of the hidden room, the table, drop lamp and the cabinets embedded in the wall. Great ambiance!

  29. catbr

    This would be Josie’s first spring clean up of the gardens alone. Her husband had died the year before unexpectedly. It was a grueling year for her so she thought some fierce digging at the weed infested gardens in her yard would help her to forget for a while. The shed was messy and nothing was ever in its place. She’d tell her husband once in a while to clean it up. Memories of him made her eyes tear up. Grieving was always there, waiting, for something or nothing to bring it out.

    Finally after collecting the shovel and other gardening tools, she went out to the back corner of her yard where it was never tended to very well in all the years she lived there. It was starting to look like it would be a nice sunny day. The sweat was rolling down into her eyes after an hour of digging. She was ready to have a break and get an icy cold can of diet pepsi from the fridge when her shovel uncovered an old wooden box. Tossing the shovel aside, she picked up the box and wondered what was inside it as she carried it over to the patio.

    After getting her cold pepsi and washing off some of the sweat and dirt she sat down at the table with the mysterious box on the patio. Josie opened up the box to uncover what looked like an old blueprint. It was a blueprint to her house. Upon examining it for a while she realized that there was a room in the house that she knew absolutely nothing about. Josie could not wait to get into the house to find this hidden room.

    The room was in the attic which was never used. The attic was spacious and had been used for storage by the previous owners. Josie and her husband had bad knees and didn’t want to bother lugging things up and down the rickety old staircase. Wincing with knee pain on every step, she slowly climbed the narrow stair case up into the attic and curious as to what she was going to find. She thought of calling her brother to help with the investigation but could not wait. On the one side of the attic there was a shabbily constructed wall where the hidden room must be Josie decided. Taking the wall down turned out to be rather easy. A few knocks in the hollowest sounding areas of the wall with a hammer caved it in revealing an old locked door.

    Josie was just about to smash the lock with the hammer when she heard a quiet voice on the other side of the door. “Please help me.” After screaming, she forget about her sore knees and ran back down the stairs as fast as she could. She locked the stairway door immediately and phoned her brother.

    “Al, I’m coming over. This house is haunted or something. Be there in 10 minutes. I’ll explain everything when I get there.” Josie, got in the car and sped over to Al’s house. After explaining everything to Al, he went over to see what was going on at the house in the “scary hidden room”. He couldn’t find anything wrong and didn’t see anyone. Shaking his head, Al thought his sister was going a little crazy with the recent death of her husband and must have imagined the whole thing. Josie thought maybe that was the case and returned home after spending the afternoon and most of the evening with Al.

    She went to bed and thought that was the end of it. After crying for a while as she usually did every night over her husband she finally went to sleep. “Bang, Bang.” The noise was so loud it woke Josie up. She looked at her bedside alarm clock. It was exactly 2:09 am, the same time that her husband died. “Please help me, please help me. Why didn’t you answer me before?” The eerie angry voice was not so quiet this time.

  30. calicocat88

    I decided to give this one a name. Wrote it super fast, but I think as writer’s we tend to over think to the point that we dehydrate our creative skins.

    “The Knot”

    As soon as Jaycee touched the blueprints the tiny garden and patio behind her mother’s house seemed to vanish as her body was suddenly sucked through what felt like a tight and violent black tube. She couldn’t see or hear anything as she fell, fruitlessly grabbing out and hoping to latch onto something besides empty space. The air around her pitched noisily and then she was spit out just as quickly as she had been abducted.

    “What the hell…” she bit down hard on her bottom lip as she focused her swirling vision. Instead of forcing herself to make out every detail of her surroundings, she studied what she did know. The blueprints must have been some kind of…portal? And it took her somewhere (she’d figure out where once her brain stopped spinning) dark. Dark and—

    As she felt around crawling on her knees, her hands caught on something seriously sharp and she sucked in a breath leading to a round of coughing. It smelled like mold. Not the frilly green kind that grows around the trees, but the black kind. The kind that infests your lungs and reproduces like rabbit demons from Hades. Jaycee fell back on her behind holding one hand over her nose and the other wiping at her eyes.

    She heard a light murmuring of voices to her left and as she lowered her hand from her eyes, she could see that she was inside a house, a small dated kitchen with a square yellow table and orange counters. There were tiny blocks spewed out on the floor, one stuck to Jaycee’s palm. A woman with long black hair was sitting on the floor in the corner besides the old gas oven, cradling and singling to a familiar looking little girl with big blue eyes staring off towards the living room.

    Jaycee stood up quickly, waiting for the woman to spin around and start screaming at her to get out or to grab a gun and start shooting.

    “I…” she started to say, but what did you say to something like this? What was she supposed to do? Explain that she accidentally came across some magic papers and was directly transported to their house?

    Jaycee was about to approach the woman when the song caught her attention. She knew that verse. It was the one her mother used to sing to her when she was a child, passed down from her grandmother.

    “Gramma?” Jaycee walked slowly towards the mother and daughter, her hands shaking. If she could be sucked from one place to another with just a couple of papers, why couldn’t she have been sent to the past?

    She made a quick mental note to stop “visiting Mary Jane” with her boyfriend and then knelt beside the woman and her daughter.

    “Gramma?” she said again. They didn’t seem to hear or see her. The woman continued to sing to her small daughter who was, now that Jaycee was closer, covered in blood. Her mother’s pretty blue dress had deep slashes across the bodice and skirt. Jaycee followed the gaze of the little girl towards the living room and felt her insides plunge. A man’s body lay sprawled and bloodied across the carpet, the brown shag stained darker around his head. A carving knife was laying a few feet away from him.

    “Dear God,” Jaycee covered her mouth when she realized what was happening before her eyes. The woman was still singing, the little girl in shock and holding a silver pendant necklace around her neck. By habit, Jaycee reached up to touch the pendant around her throat. It had been her mother’s.

    She watched helplessly as the woman turned on the gas and laid her small child at the mouth of the oven, patting lovingly the soft curls on her blond head. The little girl turned her face and for one moment seemed to bore those big blue eyes into Jaycee’s.

    “Help me,” she said. “You’re supposed to save us.”

    Jaycee reached out her hands to the little girl and at that moment she felt the floors slip from under her feet as she was sucked back into darkness.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      You’ve written a perfect nightmare here. Why not continue with it, for Jaycee has to return to the past and save her mother and grandmother from extinction, otherwise Jaycee will no longer exist. A real cliff-hanger, great description of being pulled back in time. Go ahead and write a second chapter, break the rules and for heaven sakes, save your mother. Kerry

    2. Amy

      I am a fan of dark and twisted, so this was a fun read for me. I’m also wondering how her mom could be killed as a child and the MC still exists. Actually, I’m kind of confused about who slashed who with the knife, as well. Also, your opening sentence is a whopping 35 words long. I was tired before I even finished the first sentence. I would suggest breaking that one up. Great story!

    3. smallster21

      Lol, dehydrate our creative skins, nice, I get it, I change so many things in my stories, I should just leave them alone, maybe I’ll finish something. So, great story! Loved the opening paragraph, very creative, and what would seem like a difficult thing to describe, being sucked through some type of wormhole, you did effortlessly. I chuckled at your MC’s note to herself ‘stop visiting Mary Jane’, so great job at creating your character’s voice. But, then it became all creepy suddenly, but the transition was smooth. Overall good story 🙂

  31. AcCarter

    I cocked my head to side and scrunched up my nose in confusion as I stared down at the blueprint in my hand. While weeding out my garden, I had discovered a blueprint matching my house. I had been too interested until I noticed that a room on the blueprint wasn’t in my home.
    Double checking, I counted off all the rooms. There. An extra room in the basement. My basement was a clutter of old boxes, toys the boys had grown out of, and old furniture the hoarder in me couldn’t part with. I had never expected to have an extra room.
    Once in the basement, I turned the blueprint over in my hands trying to get a good sense of where I should look. Following the blueprint, I ended up at the far end of the basement at the closet in the corner. Setting the blueprint aside, I opened the closet and began the tedious job of shifting aside winter coats and a box of Aunt Mary’s records. Sure enough there was a door there. I just stood there wondering how I could have come down here so many times and never seen this door.
    Curiosity wouldn’t let me ponder any longer. I pulled my phone from pocket using the light to see in the dark. My heart pounded loud in my ears as I reached out for the knob with shaky hands. Who knew what type of things could be waiting for me behind this door.
    The hinges creaked loudly from years of being unused. The stench hit my nose before I even set foot inside. It was the putrid stench of something rotting. The room wasn’t too big and it only took me seconds to see the body lying in the middle of the floor. Of their own accord, my feet moved forward.
    He didn’t appear to have been dead long. The flesh of his cheeks had rotted away to reveal teeth inside. The rest of him was intact. He seemed to be asleep. So peaceful yet forgotten down here for an unknown amount of time.
    My heart beat faster, and my fingers were clumsy as I tried to dial 911. Before I could hit send, a cold firm hand grabbed my wrist. I flashed my phone down at the body to see the angry blue eyes of the dead man staring up at me.
    “Who are you?” he asked.

  32. JWLaviguer

    The shovel hit something solid, bringing me back to the now. Tossing the shovel aside, I dropped to my knees and started digging with my hands, revealing rotting wood below the soil. I spent the next hour digging it out of the ground, and the next half hour after that trying to understand what I was looking at. The box looked like a coffin out of an old west movie, and it looked to be at least 100 years old.

    The old house I just moved into was built in 1897 according to the realtor, but she said there was nothing even remotely historical about it. Now I started to wonder if she was holding something back about that house, or maybe about the property it sat on.

    I decided I wouldn’t call the police until I got a look inside that box. If I called them now, they wouldn’t let me anywhere near it, and I just had to know what was in it.

    “Maybe there’s nothing in it, Jack,” I said to myself. “But why would someone bury and empty box?”

    Before I lost my nerve, I grabbed the shovel and pried the lid off of the box. My heart skipped a beat and I fell back on my ass. Thankfully, there wasn’t a body in it, but there was a round metal tube about 2 feet long. I opened up the tube and pulled out some kind of plans. Unrolling them slightly, I noticed they were blueprints. The layout looked eerily familiar, so I took them into the kitchen and laid them out on the island.

    “This looks like this house,” I said, “but something isn’t quite right.”

    There was another wing of the house on this drawing, but there was nothing there. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that the extension of the house was underground, with a rough sketch of a stairway on the South wall. I followed the walls around until I was in the right spot, but the only thing there was a built-in bookcase.

    “It’s built in because it moves, you idiot,” I said.

    I never paid much attention to the books and knick-knacks that were in the bookcase, but now I looked at each one individually, picking them up and blowing the dust off of them. Every last one of them looked perfectly normal, and nothing happened to the bookcase when I moved them. Perplexed, I tossed a book back onto the shelf, hitting the side panel. The air in the room changed as my ears popped, and the bookcase slid into the wall.

    I pushed against the bookcase further, revealing an old staircase leading down into darkness. I went back into the kitchen and grabbed a flashlight out of one of the drawers, hoping there were fresh batteries inside of it. After verifying that it worked, I went back into the other room and slid past the open bookcase.

    I shone the flashlight down the stairs, trying not to think about all of the horror movies that began this way, and started down.

    1. calicocat88

      Love the internal monologue here! This guys sounds like a hoot 🙂 I really like the ending. It has humor but at the same time stirs some frightening possibilities going down those stairs.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I don’t know about that. I always talk to myself, especially when I screw up. I’m perfectly normal, aren’t I? Great story, I know what’s down there but I’m not telling.

    2. Amy

      Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed about finding a secret staircase. So mysteriously cool. I talk to myself all the time and wasn’t put off by it at all. Good story.

  33. shreya sunshine


    i entered the living room of my mansion and spread the blueprint on the coffee table. I moved into the house two years ago with my parents. The moment we arrived, the child in me set out on exploring this two-storeyed mansion. I tapped on every wall, floor and ceiling of every room in the house in hopes of finding a hidden door or staircase that would lead to hidden treasure, but failed. I gave up after a few days. But today… my hopes were restored. i showed the blueprints to my parents. they were as puzzelled and excited as me. The mansion was rumoured to be more than a hundred and fifty years old. As,we stared at the blueprints, something struck me as odd. I was slightly disturbed at what i saw. Many a nights i have knocked and pressed my palms against the stone walls of my bedroom and tried every trick i knew praying for a secret room. The effort was fruitless. Oddly, here was a room staring me right in the face just adjacent to mine. i grabbed the blue print and sprinted to my room. According to the blueprint, the room was located in the east. Then I noticed that the room was located right above the larder. I immediately ran downstairs into the kitchen, with my parents close at my heel, and into the larder. I looked around cluelessly. i looked into the blueprint once more. I checked the date. on the left hand corner of the sheet it was written in black ink – 15 May 1860.
    Then, it struck me. The mansion had been renovated. i looked the ceiling and it strikes me like lightning. i quickly ask my dad to get an axe or any sharp tool that can help us tear apart the ceiling. He looked at me as though he’d been shot but he composed himself immediately, nodded and left immediately. I glanced at my mom and could sense the curiosity sparkling in her eyes. I could hear my own heart pounding. Soon, my dad returned with an axe, a ladder and our servant. together we tore apart the ceiling only to be greeted by a solid stone ceiling. i was baffled and disappointed. i stared at the ceiling blankly when i noticed that some of the stones were a little weathered around the edges and arranged in neat straight columns. i climbed on the ladder and pushed against the stones. nothing happened. after few minutes of thinking an idea struck me. ‘it was a long shot but it will have to do’ i though. i pushed against the stones according to the numbers on the date mentioned in the blueprint. Lo! the ceiling springs open. i looked down at my parents below and they were as curious and excited as i was. shaking, i climbed up further into the room. it was pitch black. i picked up the torch which lay on the top cupboard in the larder. i flashed it inside and i almost screamed at what i saw. there… right in front of me was a tall staircase. “there’s a staircase here” i told my parents. they both exchanged worried glances. i climbed into the tiny room and my dad and servant followed. with dad in the lead, we followed up the staircase and hence unfolded the most striking mysteries of the area. the staircase led to the attic – again something we missed- which contained curious artefacts. as we probed inside further, my dad screamed and fell backwards. shocked by the sound, i turned around to look at him pointing shakily straight ahead. he had started to sweat. i didnt notice anything at first but when i looked closer, i saw it. my scream stuck inside my throat.

  34. Kevron617

    I’ve always been a sucker for yard sales. I have many fond memories cruising the New England countryside with my old man in search of other people’s junk. We’d load the truck up with stuff we didn’t even need and do our best to hide from it Ma. You can tell a lot about a family from the things they sell at a yard sale and what type of lifestyle they lead. Old sporting equipment, ski boots and perhaps an old Schwinn bike shouts an active family. While tents, camping gear and watercrafts, usually suggest outdoorsy folks. You can always spot the couch potatoes by two tables full of old VHS movies. I prefer antiques myself anything nostalgic will catch my eye. So when I stopped out on Old Pine Rd. just past Mt. Thurman it didn’t take me long to spot an old wooden box that was just screaming for my attention. Peaches weren’t native to New England which made it even more inviting. Foster’s Peaches, Spagueville, Georgia, Product of USA it hardly read. It was complete with a warped cover. I had to have it, I was already picturing a good spot for it in my diner but as I drew closer, I stirred an old woman.
    “Naugh fo sale!” she said before I reached it. How’d she know what I was going for the box? There was a whole table of things. I gestured to her and pointed to the box.
    “Naugh fo sale!” she said again shaking her head her double chin swinging. But I couldn’t take no for an answer.
    “What’s your price?” I asked with a smile.
    “Well I really wasn’t tending on selling that, it’s got my….”
    The guy next to me shoved his way in and cut her off.
    “I’ll offer seventy five dollars.” He said while glaring at me with an evil smirk. The old woman smiled.
    “Three hundred!” I shouted cutting him off. Her eyes bulged and her mouth dropped revealing the fact that she had no teeth.
    “Three hundred? That’ll be just enough.”
    “Sure it will, you’ll be able to buy a lot of peaches with three hundred dollars.” I said. The guy next to me quickly lost interest.
    “Three hundred bucks for a box no thanks.” He said and walked away.
    The old woman smiled showing her gums.
    “Deal.” She said.
    I suppose I should’ve checked what was inside the box but I waited until I got home. When I lifted the top off I realized why the box wasn’t for sale, inside was an essential extension of the old woman, a pair of yellow dentures. When I returned to her home to give her back to teeth, an old man answered the door.
    “Yes he said.”
    “Hi I’m here to return something that belongs to your wife.” I said. Suddenly the man’s eyes welled with tears.
    “My wife’s been dead for over a year now.” He retorted.
    My heart sank and I opened the box to reveal I was telling the truth. The old man took the dentures into his hand and wiped away tears with the other.
    “I’ve been looking for them everywhere they disappeared from her drawer. How did you…?”
    I explained what had transpired and it was then that he revealed to me that the yard sale was an attempt to pay the outstanding taxes on his home, that his wife’s burial left him broke. He was short three hundred dollars, and three days away from losing his home, until his prayers were answered. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways and I agree.

  35. dford

    As I awake the morning after my treasured find, I pray this has not just been another dream. I have dreamt of this particular scenario many, many times, having a family of four living in a house built for two. I’ve obsessed about making it more accommodating, torn down living room and kitchen walls to diminish barriers. In my dreams, I happen upon or suddenly discover a room, a great room, of which I’d had no former knowledge. I believe this is my subconscious mind trying to, at least temporarily, liberate my soul.

    As I descend the stairs, I hold my breath as I view the tethered documents resting atop the dinning room table. I approach with tremendous anticipation as I whisper, “Please don’t let this be another dream; Please don’t let this be another dream!”


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.