The following piece is a short story and contains scenes that some readers may find disturbing.
The story is entirely fictional.
“Boy, are you a mess.”
It’s cold. The kind of cold that doesn’t just make you shiver, but painful cold. Sharp pain, lasting effects. The kind of cold that stabs your lungs continuously, where you can’t even cough because your throat is all but blocked. Every second spent gasping for air, just enough to keep your conscious.
“Don’t you wanna escape? Get out of this place?”
Old woman, the bricks of this dungeon are the only thing more ancient than this hag, yet he has no other human company. Disgusted, he tries to look away from her wrinkled stripped skin. Why is she not cold?
“There’s a place here where you can get some new clothes, some that can keep you warm.”
“Why give the kid false hope, you old cunt?”
The old woman is his only human company. There is someone… Something else in this dark room that serves to diminish the loneliness. A feline, half dead. Or fully dead, who can really tell at this point, with its torso flattened by a galloping horse. Guts swinging and tongue constantly hanging outside its mouth. Brown fur and missing an eye.
“I’m just saying,” the old naked woman replies. “If he wants to, he can simply walk there and do it.”
Simply walk, but where… Blueish gray bricks surround him, a metal door in the front. Small window above him that he can’t even reach, and a dirty plate by his feet that he uses to eat the garbage they serve him once a day, if they do chose to give him anything at all. His eyes barely see anything else.
“That’s it, boy.”
His bare feet feel like they will shatter. Holding himself, head held high observing the new scenery before him. Heading away.
“Remember us,” the old woman waves as the boy struggles with fear.
“This is a bad idea.”
“Don’t listen to this pussy, boy. Keep walking.”
The cat scoffs and closes her eyes, deciding to take a nap. The color of her fur and eyes slowly leave her, as if she dies every time she sleeps then comes back again later.
He takes his eyes off of her, forward to the unseen castle of misery. The hallway is long and dark, no other doors on its sides, only one exit in the front… Anything can be expected.
“I’ll be here waiting when you get back,” the old woman yells from inside the dungeon. “… Eventually.”
The boy reaches the end of the hallway, then after a few stairways, he faces a dead end. Startled, he plants himself against the wall, away from the edge. A platform that is slowly breaking apart. The bridge is gone and the jump would be to dangerous to attempt. Should he fail…
“Come down here, little boy!”
Hundreds of snakes twirl on the ground below, rattling their tails and showing off their venomous fangs. Cold dead stares, brown shining scales with beautiful black spots down their backs, they slither in unison, almost like dancing, luring the boy down. Hypnotizing. No choice, there is. The boy has to make the jump, or walk back to the dungeon where the naked granny awaits.
“You can do it!”
He glances on the other side of the platform. The doorway to another part of the castle, which was supposed to be connected by a bridge, now long destroyed. It’s a white hare, small and soft.
“It’s really easy,” it speaks to the boy. “Here, I’ll show you!”
The hare hops a bit backwards. Blinding speed, the hare is airborne, flying to the boy. He closes his eyes, covers his face. Scenes like that should not be witnessed by mere kids like him. Six hundred and sixty six snakes coil around the hare, six hundred and sixty six fangs deep inside its soft fresh meat. The hare didn’t make it.
“You can do it, little vermin,” the snakes hiss, brown scales colored red. “We believe in ya!”
Who would’ve thought that the very first obstacle would be the point of no return. This is it, he thinks. A decision has to be made, risk dying here or die in the cold dark dungeon. But fate chose differently, it seems. This kid isn’t meant to die yet. He jumped, made it but barely. Half his body and his feet are hanging down, inches away from the hungry snakes. Venom dripping out their fangs in anticipation. There is no hold for him to grab on, and his arms are getting tired. Face sliding against the floor, dust swirling up the ground from his hectic breathing, eyes dry of tears showing the terror that must be his mind.
“One tasty meal, coming up!”
One would rather die. Indescribable, the sting, the burning sensation, the numbness. A slithering demon dangles by his calf, not letting go. Its damned venom leaking in his veins. Whiplash. The sensation of flesh being sliced by a sound barrier breaking whip.
“A little bit closer!”
Dozens leap out their hellish nest, grabbing hold on the boy’s legs. They wrap their long bodies around, biting down harder and pulling the boy down bit by bit.
“FBI! Get down!”
His vision is less and less clear. Perception goes dark. He hears only shouts, he sees only dark. Left, right, running and yelling. He’s being carried, carried outside. Outside this small house with slowly decaying wood. Awake again within five minutes.
“Can you tell me your name, son?”
The house is surrounded by cars, flashing their blinding blue lights in the middle of the night. Men with guns in uniform carry a guy in handcuffs. He is screaming, angry. Behind him, a half-dead drugged to the brim woman of the same age, laughing like a drunk prostitute while looking at the boy.
“It’s fine,” one of the officers covers him from her stare. “They can’t hurt you anymore.”
But his eyes still drift there, towards the broken wooden door. They pull out another person. An old woman, the man’s mother… The boy’s grandmother.
“I’m gonna need a long sleep after this.”
One of the agents made it home afterwards, his wife stroking his ginger hair. He downs his drink in one go.
“Please,” she holds his hand. “No more… please.”
“You can’t know,” the agent leans back and rubs his forehead. “You weren’t there. That old hag repeatedly raped the kid, Mary! The father… The piece of shit that doesn’t deserve to be called that… Flesh was ripped from the kid’s legs.”
She holds him tight, pressing his head against her soft chest. It will take time for him to clear his head from this case, move over from it.
“They stuffed him in a closet, next to his dead cat,” he can’t contain his tears. Eyes red as he hugs his wife as tight as he can. His hand moves down to her stomach, gently caressing the belly holding his seed.
“This is why I do what I do,” he says a few days later, turning off the news on the TV. The boy passed away, the stress from the beatings and the abuse got to him before the psychiatrists could. Another victim claimed.