Readers beware. Prepare to be scared.

This bone-chilling, blood-curdling, heart-stopping, hair-raising story will make you scream.

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It’s Halloween.  What could be scarier than a short story set in the deepest, darkest realm of Londonderry High School?

Nothing.

That is why this piece of scary fiction takes place in the one part of the school that few students know about, and even fewer have actually seen:

THE BASEMENT.

I had heard about the basement mentioned briefly by teachers, but they always moved off of the subject quickly, as if the subject gave them an uneasy feeling. They described it as creepy, and the unsettled lines in their faces uttered more words than their mouths ever could. My interest was piqued, and I was eager to know more. And so, I searched for those who could staunch my curiosity.

Head Custodian Charlie Wilton escorted me to the basement, a place I never would have guessed looms under the school students go to every day. Marked as ‘Electrical Room,’ in the math hallway is the gateway to the basement, the foundation of the normality we live under.

After going down a narrow set of stairs, I found myself in another dimension. A sea of dirt and bizarre things lie down there, things that are reduced to blotchy shapes in the dark. The ceiling eventually caves in the farther you walk, making you feel claustrophobic and like something more is looming above.

Just overhead is the school, and the history lies underfoot.

Built as the foundation for a middle school in 1971, the basement never made it past Phase 1. The bulk of the building was built on top of a dirt-filled foundation, with no furnished walls or flooring. When the middle school became the beloved LHS known and loved by many in 1974, nothing changed. It still remains a mysterious place, the shadow of the school. Files of students lie there, obscured in the gloom where it belongs, away from prying eyes. Despite acting as a giant storage closet, the basement still didn’t fail to shake me.

And thus, in the spirit of Halloween, I wrote this short story-using the basement as my subject matter.

All photos of the basement taken by Lily Lefevre

img_5416Mania

a short story by Lily Lefevre

Her willowy, nail-bitten fingers fumble with the keys she had stolen from the custodian, and she can envision the people who have taunted her. Her means of revenge have been devised repeatedly, until she became consumed by it all. All of those night-falls spent awake have lead to this. As she had stared at her ceiling through the dark, she thought about what it would be like, feeling them, instead of herself, tremble inside their skins. How it would feel for her to see their darting glances as they looked upon her face. Them being so shaken by the dauntlessness in her eyes that they never see the frail girl she is ever again. Her internal fire had crescendoed as her thoughts became gasoline. This fire will consume her, until all that look upon her see nothing but the phoenix rising from the ashes.

She will not burn up. She will rise.

img_5417She never was one to be cryptic, although she tries to be. Hiding within herself keeps her sane, but does not keep her away from prying eyes. They decode the alabaster paleness in her face, and notice the way she tries to conceal the nervous tremor in her limbs. Behind their blood-drawn mouths and ridicule, she knows that they can see behind her papier-mâché mask.  

Their mockery seeps into the very marrow of her bones, until it becomes a part of herself. Every waking moment she lives with a shroud of unease over her eyes, spurred on from their remorseless torment. When she lies in silence, their taunting cackling arises and sentences her to a sleepless night. She knows she will never shake this anxiousness, or soothe the angry red crescents in her palms from clenching her fists.

Thinking about it all just makes it fester like gnats on a corpse, and she knows she has to make it all end but it’s worthless to even try. In her subconscious she struggles to reach the surface, the place where things aren’t scary anymore. She wonders if she will ever be untethered from this burden, this ache under her ribs that never ceases. She can’t. She is spineless, an invertebrate, less than a bug. Something that is justified to be stepped on.

The key fits into the lock and with a minute click, it undoes. The tremble in her extremities is the only thing that brings her to open the door. They are all delusional, delirious. She has cried fifty-thousand tears to make it here. Tears fall from those who have been strong for too long, not the weak. They are all wrong. Her knuckles turn white from how tightly she grips the knob. All the tiny little pieces they cut her into are now coming back together. She is unable to be repressed. Those who are perceived as weak are predators disguised as prey. She dares anything, or anyone to come after her.

img_5415Her soul leaves her in a gasp when she feels someone pulling the door from the other side. But when she is across the threshold, there is no one there. Heart pulsating against her ribcage, she lets out a shaky breath and removes the key, slipping it into her pocket. She must be more nervous than she had thought to imagine something like that. Her fear had immobilized her. Never again.

The stairs loom there, just beyond from where she came. On the rickety steps, dusty footprints lie in someone’s wake. It is dark, bottomless, neverending. She wonders if this is the pit that will swallow her up. The descent into hell, the place where her madness shall flourish until it consumes her. With each step down she feels herself slipping, but she doesn’t push the darkness away. It feels welcoming, like a mother’s kiss on her newborn’s cheek. And when she reaches the end, there is a whispering, a string of meaningless sounds she can’t understand. But when she looks around, she is alone. Somehow she knows she isn’t. A cold chill runs through her.

img_5414The hum of machinery tremors within her. Dust, a suffocating smell, smothers her. Her thoughts become mush. Wires interweave overhead like snakes, abandoned furniture is strewn in the sand. Like a sporadic dream nothing seems rational. It all scares her, makes her tremble. It is another dimension down here. A chill ghosts over the back of her neck like someone’s breath. Suddenly she feels maddened. This is phase one.

As she walks across the beaten path, a sloping set of cement stairs, she starts to realize the ceiling is closing in on her. It doesn’t have a set beginning or end. Soon it’s to the point whereas she is on her hands and knees, unable to stop until she finds where it leads. She is deranged with the thought of proving them wrong.

Crawling until she can no longer go further, she feels that breath behind her, a whispering of something she can’t understand. She turns to see their faceless figure, and is dragged into the gloom. And when they discover what is left of her the next morning, they don’t even know who it is.

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