The monster in the basement

Submitted into Contest #109 in response to: Set your story during the night shift.... view prompt

9 comments

Fiction Suspense Thriller

Scrape... scratch...scrape...

Jim can hear the monster's claws scraping against the cement floors as it creeps closer-he can see the eerie shadow closing in, the darkness of the illumination a haunting black. Jim can feel how the room grows cold, like Jack Frost has whistled an icy melody into the air. Jim only huddles closer to the wall, as he shakily hides in the little corner behind the water heater.

He had never meant for any of this to happen, he hadn't wanted to take the late shift, he hadn't wanted to stay here, he hadn't, he hadn't, he hadn't.

The shadow of the monster moves in, cloaking Jim's hiding spot with a black blanket.

Scratch...scrape...scratch... The sound grows louder, nearing Jim's corner. Jim has to swallow down a whimper. He mustn't make a sound, not a single, tiny, little sound or the monster will hear. So he holds his breath until his face is tinged purple at the cheeks.

Hold it,

hold it,

hold it,

hold it.

But Jim can't. The world blurs and his brain seems to stop. The tiniest sigh escapes his mouth.

The scraping stops. The iciness of the room melts away. The monster's shadow halts. Is it gone? Has it disappeared, leaving Jim alone? His heart still racing, he takes slow breaths, trying to calm the twisted fear pulsing in his veins. It was over, done, gone. Jim's heart settled and his once tensed body melted into relaxation. Jim lightly closed his eyes, letting his nerves be calmed. A long breath exhaled out of him and he slowly opened his eyes.

Jim screamed. The monster smiled down at him.

"Found you."

----Four hours before ----

Jim Mulligan glanced up at the grandfather clock from the bathroom sink. The little wooden hand pointed towards the eight and the longer hand pointed to the twelve. Eight o'clock pm. Jim frowned at the recognition of the time. His nightshift would begin in twenty minutes and he was afraid if he did not leave right this minute, time would surely catch up to him and he'd be late.

Late. Now as he thought of it, the idea didn't seem all that bad. He'd never wanted to take the nightshift, not when his days consisted of work itself. But what could he do? Money was tight, and living in New York City wasn't the cheapest. Jim sighed, a gruffy, heavy sigh as he stared at his reflection in the mirror above the bathroom sink. Dark eye bags drooped under his sockets and his usually clean cut chin was now infected with dark hairs.

He quickly left the bathroom, not caring to clean himself up. Stopping by the Keurig coffee machine in his messy kitchen, he grabbed two cups he had pre-made earlier that afternoon. He took a small sip on his way out of his tiny apartment. It's taste was strong-it was black coffee anyhow.

Jim slugged down the busy sidewalks of the City that Never Sleeps, himself ironically wishing for sleep.

Sleep. The word was like a sweet little candy to Jim, like something that was just out of his grasp. Work was tiring enough in the daytime, but how about at night? Jim took another sip of his coffee as he leisurely pulled open the door to a stubby brick building. To most, his workplace would look like a shady building, like the ones on the bad side of the city. Sometimes, Jim thought of it like that too. With it's broken windows, and crumbling brick, who could say it wasn't?

Jim climbed the creaky stairs of the building, for there was no elevator to take. When he reached a dust blanketed platform, he knew where he was supposed to be. An off white colored door stood in front of him and as he turned the doorknob, it squeaked out a loud creak.

"Jim! Oh my god! You're on the nightshift too?" Jim cringed at the sound of Tessa, his coworker's, voice. Tessa was the stupidest, most annoying person ever. With her stupid squeaky voice and her stupid outfits, Jim only needed to see her one time if he wanted to have a bad day. If he'd known she was working, he wouldn't have taken the nightshift.

"Jim?" Tessa squeaked. Jim rolled his eyes before turning to face her. Today she was wearing a bright pink tutu, pink leggings, a pink t shirt, and the ugliest pink shoes Jim had ever seen. He wasn't surprised at what Tessa was wearing-he'd seen her cubicle before.

"What do you want, Tessa?" Jim grumbled at her, not caring how rude it sounded. Tessa smiled at him-she obviously didn't get the message that he was in a rather terrible mood.

"Hi!"

"Hi." Jim answered, his voice high with sarcasm. Tessa's cheeks seemed to redden, and she smoothed out her tutu.

"So...so I was thinking...would...would you like to grab...a...a bite tomorrow night?" Her cheeks bounced and her eyes gleaned as she spoke. Jim rolled his eyes and took another sip of his coffee.

"Hard pass." And with that, Jim made his way to his little cubicle by the window. A messy stack of papers towered on his desk, swaying at every step Jim took. Jim wanted to cry when he saw the heavy stack.

This was going to be a very long night.

11:55 pm. That's what the depressing clock at Jim's work reads. The large stack of paperwork seems to never shrink, and Jim's eyes play tricks on him, showing the paperwork growing rather than shrinking. Jim glances at the clock anxiously. Tessa disappeared right after Jim arrived-almost four hours ago.

But Jim obviously doesn't care. How can you care about someone who annoys you frequently?

Still though, Jim finds himself silently searching the office, first staying at his desk and just sweeping the room with his eyes. Nothing. No pink shoes, no pink people.

Jim rolled his eyes. Why couldn't Tessa just pop up somewhere and squeak an annoying hi at Jim? But of course not.

So Jim stands, his legs under him stiffly move towards the stairs.

"Tessa!" Only a piercing silence answers Jim. Jim groans, slugs down the creaking steps.

"Tessa!" Jim's voice echoes through the building. It seems as if the farther Jim goes, the dimmer the lights are. An icy hand snatches the air as Jim reaches the basement, and he wraps his arms around his shivering body. God, why can't Tessa just come out already? Jim sucks in a breath.

"Tessa! Tessa, are you down here?" A deathly silence fills the room, and Jim can hear his heart jumping in his chest.

"Tessa!" Jim yells once more.

Nothing. Jim groans, and spins on his heel, turning toward the stairs.

"Where are you going, Jim." Jim's body turns to ice as he hears the voice. The voice is soft, quiet, yet the sentence sounds more like a taunt, rather than a question.

Jim slowly turns around and his eyes move to a brightly colored figure. Tessa. Black snakes of mascara run down her face, and dark red splotches of paint leak through her outfit.

Wait, it's not paint. Paint doesn't look like that.

Blood.

"Where are you going Jim." She repeats herself, her voice ice cold. Jim can't move. His brain seems to not function properly and his stomach cramps with fear.

"What...what happened to you?" Jim's mouth speaks, but he can't hear thee words, only his heart pounding against his chest. Tessa smiles and blood drips down her chin.

"Don't you like this version of me, Jim? Don't you love the new Tessa?" Tessa moves toward Jim, her arms thrown wide open. Jim can see green veins snaking down her arms, slithering up her neck.

"I...I..." Jim's breath catches in his chest at the sight of her. He pleads to his legs to move, but they don't, for they are trembling too much to walk.

"Come here, Jim. Let me love you." Tessa's voice hisses through her teeth and a spray of blood spits out of her mouth. Jim's body finally turns, but not quite fast enough. Tessa's arms find their way to him and trap his body against hers. He squirms, but she is unexpectedly strong. Her mouth finds him and Jim can feel her press her lips forcefully against his. A deathly feeling shoots through Jim's veins at Tessa's touch.

Jim can't breathe. Is it the fear that's keeping the air from his body? Or is it Tessa?

"Isn't the new Tessa great? Don't you just love this Tessa?" Tessa whispers in Jim's ear before wrapping her arms around his neck. Jim trembles.

He has to get away.

"Stop..." Jim pushes away from this monster Tessa has become. Tessa frowns and Jim can almost see the disappointment on her face. But as soon as it arrives, it boils into a reddening anger.

"What, Jim!" Tessa's eyes bulge out of her head and blood waterfalls down her chin. "Do you not like the new Tessa?! Do you not want this!" Tessa's voice squeaks, high with craziness. Jim can't answer-his breath seems to have been sucked out of his body. Tessa takes a lumbering step toward him.

"I should've known you'd never change. I wouldn't ever be good enough for the great Jim Mulligan!" Jim watched as Tessa pulled out a sharp pocket knife. Blood caked the tip.

She swung. Jim could feel the wind created by the quick swish of the knife.

"You don't want me? Well I don't want you!" Tessa swings again and this time it slices through the flesh on Jim's palm. He doesn't have time to acknowledge the wound-the only thing he acknowledges is the feeling to run.

Jim's feet hit the ground fast as he darts away from Tessa. His eyes search the basement, finding, looking for a place to hide.

"Jim! Where are you going?" Tessa sings the words and Jim sprints to the nearest corner, not caring about the unsettling feeling in his stomach. A water heater hides Jim's figure-at least he hopes it hides him.

Scrape... scratch...scrape...

Jim can hear the monster's claws scraping against the cement floors as it creeps closer-he can see the eerie shadow closing in, the darkness of the illumination a haunting black. Jim can feel how the room grows cold, like Jack Frost has whistled an icy melody into the air. Jim only huddles closer to the wall, as he shakily hides in the little corner behind the water heater.

He had never meant for any of this to happen, he hadn't wanted to take the late shift, he hadn't wanted to stay here, he hadn't, he hadn't, he hadn't.

The shadow of the monster moves in, cloaking Jim's hiding spot with a black blanket.

Scratch...scrape...scratch... The sound grows louder, nearing Jim's corner. Jim has to swallow down a whimper. He mustn't make a sound, not a single, tiny, little sound or the monster will hear. So he holds his breath until his face is tinged purple at the cheeks.

Hold it,

hold it,

hold it,

hold it.

But Jim can't. The world blurs and his brain seems to stop. The tiniest sigh escapes his mouth.

The scraping stops. The iciness of the room melts away. The monster's shadow halts. Is it gone? Has it disappeared, leaving Jim alone? His heart still racing, he takes slow breaths, trying to calm the twisted fear pulsing in his veins. It was over, done, gone. Jim's heart settled and his once tensed body melted into relaxation. Jim lightly closed his eyes, letting his nerves be calmed. A long breath exhaled out of him and he slowly opened his eyes.

Jim screamed. The monster smiled down at him.

"Found you." Tessa's voice hisses in his ears. Jim's breath catches in his chest. He can hear his heart pounding as Tessa pushes him against the wall. Tears pour down his pale face. He can tell through the darkness that Tessa is smiling down at him, using that grin Jim used to think was pathetic.

"Are you ready." Tessa's voice stabs Jim with fear and an icy hand crawls up his spine.

"What...what are you going to do to me?" Jim's voice is weak-almost a whisper. Tessa smiles, a psychotic little smile and Jim knows she will show no mercy.

It's over.

Jim lets his body go limp, lets the reality of the situation sink in. A single tear rolls down Jim's cheek.

"Goodbye Jim." Tessa sneers, her voice naked of emotion. Jim can see the pocket knife's blade glimmering in the dim light.

"Bye Tessa." His voice is hoarse, as if a last resort for forgiveness.

The blade sinks into his chest.




August 29, 2021 15:26

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9 comments

Jihan Qanita
05:32 Sep 09, 2021

I really like it. Especially the surprise where Tessa was actually the monster. I thought she would be at most the first person to die haha. The description for the suspense is very nicely done. Good job!

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Lily Rama
12:53 Sep 09, 2021

Thank you, Jihan!

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Keya J.
16:01 Aug 29, 2021

Tessa is...? Hey, is that left on purpose or is it a mistake?? Moreover, It's an amazing story. The ending was least expected with Tessa being the monster. The starting was just perfect, hooking the reader in the first look. Great Job.

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Lily Rama
17:23 Aug 29, 2021

That was left on accident. I'm not finished with the story but I still uploaded it to my page. I'm sorry but thanks for commenting! :)

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Keya J.
02:25 Aug 30, 2021

Sure. No problem. Let me know once it gets finished. :)

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Lily Rama
13:18 Aug 31, 2021

Of course! Yeah, I just finished! Happy Reading :)

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Keya J.
14:06 Aug 31, 2021

I love it! I love it so much. The perfect mixture of horror and suspense. I liked the way you took the readers back where you started with the repetition of phrases. Great Job!

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Kathleen `Woods
00:13 Oct 02, 2021

Why am I on the pink-people-eater's side? Rice really makes my morals slip, but it was where I landed when I was listening to this. Jim was judgy in a really fun way so I kinda have to feel bad about that. Thanks for writing!

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Lily Rama
23:04 Oct 04, 2021

Thank you for commenting! I had a lot of fun with this story!

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