Basement Baby

Basement Baby

A Story by JDM
"

I thought "Trapped in the Closet" was too literal.

"

My right leg has gone numb. An annoying tickle runs up and down my thigh. Can’t feel anything past my knee. That’s a good thing, I suppose. When Baby gets hungry he likes to nip away at the rotting gangrenous flesh of what’s left of my toes. I pull him closer to me. No lunch today.

 

I want him hungry.

 

I can’t see much.  Just the light around the cracks of the closet door. I can barely see Baby.

 

But I can hear her. Shuffling above me. Can smell her baking ham in the oven. Can hear her cackling on the phone to whatever the devil people like her call “friends”. My stomach makes that sound like it’s trying to eat itself. I try to lick my lips and savor only the taste of glue from the duct tape tapped against my mouth.

 

I want that b***h to hear me. Come down and confront me. The muffled screams from my throat go unheard. The banging of my head against the back of the closet wall is ignored. Drywall mixes with my bloodstained hair. My nails dig into Baby. He lashes out. Hissing. Scratching. Claws ripping away at my bound wrists. He wiggles out of my hands and races around in circles around me.

 

I grab him by the neck. Pick him up. Throw him the small distance to the other side of the twelve square foot closet. Baby screeches. I put my wrists up. Protect my face as Baby comes barreling at me. I let him do the work. Let him try to rip my wrists free. He does more damage tearing fleshy strips from my arm than to the duct tape that bind my hands.

 

We must have got her attention. She’s stopped talking. A deadbolt unlocks. A chain is undone. Wooden stairs creak beneath her ample weight. Her shadow blocks the light beneath the door.

 

My body stiffens.

 

Inexplicably forgiven for our earlier row, Baby crawls into my lap. I pull him close to me.

 

Using my one good leg as leverage to stand, I lean against the wall for support. Pull Baby against my heart. And I wait.

 

I don’t give her any time to react. The door flies open. I dig my nails deep into Baby’s fur and hurl him blindly into the air.

 

It doesn’t stun her long enough. She swats away at Baby like he’s a common housefly. He lands on his feet.

 

I am not as fortunate.

 

I don’t get very far out of the closet.

 

I don’t even get halfway out the door.

 

Mother backhands me across the face. Catches me before I fall. Wraps her fingers around my throat. Lifts me off the ground by my neck like I weigh next to nothing"which isn’t far from the truth. She brings her face close. Nose to nose. To remind me.

 

To show me why am I where I am.

 

I admire the handiwork of my last escape attempt. When I was still allowed upstairs in the kitchen. The hot grits seem to have healed within her skin. Her face is a canvas of bubbled flesh and lumpy, waxy clumps. The eye socket that used to hold a watery grey eye was now nearly all white and oozed a cloudy white puss.

 

Mother violently shoves me back into the closet. The door slams. A deadbolt clicks. A chain is put back in place.

 

I slide to the floor. Mind already spinning. Planning my next move.

 

A soft purr fills the tiny room.

 

Baby found his way back to me.

 

He settles onto my lap. His tongue flicks out. Over and over again.

 

He gently laps away my at my wounds.

© 2013 JDM


Author's Note

JDM
This one isn't quite right yet. What is it missing?

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gcp
Your prose is pretty tight on this and the flow is fantastic - a few little niggles in the prose here and there make me feel this isn't quite a polished as the other two stories I read from you.

Lines like "I don’t get very far out of the closet." don't seem quite as punchy as I want them to be. Of course that's only because the quality in general is so damn high! I want every single word to be kicking and screaming - and for the most part you get that - but here and there a lazy word slips in.

I think as a whole - although the ideas (and the gruesome imagery) is fantastic the piece lacks the bite I want - and I think it's that the ending doesn't resolve anything. We learn some nasty things - but we don't get any result - we're back where we started without completing anything. I'd like to feel that either this escape attempt had meaning - either it's made things worse - or made things better - or it's opened up a new possibility that wasn't there at the start. Currently it just feels like an anecdote - a nasty, brutal and well told anecdote - but not a complete and satisfying story. I figure it might be possible to fix with something as small as a single line in the just right place - but I'm not quite sure what the line would be ;)

Great writing - impressive.


Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

JDM

6 Years Ago

I agree with you that the story never really moved forward. This is only the third rewrite, so we'll.. read more



Reviews

[send message][befriend] Subscribe
gcp
Your prose is pretty tight on this and the flow is fantastic - a few little niggles in the prose here and there make me feel this isn't quite a polished as the other two stories I read from you.

Lines like "I don’t get very far out of the closet." don't seem quite as punchy as I want them to be. Of course that's only because the quality in general is so damn high! I want every single word to be kicking and screaming - and for the most part you get that - but here and there a lazy word slips in.

I think as a whole - although the ideas (and the gruesome imagery) is fantastic the piece lacks the bite I want - and I think it's that the ending doesn't resolve anything. We learn some nasty things - but we don't get any result - we're back where we started without completing anything. I'd like to feel that either this escape attempt had meaning - either it's made things worse - or made things better - or it's opened up a new possibility that wasn't there at the start. Currently it just feels like an anecdote - a nasty, brutal and well told anecdote - but not a complete and satisfying story. I figure it might be possible to fix with something as small as a single line in the just right place - but I'm not quite sure what the line would be ;)

Great writing - impressive.


Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

JDM

6 Years Ago

I agree with you that the story never really moved forward. This is only the third rewrite, so we'll.. read more

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Added on March 13, 2013
Last Updated on March 14, 2013
Tags: Flash Fiction

Author

JDM
JDM

Washington, DC



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