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And Still They Remain

By thiciati All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Horror

For Mac: I hated you the most

The room is dim, cold, and holds within it a general air of grievance. The peeling, dirty walls; the stains on the floor that are embedded in such a way that no amount of cleaning will ever bring forth the original color of the gray and brown carpet; the sinking tiles that look as if any small force will send them down to the floor below, turning them into fragments of yellowed chalk; the thick layer of dust that coats it all. All of it is too largely ruined to pass unnoticed to even the most obtuse of observers that find their way into the boarded-up office.

Any such visitors would feel great unease about spending more than a few moments surveying the contents. Cardboard boxes, also sinking and damp from the moisture most associated with basements and ancient, abandoned houses are left to be rifled through by curious thieves and nosy teenagers. The tape that had secured them from the outside world is either long-missing or has accumulated a wealth of stray hair and dust. Stacked in tall lines, each tries to push the box below them into the dirt; the poor boxes on the bottom are crushed, and the few immediately above them are almost ready to suffer the same fate.

If an intruder were to dig their way through the dead piles of cardboard that line the back wall, a blackened door would come into view. Littered with cobwebs, it would seem as unhappy as the rest of the room. A growth of insects would be seen to have taken up residence along the thin lines of silk an opportunistic spider had freshly left, hidden somewhere within the nearest box.

Finishing the destruction of the lock and sliding the door from the wall will pull it from the hinges, crusted and flaky with rust that, to a particularly spooked and superstitious person, would resemble dried blood. The inside of the door bears much abuse from its top to the bottom. Large chunks of paint and wood have disappeared with time and deep gashes are prevalent among the wounds.  A scent of decay emanates from the confines of the small alcove, the strength preserved through many years by the door as an unlikely guardian. The source of the pernicious odor: a mass of rotted flesh sitting atop jaundiced, gnarled bones heaped against the leftmost corner. The skull would grin malignantly from behind what remains of the face. The bones of a hand, twisted as if to beckon the curious further into the compartment, point toward the door; the other resting on a skeletal lap. Boxes lying on their side hold the half-skeletons of rats, unceremoniously splintered by human hands and scattered about the small space.

If by some impulse one were to lay a trembling hand upon the cold bone of the skull, it would almost be tangible, the memory encased within. Ghostly images, pale reflections of a life passed on, would seem to take a corporeal form in the heavy, dank air. Feel the terror of the poor soul’s final moments, the inevitability, the resignation, the hatred. Hatred lingers and almost pervades the very soul of the trespassing visitor.

The discovered corpse, unearthed from its restless eternal tomb. The half-eaten rats. The locked door, hidden behind years of office refuse. The boarded-up room abandoned in stagnated semi-organization, as if whomever began the task simply gave up or quit midway…  To the mind of a visitor with their hand on death itself, it would feel as if a grim angel was watching for the right moment to weave an icy thread across their beating heart to sever the muscle from its lodgings. Breathing stayed in an unconscious effort to take in every imagined sound, the faintest hint of a wailing chorus rises from the darkness. Once heard, it becomes clearer, and a single word whispers suddenly from the depths of an agitated imagination: murder.

Murder, murder, murder. The sin begat by Cain in the bloodied fields, and the sin concealed by a decrepit, rusted door. Murder, the sin committed by the dredges of humanity.

And yet there are moral people who, through coercion or any number of persuasive measures, could turn to such an act. Freezing blood can run through the veins of any specimen of the human race when provided with the right conditions.

Dear reader, if you should happen upon a boarded-up office isolated inside a tiny shop in an equally small town, I absolutely must ask you to refrain from indulging the curiosity that occurs naturally within ourselves. Do not remove the barriers that secure whatever it may hide. All walls contain the sin of those that once dwelled within them. Some are meant to remain hidden.

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