A nightmare upon waking.

Sometimes he would go into the crawl space under the house. In the night it was dusty and the cobwebs would stick to his hair, he would see the shadows of nocturnal animals scuttling in the shadows. The area was difficult to navigate; rusted wires hung like barricades and a pool of murky water had gathered near the centre of the foundations. Hollowed faces in the wood are lit by the cool light of his torch. He looks up, as if to see the the stain left by his putrefied flesh. There was nothing. He could feel the stress of the wooden pillars creaking and moaning under the weight of the horrors that had been visited upon the house. There was an intense pressure on his chest, he must push on. He crawls on his hands and knees, broken glass pressing bacteria and dirt into his legs.
He looks down to see an [Old Rusty Key] , which he slides into his pocket. His torch slips and falls into the water. The light diminishes. He continues into the choking darkness...

“The sounds from my bed were deeply memorable, the church bells on Sunday morning, trains at night, cats fighting. Sometimes I got up, forbidden, to watch cats fight. They were oblivious of the human world, a piece of jungle let loose. I shivered on the radiators, mesmerised. They circled each other prowling, sinuous like snakes, then leaped with no signal into mad spatting scratching and screeching fights then broke away to growl and miawl with crouches, creepings and arched back and lashing tails, and again without warning some mad desperate chases along walls, in and out of black bushes then a slow build up again. When they fought they screamed, in-between made deep exotic jungle growls, snake-like hisses of savagery, sometimes spat. I couldn’t leave although the night grew older and I grew colder, and I knew I was doing something wrong. I was part of the wild dance-like savagery, trapped in it.”

The journey through the subterranean area was hindered by the pitch black. “Who would lead the way into the dark unknown?” he thinks. He notices the earth was less damp, the air was dry and suffocating. He could hear only the shuffling noise of feet, or cars above him. He wasn’t sure. The heat began to intensify. He felt the sweat exhaling from his polluted body. The stratas slowly melting away, the untouched core rolling into itself. Light began to pollute the darkness, rubbish and soil threw tiny shadows that littered the ground. His hand was touching something of a different texture. It was a [Crumpled Piece of Paper] and he adjusts his eyes to read it. There were four words messily scrawled in each corner. “The Master, the Slave, the Betrayer, the Exile.”

“We lived in a big house. In the basement there was a boiler, -it was huge- down in a pit, surrounded by protective metal bars to stop children falling in. It thrummed and it hummed like a big monster, -it was terrifying and I was fascinated in a way that felt abnormal,- the monster had its links inside me. The fascination and horror combined and my body responded- it was as if a neural pathway that would normally connect to pleasure had wrongly connected pleasure with this eerie mechanical power. There was a pull from inside me into the machine and into its dehumanising process.”

It was the final stretch, final severing. The smell of ancient charred flesh enters his dusty nostrils. He approaches the edge of the pit, a dull red glow illuminated the area, dancing like flame but without a source. All of a sudden, he was wrecked with paralysis, fear and anxiety… Crawling downward, he looks down and begins to dig. Dirt, dirt, dirt, mud, roots, slime then finally plastic fibres embedded under his fingernails. He tugs on the plastic sheet until it is loose from the compacted earth. A corpse hugging its knees with leathery skin begins to rot with each hour that passes. A [Kitchen Knife] embedded in its skull. He lays down in the foul quagmire of liquefied black flesh. The body turns and asks “How is our dear father, whose false self holds sway with a deadening grip?”

“I was polluted, tainted, exploited, consumed. I can’t understand, it’s so unfair, she didn’t have any of this, she was fine.”

“Burning in hell?” the corpse asks.

“Exactly” was his response, “burning in hell.”