20 Jul Downstairs
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Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
I’m not sure why I’m up right now. It’s almost half past one in the morning and the only company I have are infomercials, the sound of my air conditioner on a setting you see as the lowest, but sounds like a fan on the highest setting, and a friend from some distant past. I feel rather terrible talking to him right now. No no, he hasn’t upset me. It’s more or less that feeling where you feel neglectful about not contributing to the conversation. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m still awake. The best guess I have for that is that it’s the last day of school and I could care less about sleeping through what the day has to bring.
Sitting here behind the screen, I can’t help but to think about someone from the family tree. She used to come by every summer to stay a while, most likely because she had nothing better to do and her family made her crazy. It seems like the only thing that comes to mind about her is a story she told me when we walked a dirt trail in some woodland paradise. Along this trail, around the trees and rocks that would take us by the lake on the way home, she would tell it to me. She told me of a time when she was a little girl in a town that was near the land of the Amish. On a particular day, she went to a church with friends and local kids. They went in for prayer and talk of Jesus and his deeds. Of Adam and Noah and Moses and Solomon and Job and Lot above all. They sang songs, praising his name before they would cut loose to color the Lord with pastel crayons in a room with soothing music and apple juice and crackers. The day soon changed to night as a storm rolled into the place known for its crops and helpful people who live a different kind of life.
It was then the children grew bored and wanted to play a game of hide and go seek. A child stood in the corner to count as high as they set it, while the others ran to hide in the church, all the while the sound of thunder distracted the counter; while bad for her, it was excellent for the children. When she reached the decided number, she went all around to find her friends. One by one, she found them all. Lane, Sarah, Kyle, and Mike. Debbie and Amber. Bobby, Laura and Derek soon appeared at long last. As they brought the game to a close, when their parents were pulling in, they called for the hidden — Lucy, Johnny, and little Noah who were still playing the game.
Call one, Johnny came out from the bathroom, forgetting they ever played a game. Call two, Lucy came out of the pastor’s office, calling her grandmother to see if her health was improving. Call three, little Noah was nowhere to be. They looked up and down for the little tyke, believing he might have hidden under a pew or gotten himself locked in a closet or that he cheated by running to the lot to go home. Illogical it was, when his father came out of the rain, waiting to bring him home with his snack in a bright blue lunch box. They looked much more as a frenzy had arisen.
She told me that while she sat by the door, Lane told her that he remembered hearing Noah giggle as he found the place to hide, staring back at the basement door by his hiding place. She told Noah’s dad and Father James, who soon opened the door and ascended down into the darkness. A flame was list, and some of the children followed the grownups down the stairs. She stood at the top, looking down with Lane by her side. As quickly as it was when the flame of a match was lit, it soon died out. A light below flickered once, revealing all down below, walking around to find young Noah. When the light was swallowed, all was black once more until it was coughed up by some force, then all were gone. She swallowed her fear and stepped through the doorway and looked over the rail, to see all were gone. The two of them backed away and left the place to find an adult to help them.
When the police arrived, they found nothing but boxes and firewood for the wood burner. A small trapped door was found under a box, which they were able to open with some difficulty. In the narrow drop, they found a little child, whose flesh was picked clean by worms of the earth. His eyes and hair were gone, and his mouth was agape, as if he had seen the greatest horror as the light escaped his eyes. He may have been missing for decades, but nobody knows. Nobody remembers seeing the missing boy go down those stairs, and nobody ever saw him come up. They put locks on the door to make sure nobody went down again, and all stories are just held as rumors, that was until a fire ravaged through the holy place years later, perhaps an act by God to stop the lies and the evil that plagued the land.
As we made the trip back to our tent, she told me something she never told anyone before. She said that when she looked over the ledge, after the power returned, for a split second she could have sworn she saw a face on the floor and something being pulled into the wood burner, something that looked like someone’s feet. I assumed she was just shaken up by Noah disappearing, but she told me something I’d never forget. After the church burned down, police did a through investigation and found that in the the wood burner that survived, human remains were found. The only thing found that was complete were two human feet, with remains of what are thought to be part of human hands and skulls were found deeper back. Also, in the same small pit of the trap door, were more remains that were undiscovered or recovered by the first team of police officers. Those remains were of more than one person. The first being someone who may have been a teenager and the other being a small child. If it was Noah, I don’t know.
I don’t know why I’m even up right now. Maybe I should get some sleep. I’m seeing things out of the corners of my damn eyes again.
Credit To: AJ / Gatsby