Scratching (3)

Click HERE for Part 2

I went back out to the shed… I don’t even know where to begin because so much has happened since the last update.  I lost my phone, and nearly my sanity.  And more questions were raised then were answered.

I woke up to a knock on my door after my nap, a hard knock.  Brushing the sleep from my eyes I opened the door to see 2 police officers standing there, with flashing lights outside on their cars and an ambulance.

“How well did you know your neighbor, Mr. ____?”

“The old man?” I replied. “Hardly knew him at all.  Waved to each other when we took out the trash but that’s about it.  I knew he was alone, is he alri –”

A cop interjected with a tense tone, obviously flustered by what he saw.

“He’s not alright at all.  He is dead and his body is scattered…”

“Shut up, Jackson.  Stick to the script.  Sir did you hear anything last night between midnight and 4 AM?  Any screaming or anything unusual?”

“What happened?” I asked.

They looked at each other for a long second, and the older cop scratched his head.

“Someone broke into your neighbor’s house last night and killed Mr. Jeffries.  It was a very violent death.  You didn’t hear anything?”

I stood there in silence for a moment, and I told them about what was in my shed.

“Please come look, this must have something to do with what happened to the old man.  They were inside my walls last night, scratching again until dawn.  I haven’t slept in days and I need your help with this.  I don’t know what to do and you should probably call for backup I don’t know how many there are.”

The younger cop laughed, and the older remained stoic.
“We don’t have time for this.  If you don’t know anything then we won’t waste our time here.  We have real work to do.  Where were you between midnight and 4 AM?”

I looked at them with pleading eyes, or they could have been dead eyes.  Who knows.  I am exhausted.  I told them I was asleep.  I was on my own.  And if I pressed the matter further I felt like I might become a suspect myself.  I have that kind of luck, in case this entire story didn’t lead you to believe I have shit luck already.
They left along with their flashing lights and left only yellow crime scene tape around the neighbor’s house, and plastic over windows that must have been busted in by the murderer.

Or murderers.

I didn’t want to know how the man died, but my imagination ran wild.  I could picture him sitting alone watching something on TV Land, a picture of his dead wife smiling next to him on a table helplessly looking on as creatures smashed his head to the floor and ripped him to pieces, taking his entrails and hanging them from all over like twisted party decorations, crimson glistening in the yellow light of ancient bulbs flickering.  Pouring bits of his fluid and chunks of his flesh into their grim mouths, blackened teeth crunching and gnawing at this macabre meal.

I paced in my house for a while, and finally decided to go outside.  I had to see the shed.

I went out, and looked around my house first to see how they got into the walls.  I found the place where they must have gotten in.
Luckily I was freaked out enough when I found that to go back inside and upload the pictures before what happened next, My hands are beginning to shake again as I remember what happened in the shed.
I went outside, the sun was shining clearly since it was a great day.  Clear blue skies, but the heat was really horrible. The humidity made it feel like I was swimming through an itchy mossy lake instead of my backyard.  Mosquitoes were thick in the air, I constantly had to fight them off as I made my way into the undergrowth.  Through the ferns, the old shed came into view again.  The door looked shut, but it was open just a crack.  I held my shotgun tight to my shoulder, ready to raise and fire at a moment’s notice.  After what happened to my neighbor, I was not about to risk becoming another victim.
The door creaked on the old hinges as it swung outward, opening to the chaos that was within.  The tools were all still stacked where I had left them, along with the shelves and everything else.  I listened closely — and could not hear a thing.  Nothing but the sound of dust swirling about with the lazy draft coming in.  The air was hot and stale, and it made me cough quietly.  If anything was there, surely they knew I was there now.
I began the process of moving all of the junk, placing my shotgun carefully down with the safety on.  One by one I moved a ladder, a toolbox, an old boxing bag, paint cans.  Soon there was just the rug half up-turned with the mysterious trap door.  I could almost feel the enigma emanating up from the earth, some forgotten hell here in the Florida swamp.  An oppressive sense of fear was hard to fight back, my knees felt weak as I stared down silently at the door.  I stared for a long time, just listening.  Thinking of my wife at her job now, taking care of someone’s kiddos and teaching math and science.  But I doubt there was anything in any textbook about what happened next.
I picked up and shouldered my Mossberg, kicking the trap-door open with my foot and holding a small flashlight in my mouth.  I looked down at the black, surprised and thankful to see nothing at all down there.  A black goo was visible on the wooden frame of the doorway into the earth.  Must be some sort of blood.  I threw a tool down, expecting some clamoring and motion.  My hands sweating so much that they were dripping, I listened to the sound of silence echoing loudly up from the darkness.  I began to descend the earthen stairs, when the door to the shed slammed loudly shut to my left, and I let out an involuntary shout of fear.
I scrambled back up and kicked at the door with all my might, and it swung open immediately.  The wind must have blown it shut.  With a deep breath I propped it open with a pile of dirt and sticks pushed up with my boot.  I mustered my courage and descended into the black, the flashlight feebly pushing light into the dark.   A small room was there, and shining the light around I could see that the walls were just dirt, some old wooden beams holding everything in place.  There was some hay covering the ground, thicker along the edges of the walls.

 

Like little dirty cots.  A pile of small bones was in one corner, obviously from rodents or whatever else these things could get their hands on.  The room had a hole, by this pile, large enough for a person to wriggle into… Some strange tunnel.  I began to take pictures with my phone, the shutter sound like an explosion in that place.  The lightning flashes of the camera driving the opaqueness away into tiny corners, only for the blackness to rush back into place like waves in a tidal pool.
I peeked down into the tunnel, poking the light down there.  It reached for a long while, and I could deduce that it must head out by the vacant house next door’s yard.  Curious, and emboldened by my discoveries and evidence, I got on my hands and knees and began to go down into it, dragging the shotgun with me and the flashlight in my mouth.  I slid deeper for some time, the going was slow because of the cramped space.  The dirt was held up only by itself here, there was no wood.  The earth made rumbling sounds at one point, which I first mistook for my stomach.  But there was nothing but silence down there with me.  A fearful silence.  Finally I could see the end of the tunnel, where it opened into some other forgotten chamber of horrors.  I crawled further and further, excited to see what strange things was there for me to find, I could not keep this odd sense of glee from my mind.  I was excited to finally get some sort of proof that something completely fucking weird definitely was here.
But then, as I looked down the tunnel to the end getting closer, I saw several long fingers clutch the roof of the exit, and I froze.  And then I heard a raspy breath escape into the air.  I felt like my heart would leap from my chest it pounded so hard it must have been able to hear the muscle beating against the cage of my ribs into the blackness.  The creature lowered its head at an unusual angle to look down into the hallway at me, its eyes glowing with the reflection of the light.
“Hell… Hello..?” The words weakly whispered from my trembling mouth, tears welling up in my eyes from the fear of being so close to the thing.  Where I was in that tunnel, diplomacy seemed the only option.  I could not exactly maneuver there.  The creature looked at me for a long time.  It blinked several times, its raspy breath coming from its slightly opened mouth, and I got a chance to examine the beast.  It drives me mad now to have to recount the images that may be impossible to repress. The grey skin was stretched tight over its face, slits where a nose should be.  A thick brow bone protruded over its eyes, almost Neanderthal looking.  The breath was foul, and the scent of it filled the air in the darkness.  The light danced around since I was shaking from fear, and the shadows moved over its facing making it have the appearance of changing like some shape-shifter.  But I knew that it was something not unlike a human.
Then it opened its mouth, exposing narrow, long teeth like the tines of a steel rake.  Like hundreds of freakishly long needles were jammed into its rotting gums.  It lowered its head even further closer to the ground at an uncomfortable angle, staring at me with saliva dripping into the dirt pooling and creating mud.  I could hear the drips, and then the snarls coming from its blackened mouth.  Then I could see the skulls on the wall behind it, where a shelf had been carved into the earth.  4 human skulls, white and clean, sat reflecting the light that trembled over them, casting shadows onto the wall behind them.
At this point I began to be able to move, and I started to slowly back up the way I came, bringing the shotgun in front of me.  And then it lowered its full frame down, filling the end of the tunnel with its horrible body.  The smell was overwhelming and I kept forcing back bile down into my stomach with each slow movement backwards the way I came.
Then it let out a sound that I will try to describe, but I know it cannot be.  A trill, like a tongue rolling an ‘r’, with the pitch getting higher then lower.  Some strange communication, I thought.
“Please…” I meekly spit into the air.  At this the creature began to move into the tunnel, and I moved backward faster now, with desperation.  Shaking, and trying to breath in the enclosed space I could not help but drop the flashlight, making the battery fall out.  I was alone in the darkness with the sound, and the creature, and the smell, and my shotgun.  I fired it off into the darkness, and with the flash I saw that I had hit my mark, but I saw behind the creature that there was another.  And probably another.  I shot again and again, but through the ringing of my ears I could hear the trills in the damp cold air of this place in the earth.
I crawled backwards faster and faster and faster, crying now into the black, my eyes were opened but for all the good it did they may as well have been closed.  the sounds of the scraping bodies consumed the air in the tunnel, and also the sounds of flesh tearing and bones snapping.  They must either be eating their comrade / father / brother / mother / sister or simply forcing it out of their way.  Finally the light from the trapdoor came into view and I fell back into the main chamber, scrambling up the earthen stairs and I could hear them calling to me as if begging for me to stay with them in the darkness, they sounded lonely somehow, but I knew it was all a ruse.  As I turned to shut the trapdoor, I saw one looking up at me, angrily hissing at the sunlight trickling in, I tried to fire but the pump-action was empty.  I slammed the door shut and threw a heavy toolbox on it along with almost everything else.  Exhausted, I sat on the pile, crying.  I had to move.  I knew then I was not sticking around longer than I had to.  The leaves outside rustled in the wind, and a draft came into the room, wiping sweat from my brow.  I was shaking, and then I heard another sound.
Scratching.

 

The trapdoor was being scratched by grey fingers and black nails.  At first it was one, but soon it was a cacophony of nails from several hands scratching and pushing against the door.  And just as suddenly as it began, it stopped all at once.

 

 

I came inside the home and locked the door, unable to stop my hands from shaking, I reached into my pocket to text my wife to instead meet me at the Holiday Inn instead of coming home.  But my phone was gone.  I must have dropped it in the chaos underground.  Fuck.  All of my proof was gone, except what was there in the shed.  And strewn all over one of the houses next door… But what was in the other house?  I would like to think it was empty, but my gut tells me that there is something in there.
The sun was going down by this time, and I did not want to mess with anything.  I packed the dog and the cat and some clothes and things we needed, and I went out to the truck to leave.

 
I am at the hotel now, I managed to get my wife on the phone and told her what happened and to come here.  I took a pill last night to get some sleep, and it was a dreamless night.  My wife gave me a hard time for a while.  She says I must have seen something, or had a bad dream.
But she came to the hotel, without stopping by the house for anything at all.
Tomorrow I am going to go back, with the sun high in the sky so that I can do some real exploring.  I am going to look at the vacant house and break in.  Something tells me that the tunnel opens up into that home, and there is some dark secret living inside.  My landlords phone is now disconnected completely, their leasing office closed and their website domain up for sale.

There is some secret here, in this old swamp of a town.

Something that can’t be hidden for much longer.

 

Click HERE for the final entry.

 

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