It’s not uncommon for people to be scared of the dark, foreboding places that exist all around us. Sometimes those places are a pitch black, woodland backyard. Other times, it’s a room in your house that you hate going in, a dusty old attic perhaps, or a dank and musty basement.
In the case of John the handyman, it was the latter. Ever since he’d first purchased his getaway cabin in the woods, he’d lived with the uncertainty of the trapdoor beneath his kitchen table. Then, last year, he finally decided to explore to see what lay beneath…
John the Handyman
John the handyman had owned the cabin for a few years. He had always known the trap door was there, indeed, he’d noticed it more than once as he made his way around the kitchen. Yet he had always been nervous about peering down there to see what the previous owners must have been hiding.
The cabin owner, whose internet handle was “SirBumpsALot”, decided to record his journey to the center of his cabin for posterity by posting it to an image-sharing website. Perhaps it was the idea that the internet would be right there with him exploring, sort of. Whatever the reason, John decided that it was finally time to take a look at what lies beneath the cabin…
Normally, John’s days are spent enjoying the beauty of nature around his woodland getaway in the company of his trusty canine companion. It was no coincidence that he had positioned a heavy table over the trap door so long. He really didn’t want to see what was down there. But eventually, curiosity gets the better of us all.
The idea of opening the trapdoor had always sat at the back of his mind, coming to the surface in the wee hours of the morning, but passing away from thought with a flood of anxiety over what he might find. Yet, what if it was treasure or valuables of some kind? Then again, what if it was something not meant to be found…
John slid the heavy table out of the way and stared down at the foreboding and ever-present hole in his floorboards. As he popped open the door, he wondered how deep it actually went. In the darkness of the hole, all he could see was uncertain shadows.
Damp and Dark
The cellar beneath the door smelt damp and terrible. It hadn’t been opened in years, that much was clear by the rusted ladder and chipped concrete lining the hole. A tinge of iron, the smell of moldy rust, suffused the air above the hole. And in the deep stillness of the shadows, John saw movement…
The owner started to imagine all the stories he had ever heard about the many hikers who had vanished without a trace in that particular wooded area. When was the last time someone had disappeared anyway? What if the hole had been some long-forgotten torture chamber of a vicious serial killer?
As it turned out, John was right to be nervous about opening the trapdoor. Beneath the ancient, rotten wood, lay a colony of venomous spiders. The closed-off doorway had been the perfect refuge for the reclusive little arachnids. He had to be very careful when getting rid of them too, as bites from those particular spiders can rot human flesh and be deadly…
There was another problem as well. SirBumpsAlot, like many people, considered killing spiders to be extremely bad luck. With the utmost care, he removed each of the spiders and took them outside to be released one by one. When he had finally gotten rid of them all, he took his flashlight and peered deeper down.
The Climb Down
He gripped the rusted, metal ladder and made his way, step by unnerving step, into the black hole below. His flashlight gave little help in assuaging his fears, of course. The spiders hadn’t made his descent into the cellar any easier. As his feet touched the damp earth, he looked around…
What Was It?
As he ran his flashlight around the basement’s perimeter, he noticed a few odd things that only served to raise more questions in his mind. A faucet was down there, as well as a ventilation system. Had the basement perhaps served as some Cold War-era bomb shelter? Or was it some poorly-constructed cistern for storing extra rainwater?
In the corner of the room, John’s flashlight happened upon something to rival even the hundreds of spiders he had found near the surface. A concrete trough, filled to the brim with some unidentifiable, gelatinous ooze was sitting placidly, its gooey surface undisturbed for what must have been years. The smell was almost unbearable…
He didn’t know what it was: fungus, mold, stagnant water, human remains from an archaic murder? Whatever it was, he knew one thing, it wasn’t chemical: the ooze was organic. The walls of the trough itself were actually crusted up with mold and slime. Worse than the slime itself, were the black, tentacle-like roots growing out of the disgusting slime.
The trough of goo was almost enough to send John running and screaming back up the ladder, but something prompted him to push on. He grabbed a stick off the ground and pushed it into the gelatinous mass. Though there was some resistance, he managed to break the amorphous surface. Then, something floated to the top…
Thankfully, the black mass of tendrils that floated out of the gooey trough was a tangle of roots that had, miraculously, survived in the stagnant, rusty water. The smell was even more potent now, having escaped its oozy O-zone layer. John wished he’d brought a mask down into the basement, and perhaps, a cross.
But fungi, spiders, and horrendous-smelling mold were just the tip of the iceberg. The basement room had even more to offer. Perhaps the room had functioned as a room for cleaning hunted game. The shape and size of it certainly made sense, but why put it so deep underground and not in an outbuilding of some type? Then, John noticed a small opening in the back wall of the cellar…
Remains of What?!
He sauntered over and shined his flashlight inside. What he found was a pile of something that looked like the charred remains of…something. The origin of the charred bits was not nearly as disconcerting as the reasoning behind their being in the basement. Why in the world would anyone in their right mind have lit a fire in the basement…least of all a basement with only one narrow escape route?
With nowhere else to explore and the lingering eerie sense that something terrible happened at one time in his own basement, John made his way back out of the cellar and into his comfy kitchen, where his faithful pup was waiting anxiously. He hugged his dog and tried to decide what to do next…
Despite summoning the courage to investigate and put his findings up on Imgur for the world to see, John resigned to lock the trapdoor and pull the table back over it. Whatever vile things may or may not have happened down there in the past, he wanted no part of it. There wasn’t a whole lot that the basement told him other than why someone would board up such a terrible room.
John’s story was updated as of November 2016, when he announced that he would be going back into the cavern soon to gather more info. Luckily for him, he won a free trip to India and decided to postpone the “Repurpose the Hell Room” project again to enjoy his vacation. Though he swears he’s going to go back down there again…one day.