The Starved Ones
The home on Riverspring Drive was infamous throughout the neighborhood. It never had to be described, everyone knew which ‘House’ was spoken of in all the horror stories gossiped amongst the teens. All the homes in the old district looked they could have a ghoul or two prepared to peek through lace curtains, but this one had something especially frightening about it.
It was a two-story parlor house, with basement and attic, it looked like it stepped right out of the Louisiana territory where sophisticated southern ladies were preparing tea while men with impressive handlebar mustaches chatted about business on the large open front-porch. Give it a new coat of pristine white paint, replace the roof, and do some serious gardening and it would look like a spectacular house that anyone would love to purchase.
But that history drove even the best of house-flippers away from its financial prospect.
It was one thing for a house to be haunted (that could actually add value for some), it was another thing to have a tortured history and the intense stench of decay forever engraved in the very structure.
The old house had been a doctor’s office. Patients were tended to on the first floor, family lived on the top, and medical supplies were stashed in the basement. But of course, that is not all the basement held. It would not be a good neighborhood ghost tale if that was the case.
No, it seems there was something else there, and extra space that had been placed in when it was built—or at least when the doctor moved in. Deep in the corner, probably hidden underneath the stairs to block out any traces of light, was a little room with metal bars and a secure padlock.
At first it was said it was a protected storage system for the medical drugs. But it was just a cover up for something more sinister and juicy for a midnight story.
The starved ones lived in that little cell. The human experiment the good neighborhood doctor was compelled to complete and what consumed the house in a curse of madness, death, and demonic torture.
The house had the stereotypical smell of must and rotten wood. Rebecca was impressed that every ghost story and haunted house had it. It must’ve been a required trait. Not haunted if it wasn’t smelly.
She stopped at the grand entrance, her flashlight trailing around the darkness. Ghosts? All she was catching was dust particles she was kicking up with her feet.
Risking a sneezing fit she took a strong whiff of the air. There was no stench of decaying flesh or festering feces. All she got was a small choking fit from dust-bunnies.
Once she could breathe she snorted in disappointment.
This was the infamous haunted house of Riverspring? She should’ve known it was just a ridiculous urban legend. More than likely it had too many foundation problems and that was why no one wanted to purchase the stupid thing. Given the economy it was no wonder no one wanted to take on the expensive project.
Give it another year or two and she was confident a family would be living here and this ridiculous horror story would jump to a house a few streets over.
Still, it was a bit haunting how the inside was left almost untouched. It was as if the original family from 19-something (to her there was nothing remotely interesting that could be considered life before 2001) had simply left the house and all their belongings.
‘Probably was a bootlegger.’ She thought, moving around some cobwebs. ‘Probably was discovered this haunted starving cell was actually a place for, like, moonshine or something like that.’
What sort of dare was this? This was the only way she could join the dance squad? Walk through a gross old house? Really, hazing these days was getting downright pathetic. At her old school they would have something far more interesting involved.
Rebecca looked over her shoulder briefly, expecting some members from the squad hiding behind curtains ready to jump and with a “GOTCHA”. She should be very careful when going down to the basement. The hazing might come in the form of locking her inside once she was down a few steps.
Even though this place clearly wasn’t haunted she did not want to spend the night in a place that would fill her hair with spiders and have her on allergy medication for the next two weeks.
Coming up to where the basement door was, really how untouched was this place if the location of the door was known, and looked at it with a little apprehension.
“Alright girls.” She called out, looking around. “I’m going down. Don’t lock me in. You do that and not only will I NOT join this squad I will call the cops,” She took out her cellphone, jiggling the lit screen around, “and give them your names. Wouldn’t look pretty on a college resume to Yale if you have a night in jail, would it Kara?”
There was no word from the squad leader or any of the others.
She smirked and stuffed it back into her pocket. Even if the downstairs had no bars there was no way the girls would want to risk it. Kara, with a K not a C, was about to graduate and there was no way she was going to ever risk something like that.
Rebecca shrugged. This whole town seemed a little too goody-goody to do something like that anyway. Yet another bit of evidence to mark on the “This place isn’t haunted” bit.
She turned the old brass knob, it had a floral design engraved in it, and tugged the door open. It creaked and groaned but didn’t put up much of a fight. Her flashlight shined down the wooden stairs and into the dark abyss of the basement.
The sight of the stairs did make her gulp. They looked ready to cave in with just one step. Years of termites gnawing on them left them with holes and cracks. The basement itself, at least from what she could see, appeared as normal and as creepy as any other basement in existence.
True, there were some factors that made it a bit creepier than normal…
Her flashlight made old beakers and equipment gleam. She could see a glass case, a more traditional location for medicine than a cell, with tinted windows and old fashion medical tools lay askew.
She gripped on tightly to the frame of the door and tried to peer over the staircase to see if there really was a cell underneath. But the angle was too awkward. She simply could not see straight underneath unless she wanted to risk making a face-plant with the concrete flooring.
Grumbling she got on her knees and used her trust light to try and peer down between the many holes and cracks. Maybe if she can just take a peek into this cell it would be enough and she could go home and watch some Gossip Girl on Netflix.
She frowned, rubbing her eyes. She thought she saw a flash of white somewhere in that empty space but that was probably just another speck of irritable dust. It was ridiculous; there was so much of it everywhere.
Muttering a few unlady like words she picked herself back up, dusting off her knees and took another look at the empty space down below. She flinched. It was now starting to get unsettling. The stories and the loneliness were starting to sink in.
Rebecca shook it off.
‘Don’t be ridiculous now.’ She fought off the chill wanting to go down her spine. ‘You’re almost done. You go down, shine the light in the cell, and come back out. Super simple.’
And a challenge she was not willing to hide from.
Gripping her phone tightly in her hand she took the first step down the rickety stairs. Each one groaned and creaked, but luckily for her held up. Whoever had made this house really did it well.
The concrete was under her feet in no time and Rebecca felt foolish for being so weird before hand. It was just another creepy old basement, nothing to be afraid of except for earning herself some tetanus if she wasn’t careful of what she touched.
Looking back at where she came from she was very pleased to see the door was still wide open and there was still some light from the outside world peering in.
So far, so good. Just a few more steps, she shines the light inside, and she can go home.
Excited to be free of this she moved over under the stairs.
Shinning her light up she was surprised at what she found. What do you know? There actually was a cell! It fit right underneath the stairs, shaped in an awkward triangle. There were rusted bars raising from the ground and touching the sturdy wood above and there was a padlock. A heavy-duty old fashion padlock at that, with the keyhole in front of the lock rather than underneath.
She tilted her head, her heart skipped a beat, she didn’t actually think there was truth to the rumor. Who would have a cell in their basement?
‘Maybe monkeys. They did a lot of sick animal experiments in that time.’ But it seemed awfully big to hold monkeys. And there weren’t ropes or bars inside so they could hang or swing off of. It made no sense those things would be taken while every piece of furniture and painting, even a tea set, was left upstairs.
Her stomach twisted a little.
One step closer. Another. And a last one.
She was finally at the bars and could see inside. And there was nothing.
Rebecca let loose a breath of air she had no idea she had been holding. Nothing appeared, as she had gotten closer. It really was nothing more than a creepy cell in a creepy basement in a creepy house.
Rubbing her hand over her face, she groaned. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid. This whole mess was so ridiculous and stupid.’
Now done, she turned away. She was going to march back up those stairs and out of this place with dignity and show those bimbos not to challenge a city girl.
Then the putrid smell filled her nostrils.
Rebecca gagged and her hand went over her mouth and nose to keep herself from breathing it in.
“What on earth?” She wheezed. “Did an air vent open up?” If this was the smell that was so infamous she really could understand why no one would want the home. It reeked!
A wheeze from behind made her fingers twitch.
‘Just the vent. Just the vent.’ She chanted to herself. Turning around, feeling like she was trapped in a horror movie, she shone the light back into the cell and discovered it was not as empty as she had left it just seconds before.
Something was hunched in the corner. The body looked somewhat human but with how crooked it was sitting she wasn’t so sure.
Her hand began to shake as she cleared her throat. “K-Kara? You know this is pretty crappy of you to do, right?”
It paused a moment, making sure it heard her voice. Then with weak movements began to turn to face her.
Rebecca nearly dropped the flashlight in horror at the thing.
Whatever it was it was not human. It couldn’t be. Not anymore.
The creature looked white in the light. Not Caucasian but the actual color of snow. If she wanted she could count each and every bone it had inside. Some of the bones were even protruding from the dried and crack surface that was once called skin.
Up along its arms and legs had chunks of flesh missing. And its face, its horrid face, had no lips; just gums, broken teeth, and a black void of a mouth. The creature clearly had them at one point in its unfortunate life but like the chunks from the arms and legs…
Bile was making its way up her throat. Any moment the sausage chili she had for dinner would be all over her clothes and the ground. She quickly covered her mouth taking a step back, her whole body shaking.
The head tilted back and forth slowly. Good god, she could hear things popping as it did the movement.
With a disturbing gargle, or perhaps it was a wheeze; it slowly began to turn towards her fully. The head kept tilting and the neck bones kept popping.
It twisted and groaned, the bones snapping as it maneuvered out between the bars like a disfigured cat. It awkwardly crawled out, dragging its body behind it. There were no eyes, just black sockets—void of a bottom.
She prayed it couldn’t see her.
The creature stopped and began to sniff. It was a raspy breath and she could picture the dried skin flapping around inside of it.
The tears couldn’t even fall and her legs were shaking so bad. There was a feeling of dampness and in the back of her mind she was aware she had just let control of her bladder.
It sniffed again and she felt her legs start to lose all of their strength.
It could smell her.
How could it be real? How could the stories be real? The story of a twisted doctor keeping people starving under his stairs for sick experiments and how they had become so hungry they ate each other and parts of their own body. How their hatred and hunger became so great they became trapped in a sort of madness. And need for food. They always needed to eat something.
Rebecca shook her head.
No, no, no. People simply did not conjoin to become a revenge seeking demon or devil or whatever this thing was. Nor was it possible for them to then become so hungry they feasted the doctor’s family for days only to not be sated.
Impossible. It was impossible.
This thing was not real. It was a sick joke. It was a sick joke played by the girls. They were just better at hazing than she thought.
Another sniff. It was starting to drag itself towards her.
A whimper escaped her mouth as she stared upon the starved one’s horrific face. That was no mask. This was not some cheap silicon and fabric.
Then it let out a roar, it was silent and raspy but she could feel it vibrating through her whole form. And with strength and speed it should never possess crawled towards her, grabbing on to her leg and dug its teeth into it.
Rebecca let out a howl of pain and kicked it away from her. It didn’t do much good it ripped some of her skin with it. Blood was pouring from her right calf, but the adrenalin that came with it pushed the pain out and got her moving.
She was at the staircase in a second and was rushing up towards it. A cry came out as bony hands grabbed on to her bleeding leg and teeth were back into the skin, pulling her back.
Rebecca tried to pull herself out but the hold was painfully tight and each pull just made the teeth sink in worse. Turning around, sobbing, she kept trying to kick it. But it was too desperate, it had tasted her flesh and now wanted more.
She couldn’t hold it back. As she screamed in horror again all her dinner erupted from her mouth and on herself and the creature.
It stopped trying to consume her flesh and sniffed again. It leaned down to it’s own hand that had the vomit over it, taking in a long whiff before it licked it. Again it licked its own hand before it began to greedily sink its teeth into its cracked flesh and feed.
As it feasted on her upchuck she clawed her way out of the door and pushed herself up. She pumped her legs faster than ever in her life. She couldn’t even feel the damage the creature did to her right leg.
She ran out of the house, past all the old homes of Riverspring Drive, and never looked back.
Back in the basement, the starved one kept licking at the mess, hungry for more who will venture in.
This is my first attempt at writing a horror-ghost tale. As you can see, not my strong suit. It takes a lot of skills and talent to tell a haunting spook. The pace, the grip, and the punchline. It is certainly a lot of difficulty. My hats to all who manage to do such a thing and those who are able to do things that spark an uproar of interest (those on CreepyPasta).
Hope this gave some a bit of entertainment!
Happy Halloween to all!