The Past Is Not Forgotten

May 21, 2012
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The last thing I remember was the rolling, plush grass surrounding the wooden gazebo. I was admiring the care the architect had put into the intricate design when I was seized from behind and forced unconscious. Awake, I look around the ill-lit room, searching for a lamp or overhead light. A light switch was posted next to the door, but to my dismay, nothing happened when I switched it. After a deep breath, I managed to stifle my growing fear and muster up enough courage to brave the closed door. With an ear splitting screech, the door creaked open to reveal a dank stairway leading off into complete darkness.

I took a moment to consider my options. If I continue to stay in this room, awaiting help that may not come, there is no promise that I will survive. Not to mention the kidnapper could return at any moment, a thought that made goose bumps raise on my arms. The delayed alarm hits me hard, causing my legs to quake with the extent of my terror. Once again, I push my crippling feelings aside and focus on survival. The power seems to have been shut off, so my only option is to be a candle or some other object propelled by flame or fuel. Back in the room, I rummage through the drawers of one of the side tables. To my relief, there was a candlestick and a box of matches. Hastily, I strike a match and light my only lifeline. Feeling slightly comforted by the soft haze of the candle light, I once again approach the mysterious stairway, feeling a faint tingle of confidence coursing through my veins.

Suddenly, a figure emerges from the abyss at the end of the stairwell. My heartbeat rocks my chest and a sick feeling poisons my system. The typical sounds of approach were silenced, a discerning factor that alerted me that something was wrong. I listened harder for any audible noises of movement, and to my growing horror, I heard none. Slowly, the figure lifts his eyes to meet mine and I am struck by the familiarity that greets me. With a flash, I remember sticky childhood summer days filled with apple peeling, swimming in the lake, and nighttime stories told until the crack of dawn.

“George.” I gasped. Of all the people I expected to see here, he was the last person on my mind.

“Kalley, you mustn’t travel down these stairs. Great danger awaits you if you embark on a descent to the lower levels of this forgotten manor.” I opened my mouth to reply, but the words died in my throat as George began to disappear before my very eyes. A small shocked breath escapes my lips as I look through my best friend. He gave a little smile before he disappeared completely, stabbing my heart with an ache for our lost friendship. After allowing myself a few moments to recover from the shock of my encounter, I decide to disregard George’s warnings and continue down to the basement. Truthfully, I was out of any other feasible options. The walls were plastered with floral wallpaper, igniting a misplaced feeling of nostalgia. The stairs groaned with each step, eliminating any possibility of stealth. Each stairway on my trek mirrored the last and my surroundings didn’t change at all. Finally, I come to a door that blocks my spiral downwards. Light feeds through the bottom of the door, alerting me to the fact that there was electricity in this room.

I was so enchanted by the thought of a room devoid of menacing shadows that I rushed towards the door and flung it open. Rows upon rows of bookshelves lined the basement floors, filled with bins that appeared to contain an assortment of papers. I marveled at the enormity of the amount of files, and was gazing around the room in awe when my eyes fell upon a table in the corner of the room. The vast oval oak table had a single open file on it. Curiosity further clouded my judgment and I stepped towards the table carelessly without assuring the safety of the room. The open file showed a childish drawing of two people holding hands with a big manor house in the background. Dread washed over me as I recognized the messy scrawl in the corner that proclaimed the artwork as mine. The picture showed me and a boy who looked eerily similar to George as a child. The picture seemed legitimate, but I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how it had ended up in a kidnapper’s basement.

“It’s nice to see you again, Kalley.” A voice echoed across the vast space. I whirled around to face the source of the noise, only to see George’s father staring back at me. “I’ve been trying to find you ever since Georgie passed away. I knew you’d want to be here. I knew you’d want to stay, and reminisce about the old times.” A manic smile spread across his face as he took a small step forward. Blindly, I turned around and sprinted towards the hidden exit I knew was hidden behind the eighth bookshelf as my memories of the basement, and the house as a whole, returned. The many times I’ve been in this house came back as I remembered my forgotten past.
My pulse raced in my ears as I hurled open the heavy door and felt the cool rush of the night air on my face. Before I knew it, I was racing across the open field outside the house in a wild panic. After I felt I had put a safe distance between me and the house, I slowed and glanced over my shoulder only to stop in my tracks. The house with which I had just exited was no longer there. All that was left was charred, onyx remains. The amount of decay littered throughout the decomposing house could only have been accomplished through a long period of undisturbed time. Suddenly, a news article I had read previously flashed through my mind: “Madman burns down house after the death of his only son.”
That article was dated ten years ago.

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